LOCAL CRICKET Jim Timberlake
Geelong Cricket Club is in a strong position going in to day two of its match with Essendon tomorrow, after a magnificent century by Josh Larkin last Saturday.
Batting first at Windy Hill, the Cats got off to a horror start, falling to 3/13, before Tom Jackson (45) and Hayden Butterworth (39) steadied the ship.
But it was Larkin batting at number 6 and Jared Bailey (13) batting at 11 that were the stars, the pair putting on an incredible 91 runs for the last wicket, to see the side safely to a competitive 258.
With 13 overs still required to complete the day, Essendon wiped 37 runs off the deficit, although Dom McGlinchey struck late in the day with a wicket to give the Cats some momentum heading into day two.
In the Geelong Cricket Association, Grovedale appears to hold the upper hand in their crucial clash with South Barwon.
The Tigers batted first, with young opener Jake Alsop (77) showing his class early, while Jordan Moran (89) and Michael McNeel (44) ensured the good start would not be wasted, as the side went to stumps with an imposing 301 on the board.
Ryan Gibson (4/88) toiled hard for the Swans, and he will need to back it up with the bat tomorrow if his side is any chance.
In division two, Torquay’s premiership hopes looks like finally spluttering to a halt, after they were dismissed for just 72 by Geelong City last week.
Byron Taylor (4/15) was the star with the ball for the Sharks, while Henry Collins (3/15) was also amongst the wickets.
For Torquay, only tail enders Damian O’Brien (20) and Matthew Grossman (11) could hold their heads high, as they were the only batsmen to make double figures.
Geelong City had no trouble chasing down the small target, going to stumps at 5/83, and will no doubt look to push on early tomorrow with the bat, before going for outright points.
Meanwhile, the incredibly tight and unpredictable division three season continues to intrigue, with Thomson posting a very competitive 9/288 declared against Newcomb & District.
Veteran Grant Dew (86) was the star with the bat.
The Tigers then reduced their hosts to 1/23 at stumps, and will start tomorrow as narrow favourites.
Across town, Guild Saints also threw a spanner in the works, knocking up 269 against Geelong West.
In what has been an incredibly tight season in the bottom division, every single game tomorrow is in the balance, and they all will have huge ramifications on who plays finals.