IT’S advantage Wendouree, but by no means is this one over.
The Red Caps dominated the first day and a bit of the Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts grand final at Eastern Oval, but a determined Napoleons-Sebastopol fought back to maintain a glimmer of hope heading into the second weekend of play.
After being skittled for just 53 on a rain affected Saturday afternoon, Naps-Sebas was staring down the barrel early yesterday when the Red Caps passed the total without losing a wicket.
The reigning four-time premiers moved to 0-60 before Brendan Thomson took control.
Thomson snared the next five wickets in quick succession to see the Red Caps collapse to be 5-90.
When Matt Smith, David Ellis and Tristan Dixon departed soon after, the champs were in trouble at 8-119.
A 47-run stand between Eamon Johnson (43) and Anthony Beacham (eight not out) was vital for the Red Caps, with Johnson caught on the fence by Kyle Eyers short of his half century.
Jordan Oliver then went for a duck, leaving the Red Caps with a lead of 112 with an hour of play remaining.
The period before stumps was always going to be tricky for Naps-Sebas and it did bring about the downfall of Dan Scott, who was caught in slips by Dixon off Johnson for three.
But night watchman Justin (four not out) and captain-coach Dan Davies (nine not out) worked hard to reach the close of the day without further loss.
Naps-Sebas will resume at 1-19 next Saturday, trailing Wendouree by 93 runs.
Batting the day will be the aim for Davies and his boys, who will hope to set the Red Caps some sort of total to give themselves a chance of an outright victory.
Johnson (4-25), Ellis (3-11) and Beacham (3-2) were the main culprits with the ball for Wendouree on Saturday, setting up the match for their team.
Thomson’s 25-over stint netted him figures of 5-62 in a courageous performance that has given his team a sniff come next weekend.