By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 1, TURF 2, AND TURF 3
REVIEW – ROUND 5
Kaushalya Weeraratne was exactly what Narre South needed in its middle order, and if the opening rounds before Christmas are any indication, the star all-rounder will be a major factor at the pointy end of the Turf 1 home-and-away season and beyond.
The left-hander has started life as a Lion strongly, and on Saturday put together yet another impressive display of firepower under some pressure.
Shooting for a third straight win before Christmas, the Lions bowled superbly after sending St Mary’s in to bat at Carroll Reserve, with opener Kasun Kannangara (35) battling hard but without many teammates to go with him.
Off the back of another impressive bowling effort from Josh Dowling (2/17), champion veteran Scott Phillips (2/34) and Wookey medalist Morteza Ali (2/11), the Saints were bowled out for just 91.
It was from a seamless chase for the in-form Lions, with three of its top order batsmen in the sheds and the score at 3/20.
With Kyle Hardy (28 not out) batting strongly from one end, Weeraratne snuffed out any chance of the Saints pulling a major upset, crunching an unbeaten 54, which came in just 28 balls and featured eight fours and two sixes.
The ex-HSD star is sitting on 199 runs at an average of 66.3 coming into the break, and is providing an element of power to the Lions’ middle order which also features Scott Phillips.
Matt Chasemore’s golden start to the Turf 1 season continued down at Lois Twohig Reserve, guiding Berwick to a thumping win against North Dandenong.
Despite a cracking knock from Maroons skipper Clay McCartney, who continues to shine with an entertaining 54 from 69 balls, the Bears – off the back of Brendan Rose (2/16) and Jarrod Armitage (4/25) – restricted the home side to 115, with only two other batters reaching double figures.
The dangerous Jordan Cleland was removed early, but it mattered little as Chasemore produced another masterclass, belting an unbeaten 82 off 66 balls to help the side to a nine-wicket win.
Chasemore flayed eight sixes in his brilliant hand.
Brodie Emmett’s promising start to the season continued with another fluently made 26 not out.
But Chasemore once again continues to shine, with the champ averaging an incredible 243 so far this year, having been dismissed just the once.
And Hallam Kalora Park eased past Heinz Southern Districts as the battle between fourth and fifth position with the Lions continues.
A disciplined bowling display led brilliantly by a phenomenal spell from spinner Sachith Jayasingha (4/3) restricted the Cobras to 105, with Ryan Patterson doing some fine work in the middle with a classy 36.
Despite the loss of an early wicket, the Hawks ran down the total with just the loss of three wickets.
The round’s most hotly anticipated match, Buckley Ridges and Springvale South was abandoned at Park Oval due to a wet pitch.
Reigning premiers Berwick hold top spot on the ladder heading into the Christmas break, with Springvale South, Buckley Ridges and Hallam Kalora Park rounding out the top four.
Narre South sit in fifth and appear the only challenger at this stage to break into the finals from outside the four, while St Mary’s, North Dandenong and HSD will be looking to get their seasons back on track when play resumes on 9 January.
Parkmore Pirates will sprung into the Christmas break with plenty of momentum after inflicting Cranbourne with its first loss of the season.
The Pirates – who now sit in fifth spot and are eyeing finals despite a long-list of off-season departures – produced an all-round team effort in bringing down the Eagles away from home.
Craig Hookey (53) struck his second half-century of the season for the Eagles with the home side scratching its way to 5/154 from its 45 overs, with some disciplined bowling led from Ammar Bajwa (2/43) helping keep the total within reach.
It took 40 overs, and plenty of swings of momentum, but gritty knocks from Mohomad Safras (42), Justin Rowswell (37 not out) and Madhawa Fonseka (42) saw the Pirates win by four wickets.
Pete Sweeney (3/49) was once again outstanding with the ball as he now moves to 15 wickets for the season.
Narre Warren sit atop the Turf 2 table heading into Christmas with an utterly dominant win against Narre North.
The Magpies racked up the runs after being sent in, with John Mentiplay (66) and Cam Dinger (53 not out) playing gems to give the home side an imposing 6/212 off its 45 overs.
Despite a fighting 22 not out from Fazmin Mohamed, Narre North were skittled for just 55 in 26.1 overs, with seamer Josh Dinger (5/15) channelling his inner Josh Hazlewood with a brilliant bowling display.
Kasun Balasuriya (3/1) also proved unplayable as the visitors could find no momentum throughout the chase.
Dandenong West also banked an impressive win, this time against Lyndale at Barry Powell Reserve.
The Westers worked hard with the bat despite some early stumbles, with half-centuries to skipper Anthony Brannan (50) and Gurpreet Singh (56 not out) lifting them to 7/219.
Opener Matt Collett (48) also chimed in with an entertaining cameo from the top.
It became the Shaun Weir show once again, with the Westers spinner snaring a second consecutive five-wicket haul, claiming 5/21 as the home side fell for just 124.
Singh also backed up his half-century with an excellent 3/26 with the new ball. He now has 13 wickets for the season to date.
Beaconsfield (6/161) also banked a win against Parkfield (139) in the final match of the round to consolidate its position in fourth.
Springvale continues to set the pace in the Turf 3 competition, banking another win, this time in a hard-fought contest against Keysborough.
The home side were well served by gun opener Nuwan Mendis (69) who almost solely guided his team to a competitive 140, with a strong team bowling effort – led well by Yohan Arumadura (2/14) – keeping the total within touching distance.
Despite plenty of fight from the Knights, the home side rallied to roll them for 128 in a thrilling finish.
Fountain Gate, meanwhile, were dominant against Berwick Springs at Max Pawsey Reserve.
The Gators batted strongly to post 7/163 from 40 overs, with Karandeep Singh (46) and skipper Caleb Millman (41) doing some fine work through the middle order.
An incredibly disciplined bowling display, led by stunning figures from Singh (4/9) restricted the Titans to 9/93.
Seamer Dale Jose (1/2) was also incredible, conceding just two runs from eight overs, which included six maidens.
In the remaining matches across the round, Coomoora (3/109) was impressive in its win against Doveton (105), while Lynbrook (4/110) was simply too good for Silverton (105) at Fotheringham Reserve.