North Ballarat 9-304 d Buninyong 163
North Ballarat has opened up a crucial 10-point gap inside the top four while snuffing out one of its main challengers for a finals berth.
The Roosters easily defended their total of 9-304, dismissing Buninyong well shy of the target on Saturday.
North Ballarat always appeared to have the upper hand following a great display with the bat on day one and never let the visitors into the match at the weekend.
Opening bowlers Ash McCafferty and Jason Crosbie did the early damage, striking with a flurry of early wickets to have the Bunnies in deep trouble at 3-9 and then 4-23.
Buninyong coach Liam Brady dug in and reached 30 through the middle order, but he was eventually added to Crosbie’s five scalps for the afternoon.
Skipper Liam Rigby (36), Matt Ringin (31) and Geordie McLeod (20 not out) tried hard to salvage the innings for the visitors, which were eventually dismissed in the 59th over for 163.
Crosbie snared season-best figures of 5-22 for the Roosters, while skipper Leigh Lorenzen added two wickets to his score of 85 the week earlier.
Man-of-the-match honours were hard to decide for umpires, with North’s Janath Tissera also making 94 at the top of the order on day one.
North Ballarat catapulted into the Ballarat Cricket Association first grade top four with last round’s outright win over Ballarat-Redan and now holds a 10-point lead on the fifth-placed Wendouree, which was beaten at the weekend.
Buninyong had been in the running for finals just a couple of weeks ago, but now looks unlikely of figuring in the playoffs.
The Bunnies are sixth, 16 points behind the fourth-placed North.
Just two two-day matches remain before finals, with plenty of eyes on the all-important fixture between North Ballarat and Wendouree, which starts next weekend.
Mt Clear 70
East Ballarat 68
Golden Point 54
North Ballarat 52
Brown Hill 30
February 16 and 23
Brown Hill v Ballarat-Redan at Western Oval
East Ballarat v Golden Point at Russell Square
Mt Clear v Darley at Mt Clear
Napoleons-Sebastopol v Buninyong at Napoleons
North Ballarat v Wendouree at Northern Oval
Mt Clear 5-378 d Wendouree 103
Wendouree couldn’t even get close to Mt Clear’s mammoth first innings total on Saturday.
After posting 5-378 on day one, the Mounties tore through the Red Caps to dismiss them for 103.
Nathan Yates claimed the brilliant figures of 6-37 as Mat Begbie provided the most resistance for the visitors, making 45. John Butler was next best with 26 down the order.
Mt Clear remains on top of the ladder, while Wendouree is fifth.
Darley 1-86dec d Brown Hill 82 & 4-132
Brown Hill had already conceded first innings points on day one, but dug in to avoid an outright defeat on Saturday.
Darley reached 1-86 in response to the Bulls’ 82 on the opening day and declared with that four-run lead.
Batting a second time, Brown Hill was much more solid and plugged away for 69 overs to reach 4-132.
Ryan Knowles made an unbeaten 66 to thwart the Lions.
Golden Point 8-227 d Naps-Sebas 226
Manjula De Zoysa made a vital 91 to guide Golden Point to a two-wicket win on Saturday.
The Pointies were set 227 for victory by the winless Napoleons-Sebastopol on day one and snuck home late on Saturday.
De Zoysa batted most of the innings and then left Matt Harris (17) and Joshua Richards (14) to bring up the winning runs.
Matthew Messemaker tried hard for Naps-Sebas, snaring 4-69 from his 26.4 overs.
East Ballarat 4-236dec d Ballarat-Redan 79 and 126
East Ballarat needed just 50 overs on Saturday to complete outright victory in the clash with Ballarat-Redan.
The Hawks were 4-236 in reply to the Two Swords’ first innings score of 79 at the conclusion of day one and immediately sent the home side back in for a bat.
And while it was some improvement the second time around, Ballarat-Redan was quickly bundled out for 126, well short of making the Hawks bat again.
Oli Hayes claimed five wickets and Chris Jerram four to wrap up the 10 points for East.
The Hawks, which lost to Wendouree in the previous round, are now just two points behind top side Mt Clear.