Geelong in perfect form for tilt at flag

TOP KNOCK: Will Simson acknowledgES his half century for Newtown & Chilwell last weekend.

Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake

Geelong Cricket Club has tuned up for the upcoming finals series in perfect fashion, defeating Frankston Penninsula by 105 runs.

Defending 327, set up by the strong batting line up last week, the Cats’ bowlers went to work and dismissed their hosts for just 232.

Brenton McDonald (6/77) was the star, showing all of his class as he cut a swathe through the opposition batsmen.

Jake Reed (2/48) and Hayden Butterworth (2/56) also found some good form.

This weekend the Cats take on Essendon at Windy Hill over two days and will go in knowing that if they can produce their best cricket they are well and truly capable of progressing to the next week.

In Geelong Cricket Association, the final days play of the home and away season will take place this Saturday, and in division one a number of sides will be eyeing off a finals spot right up until the close of play.

While third-placed Grovedale should be able to chase down Bell Post Hill’s 159, it is fourth-placed Newtown & Chilwell that will hold the most nerves, knowing that a successful defence of its 258 against South Barwon will earn the right to play off for this year’s flag over the following two Saturdays.

John Simson (64) and Will Simson (54) lead the way with the bat for the Two Blues, and will now look to their in-form bowling line-up to do its bit so the side can march forward into the finals with winning form under its belt.

Lara will attempt to chase down St Josephs’ 248 in the knowledge that a win still might sneak the Cats in should Newtown & Chilwell lose, although that seems unlikely.

In division two, Torquay has surged back into premiership contention after a demolition of Manifold Heights on day one of their clash last weekend.

Having lost 12 premiership points due to a transgression with their player points, the Tigers found themselves outside of the top four with a round to play.

However, they destroyed the Sharks in the first innings. Peter Manser (4/18) was the pick of the bowlers before the side cruised to 5/97 declared.

Torquay then elected to have another bowl, and did so with great success, reducing the visitors to 4/28 at stumps. The Tigers will surely now claim outright points and move back into the top four with some impressive form at their back.

And in division three, fourth-placed Bannockburn appears to have done enough to keep fifth-placed Geelong West at bay after posting 277 against Corio last week.

While no batsman could manage a half century, enough contributors came forward on the day to ensure a very defendable total was posted.

Meanwhile, Geelong West, led by star batsman Sam Loftus (113), gave itself a glimmer of hope after posting 5/273 before declaring and reducing Newcomb & District to 3/53 at stumps on day one.

It may be too little too late, though, as even an outright win would not be enough if Bannockburn can hold off Corio, which appears likely.

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