By Marcus Uhe
Five wickets to Devon Gabriel-Brown saw Officer emphatically defend its total of 281 against Upper Beaconsfield in the Casey Cardinia Cricket Association’s District competition.
The win reaffirmed the Bullants’ status as the team to beat for this year’s premiership.
The right-arm quick decimated the Maroons’ middle order to help the Bullants roll the home side for just 82 to complete a percentage-boosting 199-run victory at Upper Beaconsfield.
Finishing with 5/10 from his eight overs, Gabriel-Brown bagged the key wickets of Imesh Jayasekara, Kyle Gibbs, Nicholas Pastras, William Haines and Taylor Joyce, consecutively, who combined for just seven runs; three failing to score entirely in what was a dirty day for the home side.
Scott Pitcher’s 21 late in the order restored a sliver of credibility and saved the contest from being a complete disaster; the experienced club-legend adding 23 for the final wicket after the Maroons fell to 9/59.
A century to Oshadha Ariyadasa ensured Lang Lang secured the points against Pakenham Upper Toomuc, surpassing their total of 137 four wickets down and climbing off the foot of the table in the process.
In his first hundred for the club, Ariyadasa scored an even 100 to steer the Tigers home, sharing in a 122-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Nathan McLean.
Ariyadasa was the last man dismissed before the Tigers declared at 5/187, on the prowl for extra points late in the day.
Raja Sadiq was the pick of the visitors’ bowlers, taking 3/45.
Despite the best efforts of the Yabbies to shut up shop for the week, scoring at less than two runs per over, they still lost four wickets in 29 overs to finish at 4/54.
Nicholas Kyval finished unbeaten on 15 off 70 while Mitch Mibus was the final wicket to fall on five off 35, personifying the defiance shown late in the order.
Meanwhile, Cranbourne Meadows has risen to second place, having edged out Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll by one wicket.
Michael Mandora was the hero for the Rebels with an unbeaten 92 to guide the chase, after early wickets saw them fall to 3/30 in pursuit of 228.
He added 80 runs for the fourth wicket with Karanbir Tiwana to restore stability to the innings and remained resolute as wickets fell around him, hitting all 10 runs in the final wicket partnership with Thomas Smith to get the Rebels over the line.
Carter Davis, Brandon Interlandi, Wil Taylor and James Markland each took two wickets for the home side.
With two rounds to play, the top three appear tough to penetrate, while fourth is still up for grabs for the remaining four sides, only separated by six points.
The winner of next week’s Pakenham Upper Toomuc vs Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll clash will secure fourth ahead of the final round, with Emerald and Lang Lang slated tough fixtures in round 13 against Cranbourne Meadows and Officer, respectively.