Noble Park win thriller

Noble Park secured a tight win. 368099 Picture: ROB CAREW.

Noble Park held on for a stirring seven-run win at Moodemere Oval on Saturday.

Needing 34 off 42 with three wickets in hand, Balwyn’s chase always looked like going down to the wire.

Despite keeping themselves within touching distance all the way until the last over the lower-order succumbed to dot ball pressure built up by the Noble Park attack.

Sahan Perera, the pick of the bowlers all day, bowled three of those overs and conceded just seven runs in an important show of his durability, having bowled 21.4 overs for the day.

He bowled two dots to start the last over, off which Balwyn needed 10 to win, with the scoreboard pressure associated with the run out on the fourth ball of the over to win the match for Noble Park.

Defending 236, Nishantha Weerakkody immediately built up the pressure upfront with a frugal spell, with Perera rewarded with a wicket in his second over of the day.

Weerakkody himself picked up Thomas Polkinghorne in his opening spell to put the visitors on the back foot.

Thereafter, Balwyn, which would have kept Noble Park to a skinnier total if not for some lower-order fight last week, established a strong platform, thanks mostly to the work of Adi Narayana at four.

Narayana was the anchor of the early part of the chase, his strike rate of 44 and absorption of pressure reflective of his willingness to take the game deep.

Perera, however, picked up his wicket with Balwyn still 80 runs adrift which turned the game.

The chase, which had been kept well in-check became a tough one, with the established batter gone and the rest of the Balwyn top order managing only bit-part contributions.

Authoritative batting from the lower-order got them close but only skipper Lachie Fitzpatrick was able to stay unbeaten as Weerakkody, Perera and Janaka Liyanabadalge controlled momentum well and stayed poised in the big moments.

Perera finished with figures of 4/60 while Weerakkody nabbed 3/52.

It keeps Noble Park equal on points with top-placed Elsternwick with three rounds to go ahead of a clash with mid-tier Mount Waverley.

Elsewhere, Endeavour Hills was beaten by Malvern by three wickets, despite some excellent bowling from Madurawalage Jayasundera and a strong second innings partnership between Bineth Bandara and Blaize Bainbridge.

Oakleigh is next up for Endeavour Hills.