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Saints bowl their way to top

MERBEIN South reclaimed top spot and secured the minor premiership with a convincing away win over Coomealla-Wentworth on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

Big wicket: Merbein South celebrate the wicket of Coomealla Wentworth danger man Alex Mellor, who was caught behind by Adam Thomson off the bowling of Shane Trinick. INSET: Anthony Shaw takes a catch to remove Tim Plumridge. Pictures: Louise Donges

In the final round of the Sunraysia Cricket Association season, the hosts chose to bat in the second- versus-third clash.

Merbein South’s vaunted bowling attack came to the fore torestrict the Double Blues to 9/148 from their 40 overs.

Varied options with the ball for the Saints kept the batsmen guessing and Aaron Finch, Shaun Mathews, Shane Trinick and Ben Kerr all took two wickets each.

On the back of a century last round, Coomealla-Wentworth captain Alex Mellor again top-scored with 44, including putting on an early 58-run partnership with Tom Maddocks (29).

In reply, opener Anthony Shaw led from the front with an innings of 35. The batsmen after him went on with the job and the Saints reached their target with five wickets in hand and three overs to spare.

In an extraordinary game at City Oval No.1, ladder leaders Mildura East were stunned by bottom side Mildura West, who saved their best for last to take their first win of the season.

East threw away the chance of a home semi-final next weekend with a calamitous batting performance, dismissed for 51 while chasing a modest 123.

West elected to bat and Tony Hickey made 40 to set up his side’s innings.

But East captain Tom Vadlja created plenty of headaches for the West batsmen, finishing with 5/12 from eight overs.

An unbroken 33-run partnership for the 10th wicket between Bryson Lush (13no) and Jacson Collins (15no) ensured a competitive score after West had collapsed to 9/90.

In the chase, third-gamer Lush completed a man of the match performance by tearing through East’s middle and lower order with thefinal five wickets of the game.

East were already on the ropes at 5/37 after skipper Brandon Dixon (2/9) and Nathan Green (2/21) saw off the top order for single-figure scores. Lush then killed the contest, taking 5/11 with four maidens inside eight overs.

Dixon described the win as “a massive relief” after a long season, their first victory since beating East in Round 8 of the 2013-14 campaign.

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