By Richard Millott
The action in Norm Reeves Shield is starting to come alive at the end of an eventful Bushfire Relief Round, with key results up and down the ladder.
Johnson Park broke through for its first win of the campaign chasing down Ferntree Gully Footballers.
Set 154 to claim a maiden six points, Liyan De Silva set about the chase, guiding the Sharks from an early setback with a classy 74 to be dismissed at 2/110.
Not to be outdone, Gerard Petrie (42*) also contributed in a key 100-run partnership to see the home team in the winner’s column.
The win keeps the Sharks in ninth position, while the Griffens now slip two matches outside of the top four with three rounds to play.
With Johnson Park claiming a vital six points, Upper Ferntree Gully required nothing less than a win against Upwey to keep the pressure on.
The Kings made 9/173 last week and a slow start from the Tigers saw the visitors 2/30 at the drinks break before Cameron Wheeler (48) swung the game to be 4/102 at the tea break.
However, Tom Roleff ran through the lineup, his 4/19 key to the Kings dismissing the visitors for 146 to claim their first win of the season.
Knox Gardens closed out a quality win over The Basin as the Falcons continue to consolidate towards the top of the ladder.
With 287 on the board from last week, it was up to the bowlers to close out.
Scott Vozzo (34) and Adam Masters (33) both gave the Bears a start.
However, Michael Casement was the man of the day, his 5/19 helping to keep The Basin in check before dismissing the home team for 143.
The Falcons remain in second place, while the Bears slip to fourth but still a win clear.
In other games, Knoxfield (7/216) had all the answers against Eildon Park (136) and Lysterfield (9/266) all but assured a finals appearance after defeating Belgrave (164).
Round 9 may have proved a pivotal round in Decoite Shield as a new leader emerged out of a tight pack, with just 0.018 per cent the difference between being in the Top 4.
Monbulk took top spot on the ladder after withstanding a spirited chase against South Belgrave.
In an interesting affair, Todd Burley (62) and Thomas Marks (33) helped guide South towards the 223-run target.
However, Duncan Maher had a day out for the Hawks, claiming 5/65 to help dismiss South for 205.
South Belgrave sit in the 4 by the slimmest of margins and will aim to consolidate when they travel to Ferntree Gully next round.
The Hawks will host Rowville next week.
St Johns Tecoma returned to its early season form with a win over Ferntree Gully.
The Saints, having made 254 last week, made early inroads as the Blues’ top order fell cheaply.
Rhys Hayes-Rosario (37) provided some stability through the middle order, before Jake Evans (43) and Pat Mastertoun (60) gave the Blues some late runs to take through to 194.
Steve Barcham was economical and impactful, sending down 16 overs for a return of 4/16.
In other games, Knox Gardens (2/242) consolidated percentage against Mountain Gate (143) and Rowville (178) defeated Olinda (135).