By Chris Anderson

With finals only a month away, the time has come for those who look destined for finals action to hit their best form; and in the competition’s top grade, DJ Strachan Shield, the four sides who occupy the finals position had strong days on the park.
The match of the round was always going to be the clash between Warburton-Millgrove and Woori Yallock.
Right from Round 1, these two sides looked on the road to finals action.
Woori Yallock, coming off consecutive premierships, had lost some experience and top-end talent over the winter months; however, they still had a core of their premiership heroes that would ensure they would always be around the mark.
Opening the clash with the bat, and although losing an early wicket, the Tigers gained ascendency of the contest through a steady partnership from Ryan Smith (43) and Troy Murphy (35).
A considerable partnership grew and, at 1/97 after 40 overs, the Tigers looked well-placed to build a significant total in the hot conditions.
Smith and Murphy fell before reaching half centuries, but their team pressed on.
Cal Ferguson’s half century through the middle order avoided a collapse which has plagued Woori in recent times and with the score at 4/153, the innings could’ve gone either way.
With their big hitters in the sheds, the Tigers continued to press on against some tight bowling from the Burras, but couldn’t ramp the scoring up over the concluding overs as wickets fell regularly.
When the dust settled, Woori Yallock found themselves all out for 202.
Warburton-Millgrove star David Lever was at his best with the ball, capturing great figures of 5/56.
Woori’s final total sets up an intriguing day two of this contest.
The Burras have been rarely challenged over recent weeks, and they will have to be at the best against an explosive attack if they are to chase the runs down.
Mount Evelyn have been quietly going about their business since Christmas.
They hosted Healesville in their Round 12 clash, with a keen eye on building momentum toward finals.
Against some tight bowling from Dermott Fry and Chance Burridge, Mount Evelyn openers Daniel Fraser and Daniel Giblin held their nerve to give their team the perfect start.
In a flash back to the ’good ol’ days’, where teams slowly built their innings, ensured there were plenty of wickets in hand at tea, and attacked over the closing overs; the opening pair ensured the home side had the advantage.
They managed to see out the first session unscathed, and at 0/108 at the tea break, anything was possible.
The pair kicked on after tea until Max Minney finally broke the pair’s stronghold as he lured a false shot from the bat of Giblin for well made 79.
Gareth Fraser joined his brother at the wicket, and with 150 already on the board, played with plenty of freedom as he heaped the pressure on with a swift 40.
This was followed by a quicker, and more brutal innings from Mount Evelyn captain Kane Jones who smashed 49 off 27, and was only curtailed by an unfortunate mix up with his partner.
Throughout it all, Dan Fraser stood masterfully at the wicket, in a rich vein of form which included a century and an undefeated 93, he added another masterful score to his tally, batting out the innings for a brilliant 130 not out.
When it was all said and done, Mount Evelyn’s total had ballooned to an impressive 5/339.
Healesville have battled with the bat this season, and this total looks insurmountable.
As they say in cricket though, if one team can make the runs in those conditions, the opposition have every chance to chase them.
Most if it will rely on the team’s experience of Ash and Scott Hamer, and Mark Minney, but if they can use the blueprint that Mount Evelyn have provided them, however slim, they have a chance.
One suspects Mount Evelyn’s consistent and steady attack will keep things tight enough for this not to happen.
In the final game of the round, Seville were unable to match their stubbornness with the bat, that they showed against Mount Evelyn last round, and were totally eclipsed by an inform Yarra Junction outfit.
Batting first, the Blues were skilled for a dismal 40.
Although patient early, the flood gates opened as experienced pairing Kevin Bomford (4/11) and Terry Ottrey (3/3) bewildered their opposition with their guile after Nick Bark opened proceedings with amazing figures of 9 overs, 9 maidens, 2 wickets, 0 runs.
Not much else could be recorded for the meek effort, and it was left to Yarra Junction to make the most of the remainder of the day.
Andy Taylor has made the most of his opportunities in recent weeks, and he made hay while the sun shone and cracked it for his first fifty of the season, and with Matt Robinson (32) in the runs again, the Eagles were able to close the day on 3/120, a lead of 80.
The ball is now well and truly in Yarra Junction’s court, as an outright victory would only enhance their claims of being a contender this season.
Will they declare overnight in a bid to bowl Seville out and chase what’s left (if there is indeed anything left to chase), or will they bat on, give their batsmen some more time at the wicket and declare in enough time to bowl Seville out a second time.
DJ Strachan Shield
Woori Yallock 202 (David Lever 5/56, C. Ferguson 52, R. Smith 43, T. Murphy 35) v Warburton-Millgrove; Mount Evelyn 5/339 (Dan Fraser 130*, D. Giblin 79, K. Jones 49, G. Fraser 40) v Healesville; Yarra Junction 3/120 (A. Taylor 58, M. Robinson 32) v Seville 40 (K. Bomford 4/11, T. Ottrey 3/3, N. Bark 2/0).
Ladder: Warburton-Millgrove 57.0, Mount Evelyn 51.0, Woori Yallock 45.0, Yarra Junction 39.0, Healesville 27.0, Seville 27.0, Yarra Glen 15.0.
RA Finger Trophy
Woori Yallock 210 (P. Broussard 96, S. Morgan 33, A. Nelson 3/31, J. Nelson 3/33) v Warburton-Millgrove; Healesville 186 (M. Jackson 45, W. Maile 26, T. Kear 4/25, P. Jones 3/41) v Hoddles Creek; Wandin 159 (T. Thorne 36, M. Kushbakt 25, A. Rafique 29, L. Thomas 3/24, B. Tauber 3/41) v Launching Place; Coldstream 1/50 (B. Walsh 24*, D. Oliffe 15*) v Yarra Junction 111 (S. Thomas 33, R. Say 4/23, D. Whelan 3/21, D. Sharpe 2/27); Seville 51 (M. Ewart 22, R. Prowse 7/16, J. Harding 2/7) v Gruyere 173 (M. Hodggetts 81, J. Carroll 34, M. Tilney 34 D. Knight 4/15, J. Beri 2/15).
Ladder: Hoddles Creek 49.0, Coldstream 45.0, Gruyere 39.0, Healesville 39.0, Yarra Junction 39.0, Woori Yallock 37.0, Warburton-Millgrove 33.0, Launching Place 21.0, Wandin 15.0, Seville 9.0.
C Grade
Healesville 3/48 (B. Mackey 18*, M. Kogleman 3/12) v Powelltown 148 (S. Thompson 40, C. Dunne 20, S. Fawdry 4/31, T. Cavill 3/28, J. Hellary 2/22), Seville v Mount Evelyn 10/172 (D. Finch 45, D. Westaway 41, R. Sheperd 23, A. Kay 6/16 G. Foster 3/53), Yarra Glen 9/174 (L. Crawford 44, L. Coulson 39, J. Clare 31, M. Oakley 4/30, H. Lamont 2/13) v Wandin.
Ladder: Mount Evelyn 51.0, Wandin 33.0, Powelltown 30.0, Seville 30.0, Yarra Glen 21.0, Healesville 15.0.
D Grade
Coldstream 264 (P. McArdle 80, B. Creedy 57, A. Cummins 49, M. Young 5/71) v Launching Place; Hoddles Creek 9/253 (S. Robertson 65, L. Van Der Vlugt 63*, J. Vanraay 3/33, D. Henderson 2/24) v Mount Evelyn; Yarra Junction 2/166 (G. Thompson 53, Ben Thomas 51*, R. Turner 28) v Seville 61 (R. Culwick 20, R. Boxell 6/20), Wandin bye.
Ladder: Coldstream 42.0, Wandin 42.0, Hoddles Creek 30.0, Yarra Junction 24.0, Launching Place 18.0, Mount Evelyn 12.0, Seville 12.0
One Day Grade
Coldstream 152 (D. Vaux 27, B. Wheeler 23, S. Doughty 3/10, S. Moore 3/17) def by Wandin 8/156 (P. Doughty 40*, M. Richardson 22, S. Doughty 20, B. Wheeler 2/8, D. Vaux 2/15); Healesville 6/105 (B. Louw 28, R. Nolan 18, A. Nettlefold 2/13, M. Clue 1/9) def by Powelltown 1/114 (B. Simpson 41*, G. McRorie 37, B. Louw 1/50); Warburton-Millgrove v Marysville (no scores); Gruyere bye.
Ladder: Powelltown 75.0, Marysville 51.0, Coldstream 45.0, Wandin 27.0, Warburton-Millgrove 21.0, Seville 15.0, Gruyere 15.0, Healesville 12.0, Yarra Junction 6.0.
Under 16s
Warburton-Millgrove 8/123 (N. Andueza 51*, C. Newell 20, B. Westaway 3/11, J. Coutts 2/27) d Mount Evelyn 6/119 (C. Parker 28, L. Walker 27, J. Coutts 18, A. Nelson 2/21, M. Newell 2/21); Healesville 8/94 (H. Keeling 25, Z. Fawdry 22*, B. Eacott 19) def by Yarra Junction 4/102 (J. Vanderhyde 31, R. Foley 27*, C. Holmes 17*), Wandin-Coldstream bye.
Ladder: Warburton-Millgrove 42.0, Yarra Junction 40.0, Healesville 34.0, Wandin/Coldstream 33.0, Mount Evelyn 15.0.
Under 14s
Warburton-Millgrove 9/117 (P. Huynh 41, B. Humphrey 25, M. Boek 11*, L. O’Dea 4/9, C. Hrabe 2/25) d Yarra Junction-Hoddles Creek 8/80 (J. Ketelaar 29, D. Briggs 21, C. Hrabe 10, B. Olcorn 3/20, M. Boek 2/3, B. Humphrey 2/5); Seville 9/211 (J. Proctor 41*, C. Frankovic 40*, R. Foster 31) d Yarra Glen 6/53 (H. Fleming 2/1, R. Foster 1/7); Launching Place 6/142 (M. Bradley 40*, M. Sinnot 39, R. Thomas 32, F. Lee 2/11, J. Lee 1/4, D. Potter 1/13) d o/r Mount Evelyn 8/48 (L. Shepherd 32, J. Lee 4, M. Sinnot 2/7, R. Thomas 2/13, M. Bradley 2/12) and 8/26 (D. Potter 5, B. Jones 5, M. Sinnot 3/5, R. Hampton 2/0, R. Thomas 2/18); Healesville d Gruyere (forfeit). Ladder: Healesville 52.0, Seville 48.0, Warburton-Millgrove 36.0, Launching Place 32.0, Hoddles Creek/Yarra Junction 24.0, Yarra Glen 18.0, Mount Evelyn 6.0, Gruyere 6.0.
Under 12A
Coldstream 9/117 (J. Hamilton 18, H. Wheeler 14*, N. Powell 13) def by Hoddles Creek 8/131 (W. Homes 27*, E. James 18*), Warburton-Millgrove 7/184 (R. Thompson 37*, D. Walker 34*, E. Crowley-Brown 30*, M. O’Neill 20*, J. Drummond 1/9, R. Lever 1/9, R. Fraser 1/11) d Healesville 3/177 (C. Nyko 30*, C. Anderson 21, M. Wallace 19*, M. O’Neill 2/21, D. Walker 1/6), Seville bye.
Ladder: Warburton-Millgrove 42.0, Healesville 40.0, Seville 27.0, Coldstream 21.0, Hoddles Creek 12.0.
Under 12B
Launching Place 5/139 (L. Parker 27, D. Carvill 16, M. Thompson 2/3) def by Marysville 6/201 (J. Nicholson 33*, S. Thompson 19*, B. Fitzpatrick 19*, M. Thompson 19*, O. Hampton 1/6); Healesville 7/157 (R. Cameron 33*, Handasyde 27*, R. Bomford 2/2, K. Tilney 2/4) d Yarra Junction-Gruyere 97 (C. Atkins 15*, A. Druitt 4/15); Yarra Glen 6/112 (B. Davey 15*, A. VanPutten 11, T. Darvell 2/8) def by Mount Evelyn 6/122, (C. Finch 20*, N. Darvell 13*, B. Davey 1/3, O. Grenfell 1/16).
Ladder: Healesville 42.0, Yarra Junction/Gruyere 24.0, Launching Place 18.0, Marysville 18.0, Mount Evelyn 12.0, Yarra Glen 12.0.
Under 10s
Warburton White 3/73 (Kobe 20, Zane 13, Thomas 7, Lucas 2/14, Brianna 1/2) v Launching Place Blue 4/63 (Lucas 15, Brianna 15, Millie 8, Kobe 1/0, Aiden 1/3, Thomas 1/9).

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