Finals places go down to the wire

DISTRICT

IT’S crunch time ahead of the final home and away match of the MPCA District season this Saturday.

It has been an incredibly tight division from round one and things haven’t changed over the course of the season.

With just a one-day match to play this Saturday, there are still six teams fighting for three places on the ladder.

Red Hill, which sits on top of the ladder, is the only team assured of a finals place as we head into the final round.

Main Ridge is in second place (86 points and a percentage of 1.35), Delacombe Park is third (78, 1.32), Heatherhill is fourth (74, 1.15) and Mt Martha is just outside on 74 points and a percentage of 1.15. On 66 points are Flinders (1.06) and Rosebud (.96).

It’s going to go down to the wire with results of the final round determining who makes the final four.

The important matches this weekend are Red Hill v Rosebud, Main Ridge v Seaford, Mt Martha v Delacombe Park and Flinders v Heatherhill.

Rosebud only has itself to blame when it misses finals after being humiliated by Rye. Rye defended just 94 to win by almost 20 runs.

Even more importantly for the Demons, however, was that they went two matches clear of Boneo and prevented relegation, regardless of the result between the two teams this Saturday.

The Buds resumed on 3/23 and that quickly became 8/45 – they were eventually dismissed for 76. Billy Quigley top scored with 12.

Baden Powell dropped out of contention too after being smashed by Flinders. The Braves resumed at 1/11 chasing 108 for victory – they were bowled out for 90 after Matt Burns snared 4/30 and Max Royal 3/12. Flinders were 3/160 in their second dig.

Delacombe Park gained some momentum, getting the job done against Red Hill after MPCA legend Nick Christides blasted 127.

It was vintage Christides who took the game away from the Hillmen with nine fours and eight sixes in his innings.

Chasing 182 for victory, the Parkers finished at 4/183 in 68 overs after Christides scored 127 of the team’s first 167 runs.

Main Ridge picked up the valuable 12 point against Heatherhill, pretty much assuring them a place in the finals. Results would have to go against the Ridge this weekend and they would need to be smashed by Seaford to miss the finals.

The Ridge had already won the game on the opening day, dismissing Heatherhill for 96 and then resuming at 7/121. They finished at 9/154. Heatherhill made 8/155 in their second innings after being 6/78 at one stage. Gareth Wyatt picked up 4/26 from 14 overs for the Ridge.

Mt Martha couldn’t get the 277 needed for victory against Seaford, bowled out for 222.

After looking like a challenger for the majority of the season, the Reds now look shaky to even make it.

Resuming at 1/10, Mt Martha quickly slumped to 3/19 before Riley Shaw (35) and skipper Mitchel Darville (57) gave them some hope.

The difference was just too great though and the Reds were always playing catch up, despite 35 from Ben Shorthouse.

First published in the Mornington News – 28 February 2017