Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake
Geelong Cricket Club proved it belongs in the top bracket of clubs vying for the premiership this season with a professional run chase last Saturday against Prahran.
Chasing the visitors’ imposing 290 for victory, the Cats top order worked hard to ensure it was a team performance that secured the points.
Angus Boyd (80) top-scored, while Eamon Vines (56) and Tim Ludeman (53) both scored important half centuries to see the team cruise to an impressive four-wicket win.
With just three games remaining before finals, Geelong has moved into fourth position.
Tomorrow the Cats travel to Casey Fields to play Casey South Melbourne, which sits in seventh position and will be fighting for its own season, so this will be no easy game but the Cats are in form and will start deserved favourites.
Geelong Cricket Association features a serious log jam in the middle of the division one ladder, and right in the middle of it sits seventh placed Lara on 24 points and Geelong city in sixth on 30 points.
They face each other this week at Lara’s Bisinella Oval in what almost becomes an elimination final.
Both sides enjoyed good victories last week, with the Sharks beating a resurgent South Barwon. However, it was Lara’s win over second placed Newtown & Chilwell that was even more impressive.
Robbie Pehar (4/41) was the star with the ball the previous week, while Andy Hughes (70) and Daniel Weigl (69) got the job done with the bat as the Cats chased down the Two Blues’ moderate total of 171 with eight wickets in hand.
Both of sides boast some genuine match winners but Lara seems to have a bit more firepower and will go in the narrow favourite.
Selections: EAST BELMONT v Bell Post Hill, ST JOSEPHS v Newtown & Chilwell, LARA v Geelong City, South Barwon v NORTH GEELONG, Leopold v GROVEDALE.
In division two, Marshall did its slim finals hopes no harm with an outright thrashing of Thomson last round, which put the side in fifth position, nine points behind Highton.
The two teams play each other this week, and if Marshall can’t find a way to win the top four will almost be locked away.
James Menzies has been in excellent form with the ball for the Bears, taking six wickets for the last game, while Brad Greenwood showed he is still a force, claiming eight of his own.
With the bat, Corey Walter has been the mainstay all season, so he would have enjoyed the fact that the likes of Jake Hilton (55) and Josh Janssen (54) found some form to help spread the load.
Highton, though, is in the top four for a reason and will be no pushover. Heat won its past two, and will still be slightly ahead with the tipsters for this one.
Selections: Marshall v HIGHTON, MURGHEBOLUC v St Peters, Bell Park v TORQUAY, Manifold Heights v THOMSON.
And in division three, only five teams can play finals now, and, unfortunately for Geelong West, its the one with the most catching up to do on the other four.
The Rams sit in fifth position, and although they are only one point behind St Albans Breakwater they face a tough test this round when they play Modewarre, which is in third spot.
Sam Loftus showed his class for Geelong West with yet another century in his side’s big win against Guild Saints.
Modewarre had a good win of its own, though, with Jack Hosing making a ton as his side disposed of Waurn Ponds-Deakin.
Geelong West will put up a good fight as always but Modewarre is the slightly better side and should win narrowly.
Selections: TEESDALE v Newcomb & District, ST ALBANS BREAKWATER v Guild Saints, Geelong West v MODEWARRE, ALEXANDER THOMSON v Corio, Waurn Ponds-Deakin v BANNOCKBURN.