NORTH Ringwood's batsmen haven't always had the reputation for being strong under pressure.
But in their clash with reigning premiers Warranwood in the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield on Saturday, the Bulls recovered from 6-60 to pass the Sharks' modest score of 112.
After Daniel Humphrey (31) anchored much of the innings, wicketkeeper Evan Jones and playing coach Jeton Rexhepi (40) came together for a seventh-wicket stand which took the Bulls past 100 and within reach of victory. Their partnership ended and the Bulls finished play on 123.
Rexhepi said his side hung tough when the pressure was on. "Warranwood bowls very tight lines," he said. "They had a lot of depth in their bowling but overall our headstrong play got us over the line.
"We have tried to get the batsmen to back themselves and play shots, never try to get ourselves bogged down. But it seemed to work the opposite way throughout this game. Evan Jones' positiveness did get us over the line."
Rexhepi said his side wanted to improve its performance in pressure matches. "It's interesting — one of the things the guys did say after the game was that in a lot of the tight close games we used to struggle to gain a positive attitude towards the end and kill sides off," he said. "But we got the win this time."
The Bulls play Ainslie Park next and Rexhepi is expecting another close match. "It's always interesting to face sides who have just come up," he said. "They come up all gung-ho and not fearful of anything."
South Croydon's 9-244 declared was just enough to hold off Wantirna South. After his side lost l 3-46 early, Cameron Smith (73) held the Devils' innings together, but with his dismissal wickets fell at regular intervals and they were all out for 219. Glynn James (3-51) and Travis Degenhardt (3-66) did the damage for the Bulldogs.
Croydon North's Chris Noy (93 not out) and Ryan Hayres (47) put on 99 for the fourth wicket to have the Knights ahead of the run rate chasing Mooroolbark's 5-270. With the fall of Hayres' wicket at 150, Matt Whittaker (5-37) made it hard for the remaining batsmen who could not stay with Noy and they were dismissed for 237.
Bayswater Park, chasing South Warrandyte's 7-243, looked to be in control at 3-162 with Marcus Adams (37), Ben Beech (49) and Andrew McKenzie (52) all contributing. Ben Neagle (4-33) then took control to see the Sharks lose 7-65 to be dismissed for 227. Ainslie Park's Trent Sier (53) and Andrew Stone (47) put on 105 for the first wicket, chasing Norwood's 217.
Ben Sansom (4-53) and Chris Irvine (3-37) then reined in the Parkers' batsmen to reduce them to 9-209. It was left to Scott Minetti (33no), with the help of two drop catches in the last over, to see Ainslie Park over the line to finish on 9-222.
—Roy Ward and Tony Smith