Bulls begin their charge

Leigh Paterson struck often for the Bulls on Saturday, taking 3/11 against Clyde. 316271 Pictures: GARY SISSONS

By David Nagel


Its greatest challenge is staring it squarely in the eye but Cardinia (2/131) will head into this week’s massive home-game against Tooradin with some real confidence after a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Clyde (128).

The Bulls banked back-to-back victories for the first time since round two after its super-efficient bowling attack rolled relentlessly through the Cougars spluttering mid-to-lower order.

Brett Reid (30), Michael Vandort (24), Jason Hameeteman (23) and Trevor Bauer (17) all got starts in the Cougars top-four, but a failure to maintain any sort of rhythm provided the Bulls with a modest target.

The Cougars simply could not unlock the secret to spinners Lachlan Volpe (2/22 off 8) and Travis Wheller (3/29 off 8) – with Leigh Paterson (3/11 off 3.4) finishing off the job in style.

Skipper Jake Prosser (52 not out) and Bradey Welsh (29 not out) then completed the rout with 19 overs in hand, sharing an unbroken 85-run partnership to see the Bulls move two games clear in fourth spot.

After a shaky six rounds, where the Bulls prevailed on just one occasion, Prosser believes the 2021 premiers are starting to hit their straps.

“Definitely, it’s slowly starting to click, we do feel like things are against us at times, but sometimes we’re our own worst enemy,” Prosser said.

“It’s starting to turn the right way, our bowling and fielding is up to scratch but our batting still lets us down

“We’re working hard to try and find rhythm and partnerships, and on Saturday we got it.”

The philosophy…well it was pretty simple!

“If you lose wickets, just consolidate, work through it, it can be done…a lot of the other good sides are doing it so why can’t we,” Prosser explained.

The Bulls skipper received a massive bonus over the Christmas break when talented leggie Volpe committed for the rest of the season.

It gives Prosser an added and important option to throw the ball to, especially with two-dayers set to determine the remaining fixtures this season.

“It’s a massive…he’s probably our most important player,” Prosser said.

“Everyone knows how many chances a leg-spinner can create for you, but to have a leggie that can bowl economically, contribute with the bat, a pretty good fielder, that was a good call to get over Christmas time,” he said.

“He hasn’t played two-dayers for three or four years now, but in a semi-final he bowled 33 overs and got 6/40, and then in the grand final he bowled 35 overs and got 5/50.

“They’re his last two two-day games.”

The Bulls play their home ground well and will provide a big challenge for Tooradin, who took over from Cardinia as premiers.

The Seagulls have the form, but Prosser is confident his team will acquit itself well.

“Confident, yes, that’s something we’ve never lost, but they’ve (Tooradin) been in pretty good touch and have the wood over us the last three or four times they’ve played us,” Prosser said.

“If we’re going to be serious about trying to contend again, we need to show them how we play and realistically be confident that we can knock them off.

“We want to win all three heading in and go into an away final in pretty good form.

“An away final doesn’t bother us at all; it’s about playing our best cricket to give us the best chance of success.

“We’ve been pretty good our last three or four games, even against Pakenham and Kooweerup, so we still believe in ourselves that’s for sure.”

So, if Prosser could have one Christmas present left to unwrap…what would it be to propel his team to top form?

“Steve Smith to walk into my side,” Prosser said with a laugh.

“That would be great, but realistically it would be to build some partnerships, we’re starting to click but losing 3/10 or 5/40 on a consistent basis can kill you, and we’ve done that too often over the last couple of years.

“If we could fix that, then I think everyone knows how good we could be.”

Clyde host Officer this week in a huge game for both clubs, who are in a four-way relegation battle with Carlisle Park and Merinda Park.


Pakenham (4/191) captain Dale Tormey (81) was once again the headline act as the Lions almost guaranteed themselves a top-two position with a fantastic victory over Kooweerup (165).

In front of a raucous crowd, Tormey and Rob Elston (38 not out) guided the Lions to a winning total with a fast finish to the first 40 overs of the match.

Lions’ openers Chris Smith (24) and Jack Anning (23) got the Lions off on the right foot before Koowee off-spinner Matt Bright (2/23 off 8) claimed both players in quick succession.

In his first over, Bright had Anning stumped by his brother Chris, before trapping Smith in front of his stumps in his following over.

Both teams then engaged in a real arm-wrestle, before Tormey and Elston slowly gained the momentum.

The pair put on a brilliant 120-run stand, with Tormey blazing six fours, and an incredible six over backward point, while Elston was typically busy – placing the ball into gaps with little risk of losing his wicket.

The duo formed a perfect partnership – ying and yang if you like – to fend off the Demons best challenge.

At the tea break…the game was in the balance.

But the pendulum soon swung the Lions’ way when Kooweerup’s best batter this year, Luke McMaster (2) had his first brain-fade for the summer, shouldering arms to a straight one from Nick Sadler (1/17).

Skipper Michael Giles (9) then went cheaply, leaving Gamini Kumara (31) and Chris Bright (42) to take up the challenge.

The pair played beautifully, Kumara using his classically straight bat to play some magnificent strokes forward of the wicket, while Bright used his brute force to keep the Demons right on track with the run-rate.

If not for Tormey’s slap-shot for six, Bright’s pull-shot for four off Tommy Tyrrell would have been a leading contender for shot of the day.

Bright and Kumara had the Demons on track for victory, sharing a 76-run stand, before both fell in an instant.

Bright was caught and bowled by Tormey, while Jason Williams (3/24 off 8) then had Kumara caught at mid-wicket to a wonderful catch by Anning.

Stevie Dillon (29), Jess Mathers (18) and Mitch Davey (17) helped push the game to the latter overs, but the Lions imposing total proved a bridge too far.

Williams was outstanding for the Lions, while Tormey (1/27 off 8) and Marcus Martini (2/9 off 2.2) both had significant impacts.

The top-of-the-table Lions head to Carlisle Park this week, while the Demons also hit the road to take on Merinda Park.


A rapidly-improving Carlisle Park (4/186) still holds hopes of playing finals after the Vikings won their third match in five outings against a gallant Officer (5/182) on Saturday.

The Vikings were relegation favourites after losing their first five games for the summer, but have shown great resilience to claim the scalps of Merinda Park, Clyde and the Bullants in recent times.

This was a hard-fought victory for the Vikings, after Kane Hawkins (50), Jack James (45 not out), Ash Smith (27) and Nick Whitelaw (24) shrugged off the best that Kasun Balasuriya (2/23 off 8) had to offer.

The Vikings were then in all sorts of trouble at 3/22 in reply, before class act Shalika Karunanayake (69) joined his skipper Teddy Fonseka (57 not out) to resurrect the run-chase.

“Three for 20 wasn’t ideal obviously, but it was more about staying calm and knowing that if we’re there at the end we’re going to get it done,” Fonseka told Star News.

“We’re pretty calm operators when we’re batting, it’s probably the place when we’re most calm, but it was just about building that partnership and not losing anymore wickets.

“Shalika is naturally aggressive anyway, so the runs were always going to come, so it was all about batting time and the rest would look after itself.

“We were 3/20, but then the rest of the day we were 1/160, which was very pleasing in the end.

“When you say you won four down, it looks easy, but it was very challenging.”

The Vikings task was made slightly easier after Bullants’ opener Aidan Pipicelli (1/8) only bowled three overs before going down with what looked to be a serious hamstring injury.

Karunanayake then exploited the advantage to perfection, with his captain having the best seat in the house.

“He’s got a wealth of experience, with over 5000 first-class runs in Sri Lanka, and he’s played around the world, and it’s just amazing batting with someone like that and watching them go about their work,” Fonseka said.

“Just the mindset of these guys, they’re cut from a different cloth; they’re a bit more attacking and that’s their form of defence.

“They tend to counterpunch, more than someone like myself, and it’s a great learning experience because you see the way they operate up close.”

Karunanayake departed with still 71 runs to get, which Fonseka and Videsh Dassanayake (26 not out) polished off without further loss.

The Vikings have a tough run home, against Pakenham, Kooweerup and Cardinia, but Fonseka refuses to give up on a finals berth.

“We’re two games out, but still in the hunt for finals,” he said.

“We have three of the teams that currently sit in the top four and if we are to make finals they’re the teams we’ll come up against anyway.

“It’s a big learning experience for us, especially two-day cricket, so it’s going to be a huge challenge.

“We’ve still got a lot to play for, not just for finals but building a platform for next year.

“We want to make sure we finish off the season really well.”

Officer can take a giant step towards avoiding relegation this week when it heads to Clyde.


Tooradin (4/104) continues to apply pressure to top-of-the-table Pakenham after the Seagulls made light work of a disappointing Merinda Park (103) on Saturday.

The reigning-champs dominated this one from the outset, containing the Cobras with a discipline display of team bowling, before cruising home to victory.

Of the six Gulls to bowl, only Shane Somers (1/23 off 6) went at more than three an over as the home-side applied the brakes with constant force.

The pace of Brad Butler (3/20 off 8) and the guile of Josh Lownds (3/8 0ff 3) proved too much for the Cobras…who failed dismally for the second week running.

The Cobras made 106 against Cardinia last week…and failed to trump that on the weekend!

They’re not out of the relegation race are the Cobras, and they’ll need to be on guard as they close out against Kooweerup, Clyde and Pakenham.

In reply, the Gulls lost Tom Hussey (6) early before in-form pair Josh Lownds (47) and Ben Parrott (43 not out) put on 64 for the second wicket.

The wicket of Lownds triggered a mini-collapse for the Seagulls, with Tyler Evans (0) and Butler (0) both falling for nought before skipper Cal O’Hare (5 not out) helped Parrott mop up the damage.

Given their dominance, the collapse was never going to prove costly but was a great reminder for the Gulls that nothing can be taken for granted in the next two months of cricket.

Tyson Bertrand (2/20) claimed multiples for the Cobras, who host Kooweerup this week.

Tooradin, meanwhile, heads to Cardinia to begin a tough month of two-day cricket.

Following a trip to Gunton Oval, the Seagulls head to Toomuc Reserve for a top-of-the-table clash with Pakenham.