Luke buckles in for a big one

Kooweerup skipper Luke McMaster raises his bat after bringing up his century against Merinda Park on Saturday. McMaster would then go on to make a further 90 runs off 25 balls. 391020 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel

A calm and composed innings manifested itself into an explosion of the senses for Kooweerup (5/384) captain Luke McMaster (190) on Saturday as the Demons celebrated a crushing victory over Merinda Park (234).

The recently-turned 25-year-old took a back seat early as the most improved player in the CCCA Premier Division – Steven Dillon (91) – threatened to make ‘Reunion Day’ at Denhams Road his own.

Resuming on 10 not out, Dillon crunched five boundaries and four sixes on day two; dominating a 61-run opening stand with Lachie Ramage (7) and doing the same with McMaster at the crease.

Dillon was in breathtaking touch, and looked set for a brilliant century, before walking across his stumps and having his middle peg removed by Bevin Corneille (1/55).

Chris Bright (72) entered the fray with just 19 overs having been bowled on day two.

Dillon has now made consecutive scores of 47, 30, 30, 75 and 91 in his last five knocks, but will be rueing a missed opportunity to make his maiden Premier Division century – especially with so much time left on the clock.

In his previous four seasons at Kooweerup, he had made 635 runs at an average of 19.25 with a top score of 54.

This season he has now made 429 runs; averaging 39, and has beaten his previous best score on three occasions (82*, 75, 91).

He has gone from ‘bit-part’ player to a genuine Team of the Year contender.

McMaster; 16 from 28 balls at the point of Dillon’s dismissal, then moved from the back stalls to a shared front-seat ride with Bright as the captain and coach guided their team to a rock-solid eight-wicket win.

Both players made exactly 72 runs each in their 145-run union, with Bright adding nine fours and one six to a magnificently consistent season.

Since round five he has made 57, 103, 29, 58, 23, 78, 58 and 72, and now has 577 runs at an average of 48.09.

He sits third on the run-scoring list behind ‘the currently not-human’ Chris Smith (891) and McMaster (608).

McMaster was still cruising, on 88 off 125 balls, when Bright edged Tyson Bertrand (1/69) through to Adam Fisher behind the stumps at the end of the 53rd over.

The Demons would only bat for 10 more!

McMaster brought up his century with a push to backward point, with the second ball of the 57th over.

He scored his ton off 134 balls; before all hell broke loose!

There was no back-seat taken; or any shared ride; McMaster strapping himself into the pilot seat of a Lear Jet and using the Denhams Road pitch as a launching pad.

His last 90 runs would come from just 25 legal deliveries; adding an incredible eight sixes to the four he had previously struck.

His last 25 deliveries consisted of eight sixes and fours, two twos, six singles and one boring dot ball.

It was an incredible display of batting that came to an end, edging to Fisher, trying to hit Rajan Rana (2/51) over the mid-wicket fence for a 13th maximum.

McMaster started this season with 1497 runs for the Demons, with Saturday’s epic innings bursting him through the 2000-run barrier (2105) with plenty more on the way.

The second-placed Demons play Clyde this week, while Merinda Park hosts Cardinia.

Clyde (315) can start preparing for Premier Division cricket next season after the Cougars defended their huge total against Carlisle Park (204).

Nick Shannon (3/56) and Ankush Rana (2/50) combined to make early inroads for the Cougars, with the Vikings slipping to 6/96 after skipper Ben Perry (29) was caught by his counterpart Zac Davis off the bowling of Rana.

The Vikings needed to win to avoid relegation; but were in dire straits!

Senal De Silva (79) and Habara Perera (41) prolonged the agony for the hosts; who fell 111 runs short despite a 96-run stand between the lower-order pair.

The Vikings round out their Premier Division journey with a trip to Devon Meadows this week.

Tooradin (8/320) has put forward a perfect batting prelude heading into finals after the top-of-the-table Seagulls batted their 80 overs out against Devon Meadows (184).

Cal O’Hare (1) was an early victim for Jamie Cape (2/45), before Josh Lownds (79), Peter Sweeney (29), Russell Lehman (71) and Mick Sweeney (39) guided their team to victory.

Lownds has been in great form of late; with back-to-back scores of 69, 116 and now 79, while the return to form of Lehman would have been most sought after by skipper Mick Sweeney as we head to the serious business of winning premierships.

We all know Russ is a champion, but he hasn’t made more than 22 since making an unbeaten 54 in round three.

With the job complete, Tom Hussey (33) and Tyler Evans (24 not out) put the match-conditions to good use to spend some quality time in the middle.

Lucas Carroll (3/77) continued his stellar season for the Panthers, taking his wicket-tally to 21, while recently-turned 18-year-old Tom Rowe (2/54) made it five wickets in three games since making his 1st XI debut.

Tooradin heads to Pakenham this week for a block-buster round 14 clash; needing to win to retain pole position heading into finals.

And, as has been well-documented elsewhere, Pakenham (4/338) eased past the 167 set by Cardinia at Gunton Oval thanks to a magnificent double century from Chris Smith (214 not out).

Smith shared a 129-run stand with skipper Dale Tormey (64), before dominating partnerships with Rob Elston (18), Dom Paynter (19) and emerging 16-year-old Sendhil Naidu (15 not out).

It was a battle for the Bulls, with nine bowlers used and none taking more than one wicket.