Mt Clear prevailed over Buninyong in a nail-biting encounter, showing plenty of fight to claw its way back and claim a one-run win on Saturday.
The Mounties made only 182, ending its 50 overs nine wickets down. Dylan Achison top-scoring with 43 in what captain Darcy Thomson described as another disappointing batting display.
And as Buninyong moved to 0-97, the day did not look to be getting any better for Mt Clear.
But the Mounties, through Thomson, were able to dismiss openers Matthew Worsnop (53) and Liam Brady (45) – the Bunnies still in the box seat at 2-115.
Mt Clear continued to apply pressure, but it was the two run outs through the middle-order, instigated by dynamo fieldsman Jarrod Burns, that turned the game.
Thomson said Burns was “the best fielder I’ve ever seen...two great run outs and he saved us 20-30 runs”.
Buninyong lost 9-83 after the impressive opening stand, leaving the last over equation at three runs to win with one wicket in hand.
Burns was the man to bowl the last over, with Matt Ringin holding the key for the batting side.
Ringin found an opening on the first ball and pushed for a second, but the pair could only manage a single. Three dot balls followed, then Burns trapped Tom McCarthy on the crease, removing the tailender leg before wicket.
Mt Clear winning a thriller.
“The pleasing thing is we’ve got a lot of area to improve,” Thomson said.
“We said at drinks, once we get one (wicket) we can send a little shiver down all their spines and get them nervous.
“It was a credit to the guys...they (Buninyong) were on top, but we kept the pressure on them.
“The run outs changed the game.”
Nathan Yates enjoyed the best figures with 2-34 while Darren Fletcher was huge once again with his tight bowling, taking 1-14 from his 10 overs.
BROWN Hill made it back-to-back victories with an imposing victory over Napoleons-Sebastopol.
The Bulls stormed through the Naps-Sebas line-up within 28 overs, all out for 58.
Jason Knowles taking 5-11 while skipper Ryan Knowles said Fraser Hunt was arguably their best bowler, despite taking 0-12 from seven overs.
Knowles said the bowling unit as a whole executed very well, keeping consistent lines and building plenty of pressure on Napoleons-Sebastopol on a slow Napoleons wicket.
“We just kept at them around off stump, we just forced them to give their wickets away,” Knowles said.
Brown Hill had little trouble chasing down the total, Cameron Tonkin fell early for two, but Knowles (19) and Matthew Sandford (14) put on a 36-run partnership to ensure there would be no shaky moments chasing the low total. In the end it was a seven-wicket victory to the Bulls with Paul White, playing his 200th first grade game, at the crease when the winning runs were hit by Jason Knowles.
“You never know with those slow totals, we wanted to bat time but bat positively.”
After not winning a game last season, the Bulls have opened with two wins, although North Ballarat will provide its biggest test so far next week.
A CENTURY from Golden Point opener Stephen O’Loughlin set his side up for victory against Ballarat-Redan.
O’Loughlin made 100 exactly as he and skipper Josh White (87) put on 165 runs for the second wicket.
Unfortunately, the centurion fell the very next ball as Golden Point looked to up the ante.
Nonetheless, it was a great moment for the veteran, who admits he thoughts a first grade 100 was past him.
The 44-year-old has been in great form this year. After Christmas in the 2017-18 season he enjoyed scores of 41, 65, 64 and 51 while he made 40 in last week’s season-opener.
O’Loughlin was stoked to play his part in Golden Point’s 4-270, exceeding what he felt was going to be a respectable total.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen again, when you get to 44 you think your 100s are behind you in the firsts,” O’Loughlin said.
“I’ve been getting starts since the end of last year...it was nice to cash-in.
“I tend to just play my shots...see ball, hit ball – if it’s in the slot I’ll play my shots.
“I thought 250 would be alright.
“290 in the first round, we got rolled in that, and then 270 today – the top-order is firing.”
The Golden Point bowlers backed up the performance produced by its batsmen, striking early and consistently to put Two Swords on the back foot.
Ballarat-Redan produced a solid batting display, ending its 50 overs at 9-226, but it never truly threatened to reel-in the total.
Zac Jenkins top-scored with 57 while Simon Allan made a quickfire 44 off 29 deliveries.
Off-spinner Nick Smith and paceman Simon Ogilvie took the team’s most wickets with 2-44 and 2-49 respectively although Daniel McDonald bowled particularly tight for his 1-22 off eight overs.
O’Loughlin said last week’s loss on the final ball against East Ballarat, its first defeat in 18 months, gave the group a bit of a wake-up to kick them into gear.
“East played really well...(but) last week was a bit of a kick up the bum to get us going again after the success we had last year, so it wasn’t a bad thing.”
WENDOUREE notched up its second win to start the 2018-19 season, chasing down Darley’s 136 runs.
The Red Caps took their time, hitting the winning runs with eight balls to spare and four wickets in hand.
Mat Begbie was the star.
The prized recruit steering the ship with an unbeaten 57.
Michael Alexander top-scored with 44 for the Lions as Wendouree’s spin duo of Ben Evans (3-24) and Lucas Argall (2-30) impressed with the ball.
Wendouree captain Gavin Webb said Begbie anchored the innings and while it got close at times, Red Caps were always in control.
“He’s (Begbie) a very classy player and he summed up the situation perfectly and played accordingly,” Webb said
“It got a bit tight towards the end, but we always had our nose in front.”
LEIGH Lorenzen produced another top performance with the bat to help lead North Ballarat to its first victory of the season.
The captain made 70 as North ended their allotted overs at 8-206.
James Nichols (2-25) the only multiple wicket-taker for East.
East Ballarat got off to a strong start, but lost 5-7 during the middle stages of the innings to halt its chase – all out for 176.
English import Connor Miles showed what he can do with the ball, taking a round-high 6-27.