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By Chris Anderson

After a brilliant run with the weather to start the 2017-‘18 season, cricket was put on an abrupt, thundery hold due to a storm racing through the valley halfway through Saturday’s scheduled play.
With DJ Strachan Shield and RA Finger Trophy scheduled for their first two-day game, most matches were interestingly placed, as most teams batting first were poised to push on to decent totals.
The games will continue next Saturday with the batting teams holding the whip handle as to how long their innings travel, and how much time they leave their opponents to chase down the total.
Naturally, the bowling teams can counter that by taking wickets.
Some bold play, and captaincy, might be needed to eek a result.
Yarra Glen would be disappointed their day came to an abrupt end, as they were having the better of their contest against Warburton-Millgrove.
Batting first, the Riverpigs absorbed everything that the Burras could throw at them, and then sent it back with interest.
New recruit John O’Donnell (34 not out) continues to prove his value to the team as his attacking approach has already caught a few teams off guard.
Unfortunately for the home team, O’Donnell was forced to retire hurt when on the verge of blowing the contest wide open.
The untimely rain could prove beneficial as he now has a week to get himself right for another assault.
Experienced pairing of Brendan Ricci and Andy Cowan ensured that the Yarra Glen innings would continue to safely, leading their side to a strong position at 1/93 when play was abandoned.
Although the storm has cost this game vital time, both sides will have a week to devise how they are going to approach day two.
If Ricci and Cowan can start positively, and O’Donnell recovers from his injury, the Riverpigs can control the contest.
The challenge for Yarra Glen is the decision to try and bat the Burras out of the contest while giving their bowlers enough time to skittle a formidable Burras batting line-up.
Seville also had the better of day one against Mount Evelyn, batting themselves into a strong position before rain intervened.
After a run of poor batting performances, Seville looked to dig in against the Rovers, and they successfully managed everything the visitors could muster.
Mount Evelyn captain Kane Jones was able to eek Jake McInness relatively cheaply, but with Leigh Atkin (44 not out) and Liam McGookin (43) combining for an impressive partnership, the Blues took the bull by the horns.
Batting through most of the first session, the pair put the team’s batting woes well into the background.
Bereft of answers, it was left to inform leggie, Jon Williams, to break the union, removing McGookin to give the visitors some hope of reversing the trend.
With the game interestingly poised at 2/111, rain intervened.
Seville have the upper hand and will be determined to continue their impressive batting effort to bat Mount Evelyn out of the contest.
Meanwhile, Mount Evelyn will be hoping to dig into a vulnerable batting line up to reinvigorate their shrinking opportunity to win.
In the final Strachan Shield game, Yarra Junction fought back before the delay to wrest some control from Healesville.
Healesville are just clinging onto the competition’s front-runners, and would’ve entered this clash with much determination to claim a scalp.
Batting first, Scott Hamer (40) threw everything at the steady Yarra Junction attack, absorbing some tidy bowling early, then kicking on.
The opening partnership stretched to the drinks break and Healesville looked well set for a decent total.
Just as they controlled the contest, Eagles captain Kevin Bomford (3/15) ripped it from their grasp in quick time, taking three crucial wickets.
The innings was set for an intriguing conclusion as Healesville’s experienced pairing of Ash Hamer and Brandon D’Amore started the rebuild, while the Eagles attack were proving extremely difficult to score off.
Unfortunately, that’s where play stopped.
Yarra Junction will be hoping for early wickets next week to limit the Bloods to a chase-able total, while the batsmen will need to combine a cautious approach, avoiding a collapse, with some scoring intent to keep themselves a step ahead in this contest.
In Finger Trophy games, the interest laid in the Grand Final rematch between Coldstream and Gruyere.
Coldstream have been flying thus far this season competing strongly against both divisions, while Gruyere have been slow to kick into gear, but their season in beginning an upward turn.
Coldstream batted first, and the contest between bat and ball was intense.
Neither team could break free from the other as experienced campaigners fought tooth and nail.
The Crocs’ experienced top order could quite crack it for a decent partnership, but they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over while avoiding any serious disasters.
When rain intervened, both teams would’ve been comfortable with the score line at 3/98.
The first hour next week will be a key indicator of whether this game can push towards a result for either team.
Hoddles Creek had the better of their interrupted first day against Wandin removing most of the Bulldogs’ top order.
Batting first, Wandin absorbed the loss of two early wickets and a solid partnership between Danny Alderman (33) and Rhett Smith (32) had the Bulldogs back on track and pushing towards a strong total.
Hoddles Creek turned the contest back in their favour with crucial wickets to Liam Rowe (3/39) and Aidan Robertson (2/16) through the middle order.
When play has halted, Wandin had limped to 6/111, courtesy in part to some middle order runs to David Wallace.
This game is well poised for a result.
If Hoddles Creek get through the tail cheaply, then they would be well on their way to securing a morale boosting victory, while the advanced nature of the game does give Wandin’s bowlers enough time to press for a victory despite being behind in the contest.
In the final game of Finger Trophy, Woori Yallock were well poised to push for a significant total against Launching Place.
Despite losing a plethora of playing talent in recent years, the Tigers still have their workhorse, Mick Dwyer (42 not out), at the top of their order.
Once again, Dwyer has been consistently going about his business this season.
His unbeaten innings helped guide the visitors to a strong position of 3/116 when stumps were drawn.
The Launch bowlers did their best to keep things in check, and regular wickets ensured they would stay within arm’s reach of the Tigers.
Both teams seem some way from victory, but some bold play on day two could change that quickly.
For both teams, their bowlers will have the biggest say.
DJ Strachan Shielf & RA Finger Trophy
Yarra Glen 1/93 (J. O’Donnell 34* (ret. hurt), B. Ricci 23*, A. Cowan 18*, A. Humphrey 1/19) v Warburton Millgrove; Seville 2/111 (L. Aitkins 44*, L. McGookin 43, J. Williams 1/28, K. Jones 1/31) v Mount Evelyn; Healesville 3/68 (S. Hamer 40, K. Bomford 3/15) v Yarra Junction (39 overs); Hoddles Creek v Wandin 6/111 (D. Alderman 33, R. Smith 32, L. Rowe 3/39, A. Robertson 2/16); Coldstream 3/98 (M. Pezzimenti 38*, A. Cummins 13*) v Gruyere District; Woori Yallock 3/116 (M. Dwyer 42*, D. Worlley 28, J. Lawrence 1/10) v Launching Place (36 overs).
C Grade
Seville 7/129 (T. Spargo 55, T. Bissells 35, C. Doyle 3/23 B. Jones 2/49 v Mount Evelyn (43 overs); Warburton-Millgrove 2/140 (S. Ablett 57*, A. Nelson 41, F. Saurine 35) v Wandin; Healesville 2/78 (B. Horner 32, A. Beath 1/8) v Yarra Glen (29 overs); Yarra Junction 4/93 (R. Turner 31*, R. Thompson 2/15) v Powelltown.
D Grade
Launching Place 8/108 (B. Carvill 45*, C. Winter-Annette 28, M. Sinnott 2/15 D Hummer 2/30) v Wandin; Coldstream 5/76 (D. Taylor 17*, S. Fawdry 3/7) v Healesville (41 overs); Yarra Junction 5/164 (S. Jordan 83, J. Bennett 34, R. Bean 28, C. Tanner 2/42) v Seville (44 overs); Mount Evelyn d Hoddles Creek (forfeit).
One Day Grade
Gruyere 10/55 (N. Waxiel 31*, N. Dunn 2/3, B. Spencer 2/6) def by Woori Yallock 4/69 (N. Dunn 24, D. Spencer 14, L. Rogers 1/0); Warburton-Millgrove 5/138 drew with Yarra Junction (washed out); Seville 1/73 (A. Botrell 49*, J. Arnold 28*, G. Dash 1/6) d Healesville 4/59 (L. English 21*, R. Nolan 17, S. Dunne 2/4); Marysville 5/113 (C. Piggott 40*, L. Ronalds 20, B. Green 2/9 v Powelltown (wash out).
Under 16s
Launching Place 2/229 (M. Bradley 69*, R. Thomas 51*, J. Birnie 50*, D. Pezzimenti 1/39) d Coldstream 3/205 (D. Vaux 50*, M. Pezzimenti 53*, L. Parker 1/22, C. Parker 1/16); Warburton-Millgrove 6/97 (D. Cerveri 34*, L. English 2/10) def by Healesville 9/121 (L. Chandler 33, B. Neilson 2/4); Seville 9/136 (J. Beri 63*, M. Hardy 18, E. Van Beek 18*, C. Williams 2/11, R. Williams 2/17, B. Westaway 2/26) v Mount Evelyn (match abandoned due to poor weather); Yarra Junction v bye.
Under 14s
Hoddles Creek 8/130 (O. Simpson 42*, J. Fritzlaff 17, R. Hammond 3/12, D. Potter 1/1) d Launching Place-Mount Evelyn 9/96 (L. Shepherd 45*, G. Vukman 2/5, O. Simpson 2/6); Healesville 7/154 (S. Gebert 40*, D. Ebbels 40*, P. Huynh 2/10) d Warburton-Millgrove 149 (P. Huynh 40*, R. Gribrock 34, C. Dennis 2/9, C. Frazzetto 2/15); Yarra Glen 87 (B. Scott 18, Z. Vowles 17, T. Noar 2/7, S. Randal 2/6) v Coldstream 1/14 (Z. Vowles 1/2); Yarra Junction-Gruyere v bye.
Under 12s
Warburton-Millgrove 4/101 (Ryder 18, Elky 13, Mally 11, Kynon 1/10, Rory 1/17) d Woori Yallock 8/65 (Baylin 17, James 6, Jack 6, Sam 2/9, Ryder 1/2, Hudson 1/5); Healesville Red 4/105 (J. Johnson 26*, C. Nyko 24*, Banjo 2/16) d Marysville 7/15 (D. Nikva 3, B. Ralis 3/0, E. Nikevich 2/0); Healesville White 3/134 (J. Handasyde 29*, R. Leer 18*, N. Darvell 1/4) d Mt Evelyn 8/36 (N. Darvall 10, R. Lever 2/2, J. Handasyde 1/0); Seville 8/123 (H. Smith 26*, T. Scott 20, J. Hook 14, H. Murphy 12, Bill T3/15, Tom Mc 2/22) d Hoddles Creek 7/83 (Andrew W 25, Bill T 22, Tom McL 16, J.Barry 3/5, O. Nathan 2/15); Yarra Junction-Gruyere 6/76 (R. Lambie 20, N. Vassallo 7, Jase 3/4, Liam 1/1) def by Yarra Glen (Jase 16*, Liam 16*, Luke 13, R. Lambie 1/11, D. Tiley 1/11, C. Atkins 1/15).
Under 10s
Launching Place-Yarra Junction 79 (R. Bradley 8, R. O’Conner 4, Curtis 3/13, Cooper 1/6) def by Woori Yallock 105 (Blake 24, Brock 12, Archie 10, A.Bradley 2/12, X.Kuth 1/10); Hoddles Creek 3/93 (Max 14, Finn 6, Zane 1/1, Zac 1/5) def by Warburton 5/102, (Zane 15, Jan 12, Jack 1/8, Max 1/10); Healesville 1/171 (Darcy 48*, Asha 17*) d Launching Place 7/78 (Brianna 11, Hill 11, Asha 2/7, Darcy 2/8, Lucas 2/20); Coldstream 8/110 (Jace 23 Alasdair 15 Mitch 14 Alby 1/8 Jasper 1/9) v Seville 2/85 (Jasper 21, Joel 21, Alby 14, Alasdair 2/4, Riley 2/14, Lawson 1/10); Warburton Blue 6/27 (Sumba 12, Josh 10, Jas 3, Jamie 1/2, Austin 1/4, Dylan 1/4) v Wandin 5/59 (Jack Dixon 14, Jack M 10, Dylan 8, Sumba 2/7, Jas 2/15); Warburton Black 2/117 (Brock 27, Tom R 15, Jaiden 9, Steven 1/3, Alice 1/11) d Warburton Burras 8/64 (Steven 10, Aiden 8, Tom R 3/0, Jaiden 2/7, Jace 1/13); Hoddles Creek 3/93 (Max 14, Fin 6, Zane 1/1, Zack 1/6) def by Warburton White 5/102 (Zane 15, Jai 12, Zack 6).

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