LOCAL CRICKET Jim Timberlake
Geelong Cricket Club’s hopes of contesting this seasons finals have finally been laid to rest, after a disappointing showing against Monash Tigers last Saturday.
The Cats bowled first, and despite a dominant 148 run partnership for the second wicket, the bowlers actually did a reasonable job to restrict their hosts to a modest 7/231 from their 50 overs.
Jared Bailey (1/19) took an early wicket, while Brody Couch (4/28) returned the best figures.
In reply, Geelong never looked like it, with multiple top order wickets falling in quick succession, and despite Tim Ludeman (28) showing how it’s done at number seven, they could only muster 105.
With one game remaining, the team will look to go out on a high against Prahran over the next two Saturdays, before they embark on a hunt for a new coach next season, as well as some quality players to hep bolster their line-up.
In the Geelong Cricket Association, Grovedale faces the very tough ask of restricting ladder leaders North Geelong to less than 156 if they are to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Tigers started reasonably brightly last week, reaching 3/102, thanks mainly to another solid performance from young opener Jake Alsop (42).
But from there, the wheels fell off as Alistair McCann (5/50) and Tom Mathieson (4/45) cut a swathe through the batting order to dismiss them for just 156.
With 11 overs to face on day one, North Geelong lost opener Sam Hall to a disastrous run out, but with no further damage, went to stumps at 1/14 and seemingly in control of the match.
In Division two, Highton has continued its good form, posting 311 in their crucial game against Modewarre.
Chay Deary (71), Zac Will (70) and James Gillard (58) all got solid starts at the top of the order, while skipper Brandon Ross (54) ensured it didn’t go to waste with a late flurry.
Brendan Wemyss (4/87) and Nat Matthews (3/79) both toiled manfully for Modewarre in what was a long day in the field.
A total of 300 is rarely chased successfully, but Jake Hooson and his charges won’t die wondering with the stakes this high.
In division three, Guild Saints and Corio both put in shocking performances at just the wrong time, both losing on first innings on the first day of the penultimate round.
Meanwhile, Lethbridge and Geelong West posted good scores in their games, to keep the fight for fourth spot well and truly alive.
Lethbridge should be able to defend 281 at home against Thomson, while the Rams knocked up 267 against Newcomb & District at Grinter Reserve.
Newcomb & District will fancy their chances, but their form since Christmas has been less than convincing, so they’ll need to find something quickly if they want to go into finals with winning form under their belt.