Mackenzie Gardner firing on eve of finals

Keeper/bat Mackenzie Gardner is not only celebrating a run-out, but some great recent form for HSD. 382055 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Jonty Ralphsmith


A stunning century to Parkmore skipper Amal Athulathmudali led the Pirates to a 71-run win over Parkfield, denying the hosts top spot on the Turf 3 table.

Athulathmudali was complemented by Jaime Brohier, who fed his partner the strike and allowed him to cash in on a Parkfield attack weakened by the absences of Hansika Kodikara and Nick Jeffrey.

It’s a second consecutive century for the skipper, in between a two-match suspension, with his big-hitting effectively taking the game away from the Bandits in the first 25 overs, the run-rate above six.

The win means Parkmore finishes the season having beaten every team in the top four once, yet finished with just one other win for the season, eight points outside of finals.

A combination of unavailability, rain, and losing wickets in clumps prevented the Pirates from sustaining momentum throughout a season they will feel got away.

Meanwhile, their rivals will breathe a sigh of relief that Parkmore has missed out given how destructive the club has shown it can be.


A swashbuckling 80 off 52 to Narre Warren’s Luke Clarke helped Narre Warren stave off Keysborough and relegation to Turf 3.

Entering the day, both teams were on 21 points at the foot of the table with the equation simple: win and stay in Turf 2, lose and get relegated.

Star middle-order batter and skipper Christo Otto (62 off 48) helped propel the Knights to 8/191.

Damien Gamage got the wicket of Otto in the 39th over, bringing the game back into the balance as the lower order was unable to give the hosts a big finish at Rowley Allan Reserve.

Narre Warren ultimately won by six wickets with 30 balls to spare, Chamara Liyanaarachchi complementing Clarke in a 120-run opening partnership which put Narre on the front foot.


HSD ‘keeper-batter Mackenzie Gardner has backed up his 93 in round 13 with a century in round 14 to help Heinz Southern Districts beat Cranbourne by seven wickets and secure second spot on the table.

The score elevated Gardner to third on the competition runs tally with 407 runs at 34; the experienced number three’s form sparking at the right time for the Cobras.

Captain-coach Craig Hookey points to the DDCA T20 semi-final against St Mary’s and final loss to Springvale South, when he scored 61 and 35 respectively, as the turnaround for Gardner.

“There’s been a few little things in the nets which we spoke about but, outside of that, I think it was the T20s we played,” Hookey said.

“Stepping up to that level, playing finals-like games, he’s a player who likes to step up when it’s needed and having days like that switched his mindset around and really freed him up.

“I said to him after that ‘that’s how I think you should play a lot of the time’ and it’s the best version of you’ but in T20 cricket there’s five men back, but the translation he’s shown has been exceptional .

“He faced 100 balls for his 100 on the weekend and for his 93 he faced 120-130.”

Hookey also praised number five Anuda Akmeemana, who backed up a 96-run partnership with Gardner against Lyndale with an unbeaten 91-run partnership on the weekend.

Akmeemana has passed 50 in three of his four hits against the red ball but has been quiet against the white ball.

“Those two love batting together so it’s clicked well and it’s all going well heading into finals,” Hookey said.

“We just spoke about how in his one-day stuff, he plays at balls he doesn’t necessarily need to and looks to score in different areas, so we just wanted to keep it simple.

“It was good to see him get results on the weekend and he’s our first or second best player of spin so it’s been good to see him play long innings against quality spinners and execute perfectly.”

Jordan Margenberg was also instrumental in the Cobras’ win on Saturday, taking 6/47 off 11 to restrict Cranbourne to 184.


Bulls’ all-rounder Riley Siwes had an excellent day with bat and ball in Dandenong West’s 73-run win over Lyndale.

Coming to the crease with the match in the balance at 4/63, Siwes ran hard, putting the ball into gaps at the slow outfield of Barry Powell Reserve.

The number six brought up his half-century off the last ball, Dandenong West reaching 6/165.

Adam Reid continued his strong season with three early wickets, before Siwes (3/17 off seven) and Malinga Bandara (1/12 off 7) controlled the middle period.

Riley’s Dad, Greg, was also included for his first match of the season, making 11 batting at number five.

Final Turf 2 ladder: Dandenong West 64, HSD 61, Parkfield 61, Cranbourne 52, Parkmore 44, Lyndale 30, Narre Warren 27, Keysborough 21