Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake
Geelong Cricket Club Third XI has progressed through to the preliminary finals after winning a thrilling semi final against Melbourne University last weekend.
Winning the toss and bowling first to give themselves the best chance of taking the necessary 10 wickets, the Cats bowlers were clinical, dismissing their opposition for 149.
Josh Mastin took 3/17 while Luke Guest did his bit with 3/35.
In reply, Geelong cruised to 3/124 and looked headed to a comfortable win, before an epic collapse of 5/5 saw the pressure rise to almost unbearable levels.
But Jared Bailey with 14 not out and Billy Hyde with 9 not out stood up and guided the side to a nail-biting two-wicket win.
The side now takes on Ringwood with a spot in the grand final up for grabs.
In the Geelong Cricket Association, Murgheboluc pulled off one the great finals upsets knocking off top side North Geelong on the back of a brilliant century by skipper Andrew Murden, as the Frogs racked up 301 on Saturday.
With support from Greg Holmes who made 65 and Luke Brown with 51, Murden showed his class to make 129.
In reply on Sunday, North Geelong got off to a great start and at 2/163, they looked in the box seat, with Sam Hall making 86.
After tea though, Terry Hill took three middle order wickets to turn the tide, before Dan Grozdanovski cleaned up the tail with 5/61 to see the side progress to the preliminary final.
North Geelong lived to fight another day though, with the benefit of finishing on top of the ladder.
Second-placed Grovedale were in serious trouble early against Newtown and Chilwell when they fell to 6/48, but an outstanding century to Gareth Yelland saw them finish the day on 212.
On day two, the Two Blues were never in the hunt as Tigers openers James Fisher and Chris Young took three early wickets each, and despite the tail wagging somewhat, it was a 75-run win to Grovedale.
And in the other game at Burdoo Reserve, East Belmont started brightly getting to 1/80 shortly before break, with Andrew Baars and Sean O’Neill both making 40s.
But after tea, it was all St Josephs as Frank Gill produced an exquisite spell of swing bowling to claim 5/32 and dismiss the Lions for just 131.
In reply, St Josephs were ruthless, hitting the Lions attack to all corners in a dominant six-wicket win, Justin Foss top-scoring with 71.
This week’s preliminary finals see North Geelong take on Grovedale in a game that could go either way, while St Joseph’s will start heavy favourites against Murgheboluc.
In division two, Thomson also pulled off an amazing win against the previously undefeated Bell Park.
The Tigers bowled first and controlled play for most of the day, keeping the strong Bell Park batting line-up to just 193.
On Sunday, Thomson got off to the perfect start putting on 74 for the first wicket, but at 7/161, it looked like they may have thrown away a golden opportunity. However, Josh Hartshorne and Adam Petterwood dug deep and saw them home in a thriller.
Alexander Thomson’s golden run came crashing down in their game against Highton, with the result already decided by the end of day one.
The Vikings did all the hard work early, keeping Highton to just 146, but their batsmen couldn’t handle the pressure, being dismissed for just 93 to end what had been a dream couple of months.
In the other game Newcomb and District managed to overcome a doggged Marshall at Hirst Reserve.
The Bears were in big trouble early at 8/104, but a gutsy 49 to Nathan McCoach gave them something to bowl at, with a total of 169.
On Sunday, the game ebbed and flowed all day, but in the end, the Dinos snuck over the line with two wickets in hand.
So this week, Highton will take on Bell Park in a game the Dragons should bounce back and win, while Newcomb and District play Thomson in a match where the Dinos will start slight favourites.