|Three half-centuries dominated the scorecard for the C grade Bulls’ win on Saturday, keeping them in the mix for finals, and the C grade Warriors had a big win over a young Laharum side.
Blackheath-Dimboola B Grade
Blackheath-Dimboola 97 (E Braithwaite 25, B Cramer 16, M Barry 16) lost to Colts 7/100 (S Polack 2/13, B Marrs 2/20, E Braithwaite 2/26)
The Bulls took seven wickets to almost snatch victory after setting the Colts a target of 97 on the turf pitch at Dudley Cornell Park in Horsham on Saturday.
Elliot Braithwaite (25) was the only Bulls’ batsman to pass twenty in their innings of 97, with Brodie Cramer and Malcolm Barry both contributing 16, and with the challenge of needing to restrict the Colts to just under one hundred, they took seven wickets to finish just short of a win.
Sam Polack, Brenden Marrs, and Braithwaite all took two wickets each.
This result has both of these teams equal on 66 points and on top of the ladder, with the Colts only ahead with a superior percentage, and as both take on opponents from the middle of the ladder in the last round, regardless of the results, they will go into the finals holding the top two places between them.
The Bulls’ last warm-up for the finals will be a home game this Saturday against a Rupanyup-Minyip team that needs a win to remain in fourth place, but with the possibility of rising to the top of the ladder with a big win, the Bulls have the incentive to play at their best.
Blackheath-Dimboola C Grade
Blackheath-Dimboola 9/234 (D Elliott 64, J Barry 62 not out, N Laverty 53 not out) defeated Colts 203 (A Laverty 4/29)
On the second field at Dudley Cornell Park, the C grade Bulls scored a confidence-building victory over Colts to retain a place in the top four.
Three batsmen made half-centuries in Blackheath-Dimboola’s big score of 234 for the loss of nine wickets, with David Elliott top-scoring with 64, and James Barry (62 not out) and Nigel Laverty (53 not out) also passing fifty.
The Colts’ run-chase featured one half-century and two scores in the thirties but was dominated by a haul for four wickets by Archer Laverty, who finished with 4 for 29 from six overs. The remaining six wickets were shared between six of his teammates.
When the last wicket fell in a close finish, the Colts were still 31 runs away from the target, with just over three overs remaining.
Although they go into the final round in third place, the Bulls will need a win to ensure they remain there, as they currently have the lowest percentage of the three teams in the running for the last two places in the finals.
Next Saturday, a victory over Lubeck-Murtoa (currently 7th) on the Les Howland Oval will book a place in the semi-finals. However, a loss will leave them relying on Colts (5th) losing to Homers (6th) as Quantong (4th) have the bye, which along with a very healthy percentage, will be enough for them to claim a place in the finals.
West Wimmera Warriors C Grade
Laharum 61 (J Dickinson 3/3, X Bone3/12, L Hahne 2/1) lost to West Wimmera Warriors 1/72 (T Mitchell 28 not out, L Hahne 23, W Wheaton 17 not out)
The West Wimmera Warriors travelled to Laharum to take on a young home side and came away with a solid nine-wicket victory.
Batting first, Laharum got off to a confident start, with 21 runs on the board before the first wicket fell, but this started a collapse that saw them lose ten wickets for 40 runs. Their innings only made it to the 22nd over and yielded just 61 runs.
Jobe Dickinson impressed with the ball, finishing with three wickets for three runs from four overs, and Xavier Bone also took three wickets.
The Warriors set about chasing down their target quickly and only lost one wicket in the ten overs it took them.
Lochie Hahne made 23 from 17 balls, which included four boundaries, Wallace Wheaton remained not out on 17 from 16 balls when the target was passed, and Tyson Mitchell was also not out with 28 from 28 balls with four boundaries, one of which was a lofted shot that landed just centimetres inside the boundary.
Their last regular-season game before the finals will be a home ground encounter with the current bottom team, Horsham Saints Red, and although the Warriors are already assured of finishing on top of the ladder, they will still want to continue their momentum and go into the finals with a big win.
West Wimmera Warriors A Grade
The A grade West Wimmera Warriors had the bye on Saturday and start the final round in fourth place on the ladder, but face the daunting task of needing to defeat the competition-leading Noradjuha-Toolondo Bullants if they are to remain above the fifth-placed Jung Tigers, who will receive six points for the bye.
Although the Bullants have enjoyed a dominant season to date, both of their previous two encounters with the Warriors have been decided in the last over, so the Warriors will fancy their chances of a win.
Tyson Mitchell made the top score for the C grade Warriors with 26 not out.