Round Eight 2014

ROUND EIGHT:   Saturday 21 June
***   Scroll down for images from around the league today   ***

Although we lost an A Grade game through rain and ground conditions, it was not an altogether grey day to mark the winter solstice – quite pleasant in fact - as the playing situation remains fluid at all levels of senior competition.

Shooting for its fourth successive A Grade pennant, Guild remains undefeated after its not entirely convincing win over Deakin, which is one of several clubs that remain in finals contention – along with Saints, who may have fancied their chances against winless Corio but were thwarted in any case by the game being abandoned before reaching legal status.

Ballarat Brewers are looking strong in second after blanking Werribee, whose youngsters are eminently capable of troubling any side on their day should they take the field with a degree of justifiable self-belief given their skills and clear athleticism.

Grinding down Lara with a two-spot in the eighth, Bellarine is well-ensconced in third placing and could pose a real threat come finals time.

Serious interest lies in the middle of the table, where Lara and Bacchus Marsh are locked on winning percentage, with the Wildcats leading on head-to-head advantage. These two clubs will meet at Masons Lane next Saturday for what should be a cracker between one proud club that appears on the wane – for the time being at least – and another that has engineered something of a resurgence after looking in trouble just a couple of years ago.


Struggling with player availability in recent weeks, the Brewers did enough against a Werribee outfit that struck the ball cleanly on occasions but appeared too often to chase pitches out of the zone and which suffered from some baserunning blunders when scoring opportunities were presented.

Spinning seven innings of work for the Brew Crew, Rory Meddick showed that he was back to something near his best with a quite dominant outing that gleaned thirteen strikeouts, while Werribee starter Simon Riches toiled manfully in restricting the visitors before handing the pill to Connor Wilson towards the end.

It was an auspicious day for the Brewers, with old stager Neil Phillips answering the call to play his three-hundredth game at this level – albeit at first base and not in his customary role behind the dish.

While heard to remark that “I’m getting too old for this shit”, Phillips nevertheless hit the ball on the nose, copped some unintentional treatment on field and was among his team’s serious contributors along with another greybeard in Greg Ashmore who – at 51, a year younger than Fingers – posted his first safe hit at A Grade level.

Meddick complemented an outstanding game with three of his side's eight hits, while Clinton Baker (two) was a standout for the Werribee offence.

The Giants will kick back and enjoy the bye next week, while Ballarat – holding second – will be looking to the return of other key players for its away game against Deakin.

BALLARAT 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0  (4)  2 errors
WERRIBEE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  (0)  2 errors
Ballarat: R.Meddick 3, R.Hipke, E.Etheridge, N.Phillips, S.Kugele, G.Ashmore
Werribee: C.Baker 2, S.Riches, E.McPherson, B.Bavdek, D.Hartigan
Ballarat: N.Phillips, S.Kugele
Werribee: nil
Ballarat: R.Meddick 7 inn, 5 H, 13 Ks, 2 BB, 0 ER
  R.Hipke 1 inn, 1 H, 0 K, 1 BB, 0 ER
Werribee: S.Riches 5 inn, 4 H, 2 Ks, 6 BB, 0 ER
  Connor Wilson 3 inn, 4 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 ER
CORIO vs SAINTS (abandoned: rain and ground conditions)
BELLARINE 3 defeated LARA 2

Again struggling to produce the offence that it would have liked, Lara dropped its fourth game of the season and retains fourth placing on head-to-head advantage only, while the Bears – who are having a terrific season – strengthened their grip on third placing.

While both sides scored in the third, it was very much a pitcher-dominated contest, with Joel Ricketts going the distance for Lara and Simon Murry tossing a complete game for the visitors.

Scattering six hits – three of those to Wayne Visser – Ricketts was on target for the win until Chris Barker delivered a decisive blow in the top of the eighth as the Bears reined in the one-rein deficit and edged ahead.

With both pitchers racking up their share of strike outs in a quality defensive game, the Wildcats would be ruing their inability to cash in on the opportunities created by the likes of Cameron Forbes and Chris Mason (both with two hits).  

While an in-form Bellarine is well-placed to challenge for its first finals berth in some years, Lara faces another tough one next Saturday when it treks to Masons Lane for what is bound to be a fiercely contested affair that is vital to the prospects of both clubs.

BELLARINE 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2  (3)  0 errors
LARA 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0  (2)  0 errors
Bellarine: W.Visser 3, B.McKentish, C.Barker, Z.Buhrmann
Lara: C.Forbes 2, C.Mason 2, S.Forbes, B.Hammer, J.Ricketts, L.Arandt
Bellarine: C.Barker 2, W.Visser
Lara: S.Baumann, B.Hammer
Bellarine: S.Murry 8 inn, 8 H, 7 Ks, 3 BB, 2 ER
Lara: J.Ricketts 8 inn, 6 H, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 3 ER
GUILD 6 defeated DEAKIN 3

While not producing the consistently sound defence for which the club has been renowned in recent times, Guild did enough to get past a competitive Deakin outfit that held a slender lead after the third but was unable to withstand a Lions challenge through the middle innings.

Leaving the yard with a monster shot in the first, Troy Snarey was again among the prime movers for Guild, who had other contributors in Andy Radevski (two hits and an RBI), Lee Harty (two and one), Jordan Lekkas (two hits) and Harry Levy – whose two-out, two run scoring single in the fifth was pivotal as the Lions snatched a break.

Conceding six earned runs over six, Deakin starter Chris Webb wore the loss – but still contributed three of his side’s nine hits – before Kelii Zablan closed out the game with another couple of quality innings for the Blues.

Both sides stranded several runners on base, though Brad Egan (six innings) and Lee Harty were quite effective in conceding just a solitary earned run even though not receiving the defensive support to which they are accustomed.

Slipping off the pace somewhat, Deakin will play host to the Brewers next Saturday, while Guild is at home to East Belmont in what shapes as a must-win for Saints if the haloes are to be a chance of finals action.

GUILD 1 0 0 2 3 0 0 0  (6)  5 errors
DEAKIN 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0  (3)  0 errors
Guild: T.Snarey 2 (inc home run), A.Radevski 2, J.Lekkas 2, L.Harty 2, J.Wood, H.Levy, J.Smyth
Deakin: C.Webb 3, G.Morris 2, W.Balzer, K.Zablan, C.Gibbons, R.Hickey
Guild: H.Levy 2, T.Snarey, J.Wood, A.Radevski, L.Harty
Deakin: K.Zablan
Guild: B.Egan 6 inn, 7 H, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER
  L.Harty 2 inn, 2 H, 0 Ks, 3 BB, 0 ER
Deakin: C.Webb 6 inn, 8 H, 4 Ks, 3 BB, 6 ER
  K.Zablan 2 inn, 3 H, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
BACCHUS MARSH had the A Grade bye this week