By Luke Voogt
Geelong Cricket Club has climbed into the top eight after a convincing nine-wicket win over Frankston Peninsula at home on Saturday.
The Cats won the toss and sent the Heat into bat at the usually high-scoring Geelong Cricket Ground, restricting the young visiting side to 6/197 in overcast conditions.
Up-and-coming paceman Josh Garner struck first finding the outside edge of opener Nathan Harford.
Wicketkeeper Josh McDonald dove to his right to take a brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss Harford for 1 with Frankston at 1/1.
McDonald took a much simpler catch soon after as experienced fast bowler Dom McGlinchey dismissed Frankston’s other opener Vishesh Bansal for a duck, putting the Heat in serious trouble at 2/7.
Matthew Gapes and Ryan Hammel steadied Frankston by putting on 83 for the third wicket, until Gapes chopped one on at 43 off the bowling of part-time off-spinner Gus Boyd.
Ryan Hammel went on to make 71 until a big swing-and-miss at a ball from Garner that crashed into the top of the stumps.
Earlier, number five batman Brodie Symons holed out to Callum Stow off the bowling of allrounder and left-arm finger spinner Hayden Butterworth.
McGlinchey claimed the sixth wicket when Jai Elcock holed out to Butterworth, with Frankston making another 10 to finish with 6/197 off 50 overs.
The Cats chased down the total at almost a run a ball (35.4 overs) with a beautiful technical batting display.
Eamonn Vines and Josh McDonald finished on 79* and 37* respectively, with McDonald hitting the winning runs with a magnificent pull shot for six off the bowling of Elcock.
The wrist spinner dismissed Butterworth (caught behind) for 79 but with the Cats already at 160, Vines and McDonald cruised to victory.
Geelong will travel up the highway to take on Ringwood on Saturday, which sits just below the Cats on ninth due to net run rate.
A win would further cement the Cats’ place in the eight with very winnable games against Casey-South Melbourne and Kingston Hawthorn in the following rounds.
Ringwood has had a mixed season with bat and ball, but spearhead Ian Holland is in dangerous form after taking a hat-trick against Dandenong last Saturday.
The all-rounder’s 3/18 helped Ringwood bowl out the Panthers for 137 and win the game.
The former county cricketer has three three-wicket hauls plus a five-for to his name this season, and has averaged 41.8 with the bat.
Fellow opener Thomas Rogers has had a mercurial season. He hit an incredible 181* in round one but recorded a pair of ducks (both LBW) in his last two innings.
In the Geelong Cricket Association division one firsts scores were low during an overcast Saturday, with East Belmont’s Sean O’Neill the sole century maker for round.
His 118 helped East Belmont buck the trend to post 6/285 batting first off 40 overs and overcome St Joseph’s by 91 runs (all out for 194).
North Geelong’s Cal Ferguson was the standout among the bowlers taking 5/16 to help North Geelong defeat Highton.
Leopold, Lara and South Barwon also picked up wins with North Geelong leading the ladder, followed by Lara, East Belmont and South Barwon.
In the seconds Grovedale won its 10th consecutive game to remain undefeated on top of the ladder with Newtown-Chillwell, Leopold, North Geelong and East Belmont also victorious.
Newtown-Chillwell’s Jordan Tegelhuter scored a massive 198 off 106 balls including 21 fours and 15 sixes to help the Two Blues post 6/359 and beat Lara by 137 runs.
East Belmont is currently second, followed by North Geelong and South Barwon.
In the thirds Leopold, North Geelong, Newtown-Chilwell, South Barwon and St Joseph’s won, with North Geelong atop the ladder followed by South Barwon, Murgheboluc and St Joseph’s.