By LIAM DURKIN
MAIDEN first grade centuries from Churchill’s Matt Harvey and Latrobe’s Anu Meenakshi highlighted Round 3 of the Latrobe Valley and District Cricket League.
The pair each helped their team to victory, in what was a round that defied what is normally associated with cloudy and misty weather, as
three of the five matches saw teams score over 200 runs.
CHURCHILL was asked to have a bat by Morwell Tigers Yinnar Raiders.
Raiders captain Liam Maynard appeared to have assessed the home conditions correctly after the Cobras slumped to 3/8, before Matt Harvey was able to rescue the innings.
Harvey combined with the criminally underrated Steve Warr in putting on 58 for the fourth wicket, and then with John Keighran, with a partnership of 126 ensuing.
It was a rare change of roles for Keighran, who played second-fiddle to Harvey, who got the Churchill total closer to 200 and closer to his triple figure milestone.
When Keighran was dismissed for 61 the score was 5/192 and Harvey was within touching distance of his century.
Sensing the occasion, Matt’s twin brother Ryan was sent out to join him at the crease, and before too long, Matt brought up his ton with Ryan at the other end.
The achievement cemented another chapter of Harvey history at Churchill Cricket Club, as Ryan has been a mainstay of the first grade team for many seasons and is also the current club president, to go with father Graham ‘Grub’ Harvey whom the clubrooms are named after.
The senior Harvey will no doubt be taking credit for Matt’s century, having coached his son in junior cricket.
For the man who made the century, while all tons are an achievement, this one will surely fill him with a lot of personal pride as it was made against an attack featuring the league’s quickest bowler in Madura Perera and the crafty leg spin of
In the wash-up, Churchill ended at compulsory close at 5/211.
Raiders’ beanpole quick Harry McColl finished with figures of 3/48, while Perera took 2/26 with the new rock.
When Raiders went into bat, their innings proved to be a case of a few players getting starts without pressing on, and they closed at 9/141.
Maynard top scored on 39, but the Raiders innings was probably best summed up by the fact the next highest score after the captain was from number 11 Jeevan Varghese who made 20.
Warr was typically methodical in his bowling, taking 4/22 from 10 overs, while Ryan Harvey made sure his brother didn’t have all the glory, taking 3/22.
FOR the second week in a row, Mirboo North elected to bowl first upon winning the toss.
The Tigers decision appeared fairly innocuous early, as Latrobe only had 17 on the board in the first 10 overs on the Tigers’ home ground.
However, from there, the Sharks put the foot down.
Anu Meenakshi clubbed a six and a four in the 12th over, and at the first drinks break Latrobe was in a strong position at 1/62.
The left handed stance of Meenakshi and big hitting of Ronnie Chokununga allowed the Sharks to keep those on the scorebook busy, as Mirboo North was forced to constantly change the field.
Chokununga fell for 42 off 52 balls, with 26 of those runs coming in boundaries.
Meenakshi continued batting and eventually reached three figures in the 46th over.
The innings was indeed a watershed moment for the youngster, who just two seasons ago went through a horror run of form and found himself axed from the first grade team after making four ducks before Christmas.
To his credit, he has clearly worked hard and showcased determination to prove himself at A Grade level, and now with a first grade century to his name can say wth a degree of conviction ‘I belong’.
Latrobe closed at 7/225, and survived a few
nervous moments defending, as Mirboo North got to 211 before being bowled out.
Hudson Kerr scored 51, while contributions to Callum Polo (34), a counter-attacking 26 off 29 balls from Luke Corry and 25 from Sean Viotto helped the cause, however, the Tigers were ultimately left to rue an opportunity gone begging in a 14 run defeat.
Tyron Gamage collected 3/35, and Benn Zomer, fresh off winning an indoor cricket final earlier in the week, took 2/34.
JEERALANG-BOOLARRA came crashing back down to Earth when they ventured to Jack Canavan Reserve to take on Traralgon West.
Having comprehensively defeated Latrobe to open the season last week, the Panthers looked a world away from that performance when they sank to 3/32 batting first against the Eagles.
Traralgon West nabbed former player Nila Thilekarathna cheaply for 16 and once he was dismissed with the score on 6/70, the rest of the Jeeralang-Boolarra order offered no resistance.
The last seven batsman combined a paltry seven runs between them, and the side was shot out for 76.
Wickets were shared in the Traralgon West camp, with Salman Rasool taking 2/5, Hayden Kimpton 2/8 and Adam Thow 2/16.
The Eagles took little time chasing the runs, and got them in 22 overs.
New captain Rob Wilkie led the way, scoring an unbeaten 34 opening the batting, as Traralgon West gave their percentage a nice boost courtesy of a nine wicket win.
MOE wicket-keeper Noah Kane once again made sure he won’t be getting a Christmas card off the Trafalgar Cricket Club.
For the third time in as many seasons, Kane proved to be the Ships’ nemesis with the bat, making 87 in the Lions huge score of 6/265 at Ted Summerton Reserve.
Like Pete Grima in the early 2010s, Kane has taken a liking to playing the Ships, with his last three knocks against Trafalgar seeing him score 42, 47 and now 87.
On a surface that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the Princes Highway, the Lions had no hesitation in batting first as soon as the coin toss fell their way.
Moe openers Riley Baldi and Kane put on 107 for the opening wicket, with Baldi taking on the new ball and making 51 from 56 balls.
Andrew Philip continued the onslaught, and combined with Kane to put on 83 for the second wicket before Kane fell.
Philip did as he pleased, making an unbeaten 83 from just 65 balls.
Chasing plenty, Trafalgar started shakily, and was 2/24 just after the power play.
Knowing conditions made batting incredibly easy, Moe played the percentages well, protecting the boundary and providing bowlers with fields that allowed them to pitch up and have the ball hit to players either deep or inside the ring.
The Lions were a model of discipline with the ball, never once dropping short, and once it became clear the Ships were too far behind the chase, the game became a glorified net session.
Rhys Holdsworth scored 49 and Aydan Connolly ended on 51 not out from 59 balls.
As the wind chill came in toward the close, Moe played the game right to the end. Joel Mitchell took a spectacular running catch on the mid-wicket fence to dismiss Col Parnall.
Mitchell made good ground, running some 15 metres and nonchalantly taking the ball in
mid-air, making the task appear a lot easier than it was.
With Trafalgar traditionally fostering a ‘have fun’ mentality when they play their cricket, there was at least one moment of humour that helped defuse the seriousness of the contest that was going on.
Trafalgar number eight batsman Daniel Heathcote strode to the crease sitting on a king pair and, keeping his sense of humour, raised the bat following a cry of “well batted” was heard from the sidelines after he survived his first ball.
The Ships ended their innings at 8/204, and when it is all said and done, was guilty of making the scoreboard look respectable instead of risking getting bowled out for 150 trying to win the game.
Aaron Johnstone took three wickets for Moe and Royce Colgrave two.
Lions opening bowler Robert Blunt was arguably the pick of the bowlers in the context of the game, and deserves a special mention for only going
for 14 in six overs in a match that saw 469 runs made.
MORWELL got home in a thriller against CATS.
CATS batted first at John Black Oval, and compiled 158 from their 50 overs.
Josh Keyhoe top scored with 62 and received support from Nathan Harrup who made 32.
Morwell workhorse Blake Mills took the two key wickets of CATS pair Tinashe Panyangara and Callum Stewart for 11 and one respectively on his way to figures of 4/26.
The wicket of Panyangara triggered a dramatic collapse, as CATS went from 3/131 to all out for 158.
Fellow seamer Dylan Day also chipped in with 2/20 from nine overs.
Morwell appeared to be cruising to victory at 3/117 in reply, before suffering a similar collapse to CATS.
Mills was caught and bowled by CATS captain Ben Julin for 53 and Day run out for 36 a short time later to see the Tigers in a precarious position at 5/121.
As they say, run-outs cause collapses, and that is precisely what happened, although Morwell’s came late in the game as number eight Lachlan Day, number nine Steve Bilic and number 10 Luke Buurman all returned to the sheds without scoring.
At 9/149, CATS could sense victory, but Morwell was not to be denied.
In what was something of a replay of the 2017/18 grand final, number 11 Brent Reside and Tigers captain Jordan Campbell came together for the last wicket.
Just like that grand final and that partnership, Reside did not score a run, but did his job and held his nerve for 10 agonising balls as Campbell ensured he kept most of the strike.
A single off the final ball of the 43rd over from Panyangara allowed Campbell to take five off the next to get it down to two to win with plenty of overs left.
Reside had to survive one ball to avoid facing the express of Stewart, which he was able to do. Campbell saw out the 45th bowled by Stewart, and Reside saw off five balls from Sam Hoch, before a wide got Morwell to within one run of making it a tie.
Campbell got the winning runs away from the first ball of the 47th, taking his score to 20 not out from 59 balls, and seeing Morwell get out of jail courtesy of a Ben Stokes-Jack Leach inspired partnership.
CENTRALS had the bye.
The Lions will get back on the park this weekend when it plays Trafalgar at the neutral venue of Yallourn North.
OTHER matches this weekend will see cross town rivals Latrobe and Morwell meet at Peter Siddle Oval, Mirboo North will host Raiders, Traralgon West will travel to Moe and Churchill will make the journey to CATS.
Jeeralang-Boolarra has the bye.
SCOREBOARDS – PAGE 45