By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 1
REVIEW – ROUND 6
North Dandenong star Akshay Ballal is emerging as one of the DDCA’s most prized match-winners with both bat and ball.
In yet another stunning performance on Saturday – once again against the inconsistent Berwick side at home in Turf 1 – Ballal ripped apart the seasoned Bears’ batting order to set up a sensational win, and left the Maroons just percentage from third spot.
An aggressive cameo from Declan Fowler (45) lifted the home side to 158 after winning the toss and batting, after junior star Isaiah Jassal (4/31) continued his stunning rise in Turf 1 cricket with yet another bag of wickets.
Jassal – who plays under 15s with the club – ensured that the Maroons couldn’t find any more late order runs – taking the last four scalps, including that of Fowler.
But, it was always going to be a hard ask defending against a batting order featuring the in-form duo Nathan Pilon and Jordan Cleland, as well as skipper Matthew Chasemore.
A rapid start saw the visitors swiftly notch 33 for the first wicket, but that’s where the home side began to fight back into the contest.
Despite Chasemore’s (61 not out) grit and determination to guide his side to victory, Ballal produced a stunning spell, snaring 5-14 and tearing apart the middle and top order to leave the visitors shell shocked and staring down the barrel of another tough loss.
In Round 1, Ballal’s 110 with the bat proved the downfall of the Bears at Arch Brown, so he’s starting to cause plenty of nightmares for Chasemore’s side, and has 329 runs at 14 wickets next to his name at this stage of the year.
Highly rated when he signed at the Maroons for his first stint in the DDCA this season, Ballal’s thirst for the big moments in matches has made his side become one of the dangerous underdogs in fifth spot.
Eventually the Bears were shot out for 128 in the 34th over, with Muharjithan Thedchanamoorthy (3/28) also continuing his strong form with the ball.
The loss leaves the Bears with a 3-3 record after two losses to the Maroons and one to bottom placed HSD, and once again, their inconsistency is leaving them vulnerable inside the top four.
Elsewhere, Mordialloc kept its season alive with a complete domination of premiership fancies Springvale South at Ben Kavanagh, clawing off the bottom of the table.
The Bloodhounds produced their most frightening performance since last year’s grand final win, overcoming a solid start and taking complete control of the contest, and finally showcasing the form that has had them the champions of Turf 1 cricket for the past two seasons.
After Bloods opening pair Nathan King (41) and Michael Vandort (57) got off to a fine start, the Bloodhounds – led superbly by Ian Daniel (3/17), Dylan Campbell (2/23) and Liam Bence (2/30) – skittled the visitors, rolling them for just 135 in the 38th over, cutting off the Bloods’ dynamic middle order to continually take wickets.
Incredibly, after the Bloods’ opening pair, no batsmen scored double figures, including Steven Spoljaric, who made a surprise duck courtesy of the pace of Campbell, in a rare off day for the side.
Without skipper Craig Slocombe in the side, the Bloods just didn’t have enough experience to steady the ship and post a competitive total.
In reply, Ian Daniel (97 not out) showcased his abundance of class to completely blow the Bloods away, helping his side reach the total with just one wicket down.
It’s a welcome return for form for the star premiership all-rounder, who after a slow a start to the season, is beginning to warm into the campaign with both bat and ball.
Hallam Kalora Park, meanwhile, is now inside the top four for the first time this season after a comfortable win over bottom placed HSD.
The Hawks continue to find ways to win and grind their way to the points, and this contest with the Cobras was no different.
A disciplined bowling display led by Chris Periera (4/32), saw the Hawks restrict the Cobras to 9/140 after 40, with Michael Davies fighting hard with an unbeaten 47, but with little help around him, couldn’t quite find enough time to launch his usual assault. Jordan Hammond (2/22) also kept things tight with the new ball, continuing his fine season.
Despite taking the game until the very last over, the Hawks got to the target without much fuss, with Jordan Hammond (53) leading the way and his side took the points with four wickets left in the shed. Hammond’s 69-run opening partnership with Leigh Booth (27) proved crucial in the end.
And Buckley Ridges held off St Mary’s at Carroll Reserve to surge 10 points clear at the top of the ladder.
The in-form Saints sent the Bucks in, and as per usual, Daniel Watson (61) ensured the visitors would get off to a strong start with the bat, taking down the home side’s new ball pair with his customary flair.
But the home side fought back to take regular middle order wickets, with the scalp of Watson seeing the visitors lose a further 4/50 and slip to 5/141.
The Bucks, with all of its batting depth, managed to still post a strong 7/175 off their 40 overs, with Ashan Anthony (3/45) the pick of the bowlers.
In reply, the Saints once again pushed another premiership contender to the limit, with Ruwantha Kellepotha (61) and skipper Kaushalya Gajasinghe (40) almost clinching a thrilling victory, with the home side falling short on 9/166.
Spinner Wes Nicholas (4/27) was in fine touch – particularly through the middle overs – while Watson (2/28) continued his strong new ball form with another terrific display of fast bowling, in the absence of usual spearhead Jurgen Andersen.
Round 7 will be another one-dayer, with a crunch clash between Berwick and Springvale South looming as an absolute blockbuster.