By Richard Millott
Scattered showers in Melbourne’s east ensured scattered levels of play in the district as the season’s penultimate round started.
Ferntree Gully’s hopes of remaining in Norm Reeves Shield next season were boosted with a strong showing against Knoxfield.
The Blues sent the Knights in to bat first and were rewarded with quick breakthroughs.
Tom Boxell hit 46 to lead the charge, with Jack Taylor adding 41 to the total of 156.
The Blues’ bowling attack performed well, with honours shared between Brad Reeve (3/19) Ryan Evans (3/35) and Ben Swift (3/54).
Ferntree Gully will start at 0/6 next week.
Josh Dowling provided Eildon Park with a quality 110 as the Panthers looked to enforce themselves on finals against fellow aspirants Johnson Park.
The Panthers reached 9/265 across the day, with Dowling supported by Jake Pollard (53) and David Smyth (43).
For the Sharks, Mitch Ley claimed 4/65 while Ben Stallworthy supported the effort with 3/67.
Despite getting a start to the match, Knox Gardens were only able to face 53 overs in their match against Upper Ferntree Gully.
The Falcons reached 3/152 with Joe Morsello unbeaten on 42, and Pete Dunlop earlier scored 34 to set the foundations of the batting effort.
Upwey will need to wait another week for their high-stakes matchup with Ferntree Gully Footballers, with play abandoned for the day due to the weather. Scores for Belgrave’s match against The Basin were unknown at time of print.
In Decoite Shield, Mountain Gate bounced back against Knox Gardens, with the Gators returning to form and dismissing their visitors for 91.
Skipper Luke Turner claimed 3/36 but it was John Rozakis who stole the show with the ball, leading the best figures with 3/9.
In reply, the Gators will start at 1/8 next week.
Olinda’s chance to make finals remains alive after a strong showing against ladder-leaders Lysterfield.
The Swans were rampant with the ball, with Taf Kamungozi claiming 4/39 from 19 overs, while Hunter Greenall was on the hunt for wickets, eventually claiming 3/14 from 12.3 overs to dismiss the Beavers for 127.
The Swans will need victory in this match and their Round 12 fixture – as well as results to go their way in other matches – to stand a chance of making a maiden finals appearance since their return to the FTGDCA.
Meanwhile, the weather thwarted efforts to start Monbulk’s match against St Johns Tecoma.
Likewise, it is understood the same fate denied a start at the South Belgrave and Rowville match.
The two matches will return next week to play a one-day match.