By Richard Millott
Upwey-Tecoma put its fellow finals aspirants on notice after seeing off The Basin in a match that showed why both teams will be featuring strongly across the final month of the 2020/21 Season.
The Tigers elected to bat first and despite an early loss, the hosts top order fired with Jules Whetstone (53) and Jackson Waters (88) both posting half centuries in a 126-run second wicket stand.
Cameron Wheeler joined the party with a quickfire 40 not out as Upwey-Tecoma reached 5/201 from the 40 overs.
In reply, the Bears were up against it early at 2/2 before Blake Walter (56) shone with the bat, whilst James Freeman (33*) was there at the end after finding boundaries late in the chase.
Jackson Waters (3/36) was the pick of the bowling for the hosts who dismissed the Bears for 136.
The loss sees The Basin drop out of the four down to sixth place and will look to regain their place in the Top Four in a crunch match against Knox Gardens. Meanwhile, Upwey-Tecoma travel to Belgrave to keep the pressure on the top of the table.
For the first time this season, Knoxfield are into the Top 4 after accounting for Upper Ferntree Gully in convincing fashion.
The Knights batted first with Clint Buckland (41) and Daniel Beyer (44) both piling on the runs against the Kings bowlers to be 2/101.
A steady flow of starts on the scorecard were interrupted by wickets as the hosts reached 9/201 at the halfway mark.
The visitors struggled to get a start with the reply as a number of early Knights breakthroughs from the opening attack saw the chase slipping away.
Josh Lindner (3/10 off 6 overs) saw off the top order whilst from the other end of the pitch, Chris Rumble claimed a bag – walking off with 5/21 from seven point three overs.
The Kings were well behind the pace at 5/61, before the Knights wrapped things up quickly, taking 5/8 to have Upper Ferntree Gully all out for 69.
Knoxfield will look to keep their newfound Finals place with a trip to Lysterfield, whilst Upper Ferntree Gully return home to take on neighbouring Ferntree Gully.
With the highest percentage outside of the Top 4, Knox Gardens continue to knock on the door after a hard-earnt win over Monbulk.
The Hawks were sent in first and got away well with Jason Fraser (74) and Justin Creed (58) both scoring half centuries as the first wicket fell at 1/123.
Wickets were hard to come by for the Falcon attack as the visitors reached 4/206 from their overs.
Adam Wylde wasn’t deterred from the imposing target, a key pillar of the innings with 89 not out. Jarrod Butcher (34) played a support role to help the Falcons towards an important win, with the hosts logging the points at 6/207 with five balls to spare. The Falcons sit in fifth place just three points adrift and will travel to The Basin next week, whilst for Monbulk they will take on Johnson Park at Monbulk.
Lysterfield logged win number 10 of the season against Johnson Park.
Sent in to bat first, the Beavers had a number of wickets fall after promising starts with only Nathan Walsh (38) posting a score.
Mitch Ley (3/22) and Steve Devenish (3/26) were key to the Sharks bowling attack that saw the visitors out for 147.
A disastrous start to the chase greeted the Sharks though, falling to 3/10 as Adam Kinniburgh ran riot with the ball.
Tim Chivers claimed 3/23, however Kinniburgh ensured he stamped his authority on the game, taking 5/10 from seven overs as the hosts were dismissed for 99.
Lysterfield play host to fellow challengers Knoxfield, whilst Johnson Park will be looking for safety from the drop zone when they travel to Monbulk.
Ferntree Gully made light work of their assignment against Eildon Park at Wally Tew.
Sent in to bat, the Panthers were 1/62 before the Blues attack swung into motion. Pat Mastertoun (4/10) and Jesse Christensen (3/30) triggered off a fall that the Panthers could not recover from, dismissed for 100.
In reply, Josh Henry (64*) and Jayden Bradbury (30*) brought up the win in the 23rd over at 2/103. The Blues continue to hold a spot in the Finals and will play Upper Ferntree Gully next round, whilst Eildon Park will play host to Ferntree Gully Footballers.
Ferntree Gully Footballers are back on the winners list after accounting for Belgrave by eight wickets.
Belgrave started off well at 0/60 before the Griffen bowlers took charge, Nick Bogar claiming 4/21 from eight overs whilst Kody Taylor took 3/12 from seven overs as the Pies were dismissed for 108.
Nick Bogar (62)* and Radhik Gooneratne (43) both fired for the hosts bringing up the win at 2/109. Ferntree Gully Footballers take on Eildon Park away next week, whilst Belgrave hosts Upwey-Tecoma.
In Decoite Shield action, Knox Gardens continue their push up the ladder, swapping places with Rowville.
The Hawks were sent in with Adam Wild (3/21) the pick of the bowling attack.
The hosts reached 4/81 however later on the tail was unable to wag as the Hawks were bowled out for 119.
Tyler Voulanas continued his good run of form, ending at 42 not out as the Falcons reached 6/120.
Knox Gardens will look to continue climbing next week against the second-placed South Belgrave, whilst Rowville will take on St Johns Tecoma at home.
South Belgrave had a good day out against Olinda to claim the points at South Belgrave Reserve.
South were sent in first with the Bloods up and about, however Daniel Cormack (37) and Jordan McDermott (76) provided the hosts with the perfect springboard to reach 180. Taf Kamungozi (4/41) and Matthew Oates (4/31) were both important contributors with the ball for the visitors.
In reply, Tim Scott (32) was the only batsman to lodge a start with the South bowling attack sharing around the wickets, dismissing Olinda for 118.
South now take on Knox Gardens, whilst Olinda will host Mountain Gate.
St Johns Tecoma continued on their winning ways against Mountain Gate at Talaskia Reserve.
The Saints batted first with Kyle Chandler leading from the front to score 69.
However, the Gator bowling attack were up and about with Eraj Wimalaratna (3/30) leading the charge before Marc Hardy teed off in his 200th 1st XI match for the Saints.
Hardy blasted 62 from just 44 deliveries – including four fours and five sixes to push the hosts to 8/215.
Mitch Goddard (35) was the lead of the Gator chase, however wickets shared around – lead by Aaron Grenda (3/22) – saw the Saints victorious, with the Gators ending up at 9/170.
St Johns Tecoma travel to Rowville next week, whilst for Mountain Gate they will be looking for victory up at Olinda.
NORM REEVES SHIELD – PROVISIONAL LADDER (AFTER 11 ROUNDS)
LYSTERFIELD – 60PTS (1.462%)
UPWEY-TECOMA – 57PTS (1.610%)
FERNTREE GULLY – 45PTS (1.535%)
KNOXFIELD – 45PTS (1.002%)
Knox Gardens – 42pts (1.590%)
The Basin – 39pts (1.080%)
FTG Footballers – 30pts (0.965%)
Monbulk – 21pts (0.891%)
Johnson Park – 18pts (0.718%)
Belgrave – 18pts (0.559%)
Eildon Park – 15pts (0.658%)
Upper FTG – 6pts (0.686%)
DECOITE SHIELD – PROVISIONAL LADDER (AFTER 11 ROUNDS)
ST JOHNS TECOMA – 51PTS (1.896%)
SOUTH BELGRAVE – 45PTS (1.176%)
KNOX GARDENS – 39PTS (0.959%)
ROWVILLE – 36PTS (0.929%)
Olinda – 27pts (0.941%)
Mountain Gate – 0pts (0.532%)