|ROUND THIRTEEN: Saturday 26 July|
|*** Scroll down for images from Prince of Wales today ***|
While the weather was only marginally more kind to us at venues around the league, on-field action this week appeared to ramp up a notch or two as senior clubs continued to stake their claims for the post-season action that will be upon us in a few short weeks.
The situation in A GRADE remains fluid, with Guild (13-0) assured of top spot and Ballarat (9-4) looking odds-on for a finals berth, with the other two placings still up for grabs.
While Bellarine (8-4-1) smacked Werribee to move back to third and Lara (8-5-1) held on to fourth despite its loss to the Lions, neither club can yet rest easy as both Bacchus Marsh and Deakin are lurking in the middle of the standings ahead of Saints, Corio and Werribee – all of whom will be playing for pride over the next three weeks.
With games to come against Deakin, Guild and Ballarat, Bellarine faces a tough assignment. As does Lara, which will play Ballarat next week, have the bye, and then front up to Saints quite conceivably having to post a win in the final round.
Fifth-placed Bacchus (6-6-1) can do anything on its day, although it would need three wins – against Werribee, Deakin and Guild – while hoping that other results might fall its way.
Finishing the season strongly, Deakin (6-6-1) is perhaps the best of the outside chances – with games to come against Bellarine, Bacchus Marsh and Werribee. Its clash with the Bears next Saturday will be pivotal, although a win would need to be followed with two more – a clean sweep - for the Blues to have a realistic shot of dislodging either Bellarine or Lara.
Interesting times indeed.
With three games to play in A RESERVE, Guild Lions (13-0) and Mounties (12-1) have been the top two sides all season and will surely be odds-on to meet in the Grand Final. With Alfredton and Lara both copping losses this week, Saints (9-4) and Guild Cubs (8-5) are favoured to qualify for the playoffs pending serious form reversals or cosmic disaster.
Guild will finish atop the B GRADE table regardless of results in the next three weeks. While Werribee and Colac are looking good to make the playoffs, Saints and Mounties are in a contest for fourth spot ahead of Corio and Alfredton now there for nuisance value only.
Although Lara and Colac have made the running in B RESERVE, Deakin, Bacchus Marsh and Guild remain well in contention for a play-off berth ahead of Saints Black – which copped a setback this week – Bellarine and Saints Red, which will be striving to open its winning account.
|GUILD 3 defeated LARA 1|
This was another terrific contest between long-time GBA combatants who may be destined to meet in another finals series – even though the playing demographic has become somewhat different, with the Lions pushing younger players through and the Wildcats looking to its older heads to deliver the goods.
Guild gained the decisive break in the third, taking Lara starter Cameron Forbes for earned runs off the bats of Troy Snarey and Ryan Stewart before Joel Ricketts stemmed the flow with three innings of scoreless work to keep his club in the contest.
Carding another win for his club, Brad Egan was superb over five for the Lions and Lee Harty collected the save despite conceding a run in the bottom of nine in a high-standard defensive game.
With two hits and two RBIs, Stewart was a livewire for Guild, while Dan Anson posted a couple of knocks for the Wildcats from his side’s total of six.
Assured of top placing in the run to the finals, Guild will be at home to Corio on Saturday, while Lara will hit the road for a crucial away game against Ballarat Brewers.
|GUILD||0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 (3) 2 errors|
|LARA||0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 (1) 0 errors|
|Guild:||R.Stewart 2, C.Durston, T.Snarey, J.Durston, J.Wood, J.Smyth|
|Lara:||D.Anson 2, S.Forbes, S.Baumann, C.Forbes, R.Wilson|
|Guild:||R.Stewart 2, T.Snarey|
|Guild:||B.Egan 5 inn, 5 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|L.Harty 3 inn, 1 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER|
|Lara:||C.Forbes 5 inn, 3 H, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 3 ER|
|J.Ricketts 3 inn, 4 H, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|DEAKIN 11 defeated CORIO 1 (more details to come)|
Needing the win to keep slim finals hopes alive, the Blues did it in style with a mercy-rule result over Corio, which again faltered in defence when it mattered.
Conceding one hit over a dominant complete game outing, Kelii Zablan was backed up by a Deakin offence led by Wade Balzer with four hits.
|BELLARINE 12 defeated WERRIBEE 0|
Refreshed after the bye, Bellarine showed little mercy for the visiting Giants by wrapping the game up in seven innings on the back of some outstanding individual performances.
Coasting to an eight-run lead after three, the Bears chased Werribee starter Daine Gregory from the hill before putting up a damaging four-spot in the fifth after the Giants lapsed into fielding errors under extreme pressure.
While Bellarine duo Simon Murry (four innings) and Josh Crotty (three) scattered five hits between them – two of those to Kelvin Hartigan – their own offence was relentless in a pitcher-led assault that saw Murry (two hits) and Crotty (two hits) both clear the yard in driving in two runs apiece.
Wayne Visser and Brad McKentish were other multiple hitters for Bellarine, which played errorless defence in out-playing a Werribee squad that has fallen away in recent weeks.
Sitting third, Bellarine faces an important away game against Deakin next Saturday, while Werribee will be at home to a hot and cold Bacchus Marsh.
|WERRIBEE||0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0) 6 errors|
|BELLARINE||2 3 3 0 4 0 x (12) 0 errors|
|Werribee:||K.Hartigan 2, S.Riches, E.McPherson, J.Curnow|
|Bellarine:||S.Murry 2 (inc home run), W.Visser 2, B.McKentish 2, J.Crotty 2 (inc home run), J.Lowe, C.Barker|
|Bellarine:||S.Murry 2, W.Visser 2, J.Crotty 2, J.Lowe, A.Hockey|
|Werribee:||D.Gregory 3 inn, 7 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HPB, 4 ER|
|J.Curnow 1 inn, 1 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|S.Riches 2 inn, 2 H, 1 K, 3 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER|
|Bellarine:||S.Murry 4 inn, 4 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|J.Crotty 3 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|BACCHUS MARSH 5 defeated SAINTS 1|
Needing the win to keep its finals hopes alive, Bacchus Marsh went to experienced rightie Tayler Rowe against a visiting Saints outfit that had dropped its last two games and was focused on providing its younger brigade with a share of the action - including Lewis Crichton in his first A Grade game.
Producing some of his very best for the Tigers, Rowe whiffed fifteen over a complete nine-innings game in scattering five hits and conceding just a handful of passes to keep Saints scoreless until the top of the eighth.
While Josh Lee (six innings) and Duane Davenport (two) were solid for the visitors, Bacchus was able to get away mid-game, plating two in the fifth and three in the sixth – aided, it should be said, by some errant Saints defence that gifted three unearned runs.
For a game in which hitters of both sides were contained, Aaron Wallis-Taylor (two hits), Jarrod Warwick and Rowe were productive for Bacchus Marsh, while the East Belmont offensive output was shared among five players.
Bacchus Marsh will be away to Werribee in another must-win game next Saturday, while Saints have the bye.
|SAINTS||0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 (1) 3 errors|
|BACCHUS||0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 x (5) 1 error|
|Saints:||K.Wilson, T.Huisman, L.Sherwell, J.Lee, C.Alldis|
|Bacchus:||A.Wallis-Taylor 2, S.Hornstra, J.Norquay, C.Porter, J.Warwick|
|Saints:||J.Lee 6 inn, 5 H, 4 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 2 ER|
|D.Davenport 2 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 0 ER|
|Bacchus:||T.Rowe 9 inn, 5 H, 15 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HPB, 0 ER|
|BALLARAT had the A Grade bye this week|