Wallan captain coach Steve Bell sends one down for the Magpies at Greenhill Reserve on Saturday. The Magpies couldn't get over the line against top side Sunbury United.

WALLAN Cricket Club suffered a narrow 14-run loss at the weekend in a close encounter with McIntyre Cup ladder leader Sunbury United in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association.

Travelling to Greenhill Reserve, Wallan won the toss and elected to bowl, keeping the home side’s opening batsmen to just 20 runs off 72 balls.

Ryan Bonner led the charge for Wallan with the ball, taking five wickets including United’s third batsman Sammika Perea for four, and fourth batsman Liam Sherlock for a duck.

It was when Upul Fernando made his way to the crease that United found the breakthrough it needed, with the handy number five making 75 from 89 balls before Brenton Hanson took the much-needed wicket for the Magpies.

Fernando’s performance was supported later by Shannon McDorman’s 37 and Ryan Billinghurst’s 22 to contribute to United’s overall score of 9/198.

Hanson finished with two wickets while Wallan’s captain Steve Bell and Harkanwar Singh Sandhu took one apiece.

Tasked with a hefty run chase, Wallan’s batsmen began their innings in a similar fashion to United, with the openers failing to make a significant contribution; an issue the Magpies have had all season.

Off his five-wicket haul, Bonner made 17 runs before being dismissed by Zach Forster, while Bailey Fowler and Bryan Vance each contributed eight runs before both being caught by Fernando.

After Wallan again found itself in a similar position to United, it was batsman Kieran Atkin who came to the crease at number five to spark a comeback attempt, making 66 before being dismissed leg before wicket by Rajitha Mendis.

Mendis finished as United’s leading wicket taker with three for the afternoon, with Perera and Damien Edwards closely behind with two wickets each.

Two ducks in the bottom order – United dismissing Russell Whittingham and Bell – all but ended the Magpies’ chances of scraping together the runs required to beat the visitors.

Wallan finished its 45 overs 9/185, but despite the loss, the performance was more promising than the side’s efforts in previous weeks.

This weekend Wallan will travel to play Romsey at Bendigo Bank Oval in a must-win match to keep its top four chances alive.

Romsey sits one place below the Magpies on the ladder, with both teams on four wins.