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Round 8: BTCC 8/212 def by Heatherdale 9/217 at Heatherdale Reserve.
J Berry 85*, A Mohandas 65, M Hale 3/41, N Sopariwala 3/48, T Arnold 2/40
A must-win game against the 2nd placed Heatherdale CC to have a chance of playing finals was ahead of us. After winning the toss and electing to bat we quickly found ourselves at 3-13 after 7 overs and in a bit of trouble. In need of a partnership, the ever-reliable Jack Berry joined forces with skipper Ashwyn Mohandas in a fourth- wicket stand of 93 that righted the ship back on track. Ashwyn departed 8 overs after tea for a well made (65) with the score at 4-106. Heatherdale tightened the screws and we lost a few quick wicket but a nice partnership between Mitch Cassidy and Jack for 32 along with Matt Hale who chipped in with a run a ball 29 late in the day to see us make 200 runs for the first time this season. After batting the allotted 80 overs we finished the day on a well made 8-213 with the Jack Berry the standout finishing on an outstanding 85 not out.
The following week on an extremely hot Melbourne day our opening bowlers Chance (1-31 off 15) and Tim started very well in their bowling partnership where they bowled tight to have Heatherdale 0-15 off 16 overs. Unfortunately, after plenty of balls passing the edges and a few dropped catches we were unable to find the breakthrough. It was up until the 31st over Matt Hale struck for the first wicket with Heatherdale 84-1. It was then Heatherdale who took control of the game with the score 3-165 and victory seemed to be slipping away but in true Bullant style we persisted and never lost hope with some wickets to Matt Hale (8-3-41) and Nish Sopariwala (17-3-48) saw Heatherdale collapse to 8-190 needing a further 24 runs off the last 30 balls. We were not able to find a breakthrough for the 9th wicket until the score was 9-210 in the 78th over. It was upto the veteran Tim Arnold to bowl the last over with Heatherdale requiring 4 of 6 balls. A calm experienced Tim (21-1-40) executed brilliantly taking the game into the last ball with Heatherdale needing 2 off 1. Unfortunately, their number 11 found the middle of the bat and cleared the rope for a dramatic finish. It was an incredible effort by the boys to never give up and fight until the end, couldn’t have been more proud. With 2 games remaining and relegation loom as a potential threat we aim to bring our good form against Vermont this week and give ourselves every chance to continue if the top division with the 6 points.
Round 8: BTCC 7/179 def Heatherdale 174 at Heatherdale Reserve
J Paolucci 57*, D Pius 35, G Matthews 31*, J Haikal 3/31, H McClean 2/16
We headed into Round 9 with our usual captain Dave missing his first game in around a decade due to the recent birth of his baby boy. Dom took the reins and proceeded to lose the toss. Heatherdale started off strongly and were around 1/80 before a handy direct hit run out from Dom at mid off started a mini-collapse. With Guy bowling his usual tight lines and anchoring one end, we were able to take consistent wickets, including the crucial wicket of their captain caught by youngster Hamish McClean at mid-wicket off the bowling of Jeremy Haikal. Unfortunately we dropped two relatively straight forward catches in consecutive balls the over before tea. The dropped catches would prove a little costly, with the dropped batsman going on to make around 58 after tea. Hamish was then brought on later in the day who ended up dismissing their attacking batsman (who usually plays in the 1XI) and we eventually bowled Heatherdale out for 174. A special mention to Guy who bowled another super spell of 29 consecutive overs (including 14 maidens), conceding only 33 runs.
We lost Jeremy early to a ball that nipped back off the seam, but then Foxy and Dom put on a steady partnership of around 50 to put us in good shape. We then lost Foxy, Dom and Nick G in quick succession to have us in a bit of strife at around 4/70. JP and Joel Matho put on a handy 30 run partnership to swing the momentum our way, before we lost Matho and Richie either side of the tea break. At 7/120 chasing 175 for the win, we were in a precarious position, until Graham Matthews (back from retirement!) wound back the clock and put on a bit of a batting masterclass for us all to see. JP batted aggressively (and sensibly for the most part) to put on a match-winning partnership with Graham and guide us home to a 3 wicket win. JP ended up on 57* and Graham with 31*. Another really pleasing win for the 2XI, who have probably played above expectations given the players that have been missing this season.
Round 11: BTCC 1/194 def Glen Waverley Hawks 9/187 at Capital Reserve
M Agrotis 100rtno, D Sticca 51*, J Rawlings 33*, Jo Sticca 4/46, J Rawlings 2/18, A Yamdagni 2/23
After 2 games where our momentum stalled, our true work ethic and attention to detail came to the fore with a complete performance, in a comprehensive win, leaving us right in the mix for our finals aspirations. Bowling first, our openers proved miserly with 2 quick breakthroughs, restricting the run rate. We proceeded to take wickets regularly, having them 6/89, our fielding proving to be first rate. Despite some lusty hitting by their #8, we kept them to 9/187, on a quick ground. All bowlers were on the mark, the pick being Josh and Aker, who bowled 8 maidens in his spell of 14, bowling in great partnership.
Our chase was first rate on a 40-degree day, with the imperious Matt Agrotis knocking up a well-paced 100, ably supported by Dave Sticca, making 51no, and a quick cameo from Jade Rawlings on 33no. As a measure of our dominance, we chased down the runs with 17 overs spare. A great performance, with the entire team doing their part!
Round 11: BTCC 3/134 def by Nunawading 6/130 at Timber Ridge.
L Pataki 50 rtno, S McKenzie 45*, M Leggio 3/37
Finally the 4th XI were fixtured a home game at Timber Ridge. Our last outing at the Ridge was back in November, so we have been on the road for a while. We welcomed back father and son team Stuart and Cody McKenzie from their USA road trip. We also had a debutant, Philip Pavlidis, the younger brother of Paul for his first game for the club. We lost the toss and Nunawading decided to bat in hot, dry conditions.
We got off to the perfect start with Matt Leggio bowling their opener for a golden duck with his first ball, Nunawading 1/1. Then the debutant Phil Pavlidis joined the party and destroyed the other openers stumps to have them 2/17 after 10 overs. Wickets to Paul Pavlidis and Tom Shepherd had them 4/59 after 22 overs. Then their Howard Shield player who could bat no higher than 6 strode to the crease. He threatened to take the game away from us with some clean, powerful hitting. 2 sixes and 4 fours at Timber Ridge is no mean feat in any grade.
Dave McClean and Matt Leggio then came back on to bowl at the death. Leggio took another 2 wickets, one of them the danger man who was brilliantly stumped by Ben Wolnizer. Our target was 131 to win from our 32 overs.
After losing Ben Wolnizer and Mark Allsop early, we were then witness to a batting masterclass by the captain, Les Pataki (50 rtno) and Stuart McKenzie (45 no). Their 86 run partenship provided the backbone of our run chase which we completed with an over to spare. A solid victory by the guys and now we focus our attention on the undefeated ladder leaders Burwood District.
Round 7: Heated off.