By Ian Harley
FERNTREE Gully has taken the outright lead in premiership points thanks to fine performances from Matt Black and David Anstey in round eight of the FTGDCA.
The Blues set Rowville a target of 201 on the back of Black’s 98, with support from Simon Spaulding.
The Hawks set about the chase with gusto, at one stage being 2/100. Tate Burgmann (44) and Craig Mitchell (43) both made starts but wickets fell as the pressure built.
In-swing bowler Anstey bagged five wickets as Ferntree Gully stepped clear of the pack and as competition for fourth spot opened up.
Mountain Gate hosted Johnson Park at H. V. Jones Reserve and snagged the six points for its second successive win. Batting first, the Gators made 5/225 from 41 overs, with Andrew Sherry (59), Rob Barry (52) and Fernando (40) their best performers.
The Sharks, missing Gaunt, Dunlop and Samaraweera, were looking for players to step up, with Liarne DeSilva (39) top scoring. Johnson Park was well in the game until late but with Anthony Bailey taking five wickets, the Sharks fell short.
The Basin celebrated its second win of the season by downing Lysterfield.
The Beavers batted first, with Kyle Snyman and Chris Hill setting up the innings, while Danny Rundle took four wickets. The successful chase was built around an unbeaten 59 by Wayne Koster. Upper Ferntree Gully lost early wickets as it set about building a target for Eildon Park to chase but Jay Colee (62 not out) and Phil Salter (30) ensured the Kings had a decent total to defend.
The chase did not start well, the Panthers losing 3/12. Shane Cosstick (31) and Steve Pimm (33) tried to get the innings back on track but the Kings took the points, with Dave Goodger grabbing four wickets and surprise packet Adam Reeves, three. The win put the Kings out of the four by percentage.
At Talaskia Reserve, St Johns Tecoma won its first game of the season, defending 185 against Belgrave. Matt Johnson (52) and Dean Palandri (33) set the base for a strong total, although good bowling reduced the potential target.
Belgrave lost steady wickets as the Saints’ tight bowling and fielding increased the pressure to score. Marc Hardy celebrated his return with 3/8 while Adrian Piccioli also took three wickets.
Upwey move into the top three with a win over Monbulk in a low-scoring game at Monbulk Reserve. Steve Gannell did the job for the Tigers, taking four wickets as the Hawks fell for 132. Upwey passed the target with seven wickets down.
In Decoite Shield, the top four teams all had wins to strengthen their grip on finals action.
Knox Gardens chased down Eildon Park’s score in a close game, Footballers easily accounted for Johnson Park, South Belgrave had a good win over Auravale, and Knoxfield continued its on winning way. Upwey and The Basin also took the points.
By Ian Harley