MOUNT Evelyn’s recent good form couldn’t withstand the pressure of Seville’s bowlers in their YVCA DJ Strachan Shield match on Saturday.
At Mt Evelyn Reserve, the in-form Rovers hosted Seville in a game where the home side was primed to take another top four scalp in its quest to pinch a finals position.
The home side won the toss and had no hesitation in batting, and at 0-46 inside the first 10 overs, the Rovers looked on track to post a challenging score.
However, as has so often been the case against the Blues, their relentless pressure broke down the Rovers’ batting line-up as the loss of openers Chris Anderson (22) and Steven Kogelman (21) saw the home side lose wickets consistently to be all out at tea for 103.
After copping some stick early, Matt Tilney bounced back to capture figures of 4-45, while the rest of the Seville bowlers all contributed.
The Blues would’ve seen this as an opportunity not only to wipe out another ‘would be’ contender but to work on some batting deficiencies that have plagued the side this season. At 0-59, Seville looked as if it was cruising towards a comfortable overnight lead with wickets in hand. But, like the Rovers, once the openers (Andy Kay, 31, and Leigh Atkins, 37) were removed, the others tightened up in their chase of the mediocre target.
Some lusty hitting from Tim Dwyer ensured the visitors did indeed reach their target, but not without some nervous moments.
Mt Evelyn leaders Kane Jones (3-28) and Shane Luck (3-31) gave the Rovers a glimmer of hope, but with four wickets in hand, Seville’s tail will be seeking some safety early on day two.
Coldstream hosted Warburton-Millgrove in a massive contest for both sides.
Two rounds ago, both teams would’ve been content with where things sat as both were sitting comfortably in the top four.
Consecutive losses have them now in a desperate struggle to clinch a finals berth.
Coldstream batted first, and captain Danny Adams (21) made a fair fist of the early going as he looked to set a platform from which the rest of the Crocs line-up could attack.
Mick Walker has been a staple at the top of the YVCA food chain for many seasons, and his return to the Burras line-up has made them a formidable opponent with both bat and ball.
Walker’s discipline, skill and untiring fitness saw him capture 5-37 to allow the visitors to keep the Crocs in check.
Contributions from the evergreen Matthew Jonson (37 not out) and the steady Stephen Phillips (36) allowed the Crocs to reach a defendable 145.
Healesville has had an up and down run in recent rounds but still sits in second position with a favourable run into the finals.
The Bloods hosted an improving Woori Yallock and looked to fine tune their run to the finals as they batted first in perfect conditions.
Irishman Johnny Heywood made 44 and had the home side well placed for an assault on a big first innings score.
Unfortunately for the home side, the spin of Ben Hayes bamboozled the remainder of the line-up, minus the experienced pair of Stephen James and Geoff Stock, as his figures of 5-22 decimated the Bloods, dismissing them for 122.
However, the consistent Healesville attack flexed their collective muscle to make a mockery of the contest to reduce the visitors to a dismal 6-24 at the close of play.
The consistent Chance Burridge (2-3) and Brad Chandler (2-6) led the charge as the Bloods will look to quickly nip out the remaining batsmen, with only Andrew Sharp and Simon Young standing in their way, and walk away with an unconvincing victory.
In the final game of the round, Yarra Junction batted first against Hoddles Creek and was 124 all out with Hoddles Creek 1-73 at stumps.
DJ Strachan Shield
Healesville 122 (J Heywood 44 B Hays 5-22) v Woori Yallock 6-24 (P Broussard 14 C Burridge 2-3 B Chandler 2-6), Mt Evelyn 103 (C Anderson 22, S Kogelman 21, M Tilney 4-45, G Frankovic 2-9, I Amarasinghe 2-37) v Seville 6-107 (L Atkins 37, A Kay 31, K Jones 3-28, S Luck 3-31), Coldstream 145 (M Jonson 37no S Phillips 36 D Adams 21 M Walker 5-37 T Ahon 2-24 T Murphy 1-7) v Warburton-Milgrove, Yarra Junction 124 (Q Hodgkinson 40, T Nightingale 37, B Derix 6-33) vs Hoddles Creek 1-73 (S Garside 40no)