By Justin Flynn
Highton’s second win of the Geelong Cricket Association season propelled it back into finals contention and skipper Nathan McCoach said his side still had some improving to do.
The Heat knocked over a spirited Lara by 44 runs after declaring on 9/298, piloted by a masterful 126 by Greg Willows, and knocking over the Cats for 254.
“We haven’t had as many wins as we would have liked, but I think we’ve been pretty close,” McCoach said.
“We were super happy with our batting innings. A few of the boys at the top made starts and then Greg finally got over the line with his hundred.
“We still think there’s a bit of improvement in us, especially with our bowling. It was good to win even though we’re not playing our best because that’s what good sides do.”
A fine opening stand between Casey Young and Jhiah Baxter gave Lara every chance of its second win.
Spinner Fionn Neeson found a way through Baxter’s defence for a well-made 64 from 74 balls while Young went on to compile a brilliant 99 from 158 that included 10 boundaries and four sixes.
McCoach said Young deserved a century, but was deceived by leg-spinner Brady Somers’ wrong-un and played a leading edge to Willows at mid-wicket.
“They’ve got some pretty good players like (Daniel) Weigl and then (Kaden) Marum coming in at five and (Robert) Sodomaco at six,” he said.
“They can all bat really well and Casey Young was probably the key wicket. He batted superbly with plenty of patience.”
A middle-order partnership between Sodomaco (27) and Edward Kol (16) gave Lara a glimmer of hope, but Somers and Neeson combined for five wickets and McCoach grabbed two, including the final wicket of the day to give Highton the points. Seamer Errol Burns was at his nagging best with 3/47 from 22 tidy overs.
“We were always pretty confident in taking the 10 wickets,” McCoach said.
“We just had to stay patient with our bowling plans. But as I said before, we probably weren’t at our best yesterday, but still got over the line, which is good.”
THE OSBORNE Park pitch got the better of both North Geelong and East Belmont with the game meandering to a tame draw. More than 700 runs were scored and only seven wickets taken as East Belmont replied to the Magpies’ 4/376 with 3/236. Josh Lacey made a starring unbeaten 104 from 210 deliveries for East Belmont.
SOUTH BARWON enjoyed a 56-run win against St Joseph’s. Replying to South Barwon’s 256 last week, Joeys were led by Andrew Hodgson (57) and Ryan Simmonds (54), but Nick Butters made a stunning bowling cameo, taking 4/4 from seven overs to go with Nick Platt’s 3/82 from 29 overs and evergreen Brad Hauenstein’s 1/42 from 23 to have the visitors all out for 200.
THE McKENNAS dominated for Newtown & Chilwell in its seven-wicket win against Grovedale. Chasing 231 for victory, the Two Blues were led by Pat McKenna (115 not out from 173 balls) and young English import Ronnie McKenna (104 from 169) to reach the total with seven wickets in hand from 63 overs. The McKennas, who are unrelated, put on 201 for the third wicket.