HAWKS paceman Oli Hayes was the main destroyer to help East Ballarat be on the verge of securing one of the biggest upsets this season.
Hayes, teaming with late call-up Harry Christie packed a one-two punch in knocking out Brown Hill batsmen for 94 runs at Western Oval.
Stumps were pulled with the Hawks five runs short of the upset, leaving the Bulls with little but rain to save them now in Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts.
The Hawks had stepped up to the crease and put on 3-90 in 30 overs to prove it was not just a bowlers’ wicket on Saturday.
Hawks captain Brad Whittaker said his players were more than pleased with their efforts.
“If we had’ve been offered that (scoreline) at the start of the day, we definitely would have taken it,” Whittaker said.
“We were both coming off outright wins and to set ourselves up in that position with the ball was fantastic.
“Taking early wickets really put the pressure on them but a couple of guys stuck around at the end...we knew it wasn’t going to be easy with the bat and out batsmen did really well to get the score we did.”
But the sting had gone out of the Bulls.
Headline quick Shane Harwood captured two wickets but that was after Hawk Mark Shaw had smacked the ball about for a bit to chalk up 39 runs (8 fours).
Whittaker said there was a bit of bite in the wicket early in the day and his batsmen were lucky to enjoy the best batting conditions late in the day.
Still, the Bulls’ experienced batting order had fumbled.
Bulls’ captain and opening bat Jason Knowles was dismissed lbw for a
duck by Hayes on the second ball of the day.
The top order crumbled 4-11 and in fewer than 12 overs the score was 6-17 – three wickets to Hayes and three to Christie.
A late inclusion, Christie was promoted from the seconds to replace an ill Nick Waldie and wasted little time to make his mark.