MT CLEAR gave its finals aspirations a huge boost with a thrilling five-run win over powerhouse Wendouree on Saturday.
The Mounties inflicted the Red Caps’ second defeat of the Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts season when they successfully defended their total of 151 at University of Ballarat.
Mt Clear’s one-day win leaves it third on the ladder, but 10 points ahead of the chasing bunch outside the the top four with three rounds of the home and away season to play.
Wendouree, meanwhile, is now just two points clear at the summit after dropping its second game in the space of four matches.
Aside from Paull Jeffrey (57), Mt Clear’s top order failed to fire, with Darren Fletcher’s unbeaten 42 at number eight carrying the team to 151 before being bowled out on the last ball of the 40th over.
The total appeared a gettable one for the Red Caps, but the Mounties bowlers were able to deny any meaningful partnerships except for a 50-run stand between Tristan Dixon (40) and Grant Bell (41) that carried the visitors to 5-99.
With Dixon gone, Bell was left to hang around with the tail and eventually Wendouree required six runs off the final over, with one wicket in hand, to win.
Mounties skipper Lincoln Blake was up to the challenge, though, bowling Bell on the second ball of the over to secure the victory.
It was Fletcher that wrapped-up man of the match honours, adding four important wickets to his knock with the bat, while Jordan Oliver claimed 3-22 to be Wendouree’s best bowler earlier in the afternoon.
LADDER: Wendouree 42 points; Naps-Sebas 40; Mt Clear 37; Darley 34; Golden Point 27; Ballarat-Redan 27; North Ballarat 24; Brown Hill 21; East Ballarat 18; Coronet City 12