Battle lives up to the billing

Up and about! Kooweerup’s Adam McMaster celebrates the first of his five-wicket haul. 375559 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel

It loomed as one of the two key home-and-away battles of the CCCA Premier Division season and – half-way through – it has certainly lived up to the billing.

Tooradin (246) will defend a challenging, but not unconquerable, score against Kooweerup on Saturday after a classic opening exchange of two-day cricket between the two best teams in the competition.

The Demons, through Adam McMaster (22.3-2-65-5) and his skipper and brother Luke (22-5-52-1), claimed two early breakthroughs to heap pressure on the Gulls, who responded in the style of a very good cricket team.

Adam and Luke bowled superbly in the opening exchanges, with the respective wickets of Josh Lownds (1) and Cal O’Hare (11) – both LBW – deserved fruits for their labour.

The ensuing contest, between two sets of brothers, was absorbing, with Adam and Luke probing and prodding, trying to find a way through the technically sound defences of Peter (77) and Mick Sweeney (16).

The pair would bat for 14 overs together, making 31 runs along the way in a period of play where no quarter was asked for…and none was given.

The inclusion of Joel Anderson (8-2-21-1) propelled the contest somewhat; first via a classic on-drive – off the back foot – from Mick, which wreaked of class, before the youngster broke the stand, with Mick flicking a rare leg-side ball into the waiting hands of Adam McMaster at midwicket.

A score of 3/70 in the 30th would peter along slowly to 3/84 off 38 overs at the tea break, with Peter Sweeney on 38 and Tom Hussey on 6.

Sweeney would bring up a well-constructed 50 in the 43rd over, taking off-spinner Matt Bright (17-2-51-2) back over long on for four.

A tempo that seemed to be increasing became blatantly clear in the 49th …when Sweeney hit the go button in the space of four balls.

A classic square drive off Adam McMaster, a contender for shot-of-the-day, was followed by a dot ball, before a short/wide delivery was punished to the ropes for four.

McMaster went short again, this time at the body, with Sweeney rocking back and hitting solidly to mid-on for two.

That was 10 off four balls; 3/135 after 49, which edged to 3/143 after 55.

Neither team would concede an inch…the Demons clawing back ground after the potential start to an onslaught.

Tooradin would score 7/103 over the last 22.3 overs of their innings.

Sweeney was trapped in front by Adam McMaster, before Hussey (39), who looked in fine nick once again, hit Adam to Matt Bright to give the Demons’ speedster his third.

Russell Lehman (22) and the returning Dylan Sutton (52 not out) were then engaged in the battle, with the quality of contest not waning at all.

Good batter would take on good bowler throughout the entire course of the day…the thing that separates these two teams from the rest.

Sutton’s impact, in his game for the season, was extraordinary.

Mick Sweeney must be licking his lips at the prospect of adding a potential match-winner into his side, mid-way through the season.

Sutton hit six boundaries, and one glorious six, off 50 balls of highly-entertaining cricket.

Adam McMaster would take two wickets in three balls to end the innings with 15 balls to spare.

Given the damage that Sutton could have mustered, if given the opportunity, they are two quick wickets that could prove crucially important when the final score is settled.

Chasing 247 for victory…could quite easily have been 280.

But the Seagulls have the runs on the board…it’s over to you now Demons!

Let’s cross our fingers and hope that day two lives up to the billing.


A mesmerising innings from Cardinia (5/331dec) opener Morteza Ali (154 not out) has propelled the Bulls to a dominant day-one position over Devon Meadows (1/15).

The hard-hitting right-hander took an unusually cautious approach early, seeing off a swinging new ball, before blossoming out and hitting 19 boundaries and five sixes for the day.

“It was very challenging early; they had one guy that was bowling beautiful outswing and they weren’t giving much away,” Ali said, after his highest score for the Bulls in his second season at the club.

“That was my slowest big innings I’ve played; I normally go at more than run-a-ball, but I faced 212 on the weekend.

“It was very hard early and took me probably 15 overs to feel settled.”

Ali lost his opening partner Alex Nooy (14) in the early overs, a partner he enjoys batting with.

“Bradey (Welsh) gives us an open hand, especially us two, because we play our best when we play attacking cricket,” Ali explained.

“When Alex is scoring quickly, it is taking pressure off me, because then I can then build a long innings.

“And if I am hitting the ball well, then the pressure is off Alex also.”

Ali had no reason to worry on Saturday, despite losing Nooy, Daniel Salvato (8) and Travis Wheller (3) in quick succession.

Three down early…Jacobus Hynes (85) joined him at the crease.

In a rollicking mood, and backing us his maiden century against Clyde last week, Hynes hit the ground running.

He and Ali were well on top by the tea break, with the score at 3/167…with Ali 81 off 134 and Hynes on fire with 58 from 64, including nine boundaries and a six.

Hynes would smack 27 from 19 balls after tea, including four boundaries, to maintain the Bulls momentum.

He was denied his second century on the trot by the bowling of Arthur Churchill (5-0-47-1).

Ali would march on, hitting six boundaries and four sixes after tea…and playing almost second fiddle to an extraordinary innings from Matt Welsh (56).

The talented all-rounder finally found his groove, carting 11 balls to the boundary, including four over the ropes.

His 44-ball impact paved the way for Bulls’ skipper Dean Henwood to call an early halt to the innings…providing the Bulls with nine overs at the hosts after a surprise early declaration.

Panthers’ opener Will Halton (4) hit a boundary off the bowling of Josh Grogan (3-2-5-1) off the seventh ball of his spell, with the youngster gaining immediate revenge by knocking over Halton’s castle next ball.

The Panthers resume on 1/15, with Lucas Ligt (10 not out) once again holding the hopes of pulling off a meritorious victory.


A magnificent century from classy left-hand opener Trevor Bauer (120) has piloted Clyde (220) into a powerful position against Merinda Park at Tony Way Reserve.

Bauer’s first century for the Cougars was the clear highlight for the visitors, with first-drop Anurudda ‘Teddy’ Fonseka (30) and number-nine Daniel Lever (21 not out) the only other batters to offer any sort of resistance.

It was a patience game for the Cougars, as Cobras’ skipper Mat Campbell (26-12-47-1) rushed through the overs before the dinner break.

After losing the horribly out-of-form Michael Vandort (9) early, Bauer and Fonseka pushed the total through to 1/119 at the interval.

Bauer was 80 not out off 140 balls, while Fonseka was unbeaten on 28 off 127….with Campbell and co rushing through 48 overs with intent.

The wickets weren’t tumbling, but the Cougars were scoring at less than 2.5 runs per over…setting up a well-balanced post-tea session.

The Cobras struck early after the tea break, with Fonseka facing just six balls before becoming the first of three wickets for Bevin Corneille (10-2-32-3).

Brett Reid (1) came and went cheaply in the same over, before Nick Miles (11) rounded out Corneille’s valuable three-wicket contribution just six overs later.

Skipper Zac Davis (3) then failed to build on his fighting half-century from round six, becoming the first of three wickets for Rumesh Ranasinghe (17-3-36-3).

With five wickets down, Bauer then brought up his century, in the 64th over, off 189 balls, with a single off Tyson Bertrand (19-2-68-2).

He lifted the tempo, scoring 20 from his last 26 deliveries, before losing his wicket to Bertrand with the first ball of the 76th over.

The Cougars needed someone to play a long and sustained innings, built on concentration, and Bauer delivered…although his teammates didn’t quite cash in around him.

It was left to Lever to play a vibrant innings late, with him and Max Adams (7 not out) adding 10 runs in the last over, which could prove vital in a game that looks set for a thrilling finish.

Campbell opened the bowling for the Cobras, bowling an initial seven-over spell, before bowling 19 straight through the middle overs of the innings.

If the Cobras get up, it’s a contribution that should not be underestimated.


Pakenham’s (207) inability to bat out 80 overs has once again left it ‘vulnerable and exposed’ after the Lions coughed and spluttered their way to a competitive total against Carlisle Park (0/27) on Saturday.

A six-wicket haul to Jaan Balasuriya (22-8-56-6) kept the Lions honest on the ‘echoing wicket’ at Carlisle Park, while a tidy spell from Kasun Balasuriya (17-8-30-2) limited the innings run-rate to a ‘dull thud’.

The Lions lost steady wickets across the first 18 overs of their innings, with Jack Anning (14), Chris Smith (16) and Stuart Johnson (0) all back in the sheds…courtesy of Jaan.

The Lions fought back prior to tea, being 3/119, with skipper Dale Tormey on 58 not out and Dom Paynter on 28 when players left the artificial surface for tea.

The Vikings certainly took the honours after the dinner break.

Tormey (61) soon became Jaan’s fourth wicket for the afternoon, trapped in front for a fighting half-century – off 91 balls and including six fours and a six – triggering a four-wicket stumble in eight overs.

The usually reliable Rob Elston (2) fell for his second-consecutive single-figure score in the next over, before Paynter (43) was caught by Ryan Zealley…giving Jaan Balasuriya his fifth scalp.

Tom Tyrrell (8) then departed the scene; the Lions seven down with 31 overs still to bat.

The Lions have struggled since the transition from one-day to two-day cricket in round five.

They squandered a fantastic start against Kooweerup, slumping from 1-187 to all out 217, before surrendering the premiership points with a collapse of 9-63 against Devon Meadows last week.

It was left to Jason Williams (30) and Marcus Martini (13) to resurrect the innings on the weekend.

The pair batted stoutly for 14 overs, before Martini was bowled by Ethan Davies (13-2-47-1); still leaving 17 overs to bat…with two wickets in hand.

Williams was next go – becoming wicket number-six for Jaan – before James Close (14) departed the scene after some valuable late-order runs.

The Lions were bowled out on the first ball of the 71st over; better than their last two efforts against the Demons (58th) and Panthers (61st).

The Balasuriya boys were superb for the Vikings, with Jaan’s six-wicket haul taking him to 16 for the season and to second behind Adam McMaster (20) on the competition wicket-taking list.

The Lions then had six overs to make some inroads.

But the opposite took place, with Duke Miller (9 off 21) and David Nutting (17 off 16) taking the opportunity to chip a valuable 27 runs off the Vikings’ day-two target.

Pakenham will still go in as slight favourites on day two, with the Vikings’ 158 in round one their highest total for the season.

Kasun Balasuriya and Ben Perry are the only players in this line up to have scored half-centuries this season, and the only players to have scored over 100 runs.

The wicket of Nutting could be the key…with the usually honest performer already chalking up his highest score for the season – 17 – after earlier scores of 5, 0, 9, 11, 16 and 0.

Maybe it’s his time to shine.