Tussle at the top of the MVCA

February 24, 2017

With one round to play of premier cricket this season, the top four teams have been finalised.

But the competition at the top has been so tight that any of the four teams could potentially finish first if the results go their way.

The final round of the year holds some juicy match-ups that provide a great preview of how the upcoming finals series may look.

Barooga v Cobram

Barooga has taken another step towards the minor premiership for season 2016-17 after its four-wicket win against Cobram on Saturday.

The Hawks began the day 3/19 needing another 131 runs for victory.

The Tigers would have felt they were a big chance of victory early when Andrew Hogan claimed the big wicket of Andrew Reynoldson for just 10.

But Shane Healey and Barooga skipper Kale Watkins steadied the ship, taking the score to 4/69 before Healey was trapped in front by Taylor Pugh for 37.

That brought South African Ryiaad Henry to the wicket and he, along with Watkins, built a partnership that had the Hawks on the brink of victory.

With the score on 142 and the Hawks needing just eight runs to win, Watkins was dismissed by Nic Hoban for 45.

Shortly after that, the Hawks brought up the winning runs and secured first innings points.

Henry would be out not long after for a crucial 54. The Hawks continued on with their innings before being dismissed for 214.

The wickets were shared around by the Cobram bowlers with Shaun Downie, Hogan, Hoban and Pugh all claiming two wickets.

With 10 overs left to play, Cobram batted again and finished up with 2/42.

The win means Barooga leap-frogs Cobram into top spot on the ladder with the final round approaching.

Nathalia v Deniliquin

A brilliant, lone-hand winnings from Liam Evans saw Nathalia scrape through with the points against Deniliquin on Saturday.

The Rhinos set Nathalia 172 to chase last week and made early progress, reducing the Purples to 2/17 including the big wicket of Luke Carter.

But the constant throughout the innings was Evans, who was the last man to fall after the target had been passed for 88.

The next highest scorer for Nathalia was Luke Quinn with 17.

The loss seals Deni’s fate as it will miss the finals for the second year in a row.

Andrew Hogan gave his all with the ball, claiming four wickets, while Liam Pitts and Brodie Bennett each grabbed two.

With nine overs to bat in the day, Deni finished up with 2/29.

Waaia v Finley

It took just 8.2 overs on Saturday for Waaia to claim the six wickets required for outright victory, with Aaron Shelton and Connor Brown tearing through the Cats’ lower order.

The Cats began the day needing only 17 runs to make Waaia bat again with six wickets in hand.

But Shelton and Brown had other ideas, conceding just 10 runs and handing them an innings and 7-run outright win.

Brown finished the second innings with figures of 5/12 while Shelton grabbed 5/15.

The maximum points from the outright saw Waaia wrap up its return to finals this season.

Katunga v Katamatite

A misunderstanding between the clubs and the league saw the match between these two teams abandoned with neither side receiving any points.

●Cobram-Yarroweyah United had the bye.

Next week

The crucial top spot on the ladder is up for grabs this week, as just 10 points separate first from fourth.

Waaia, who is in fourth spot, has the easiest match out of the top four as it hosts Katunga, a team who has lost outright this year.

Elsewhere, Cobram hosts Nathalia in what will be the match of the round, Barooga heads to Deni as the Hawks try to nail down top spot while Finley will be looking for its first win of the season when it takes on CYU.

Katamatite will have the bye to finish its season.

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