Fascinating conclusion awaits

Drouin is engaged in a close contest with Neerim District. 221899 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Lance Jenkinson

WARRAGUL & DISTRICT CRICKET ASSOCIATION

REVIEW – ROUND 4 (DAY ONE)

Which side of the fence are you on?

That is a question for both Neerim District and Drouin entering the second and final day of their third-versus-fourth Warragul and District Cricket Association division 1 showdown at Neerim Recreation Reserve this Saturday.

The victorious team will pull away with the leading bunch with three rounds remaining in the season, while the losing side will be on the other side of the fence, back with the pack and having some ground to make up.

There will be pressure on both sides when play resumes, knowing the importance of the result.

Neerim District could hardly be sitting comfortably with just 140 to defend.

The Stags were strangled for most of their innings, scoring at a snail’s paced rate of 1.85 runs per over.

In pressure games like this though, runs of the board could be the Stags’ ammo.

The failure of Neerim District’s top order could come back to haunt them.

The Stags crumbled to 5/40 before their middle order and tail-end offered some resistance.

Dave Ferguson showed some mettle to make 24 off 72 balls, before Dane Fawcett carved out a priceless 44 not out off 88 balls.

Prior to Saturday, Fawcett had made just 32 runs across four his four digs, so it was a welcome form reversal with the bat.

Gritty performances from Troy Clarke (12 off 58), Riley Ferguson (11 off 72) and Ben Lockett (10 off 31) ensured the Stags would have a total that could possibly be defended.

Drouin’s bowlers walked away happy with their work.

In particular Brad Glover (4/38 off 20 overs) and Sam Van Der Zalm (3/52 off 24.5 overs), who toiled tirelessly for their team. Drouin (0/0) faced just the one over before stumps without mishap.

On a day largely dictated by bowlers across the division, Ellinbank went its own way, amassing 9/280 against Buln Buln at Ellinbank Recreation Reserve.

The Eagles had meaningful contributions throughout the order with nine of the 11 batsmen reaching double figures.

Curtis Howell was entertainer of the day with a quick-fire 55 not out off 49 balls late in the innings.

Top order batters Troy Ferguson (37), captain Ben Spicer (31) and Daniel Pandolfo (38) got the Eagles innings off to a solid start.

Buln Buln’s chief wicket-takers were Brad Monson (3/100) and Andrew Burdett (3/48) with three wickets apiece.

Yarragon was the only other side to eclipse 200, bowled out for 208 in 61.4 overs against Hallora at Hallora Recreation Reserve.

Half centuries to Dinith Kalamulla Waduge (58) and Ruwan Perera (53) were the backbone of the Panthers innings.

Perera smashed four sixes and needed just 41 balls to raise the bat in an enthralling watch for those in attendance.

Aidan Phillips was the pick of the Hallora bowlers, snaring 4/23 off 11 overs, including the wicket of Kalamulla Waduge.

The other standout was Natsai M’Shangwe, who took 3/70 off 20.4 overs, including that of the free-wheeling Perera.

Hallora marched confidently to stumps on 0/43 with Damon Healy (24no) and Fraser Duncan (15no) still having their wickets intact.

Western Park executed to perfection with the ball against Warragul at Eastern Park, but still have plenty of work to do with the bat to secure a victory.

The Parkers, led by Tyler McDonald (4/13), Sam Batson (3/21) and Jason Croft (2/16), skittled Warragul for just 100.

Cameron Ludowyke (42) and Daniel Whitten (30) were the only shining lights for Warragul.

The Parkers stumbled to stumps on 2/9.

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