By Justin Flynn
Collendina sits a game and percentage outside the Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association top four going into the Christmas/New Year break.
The Cobras had the chance to close the gap on the top four against the previously winless Barwon Heads, but were completely outplayed, while missing the bowling expertise of Charlie Lamb and Jye Hearps and the batting of Ben Ricardo.
Co-coach Nathan Walter said he was “pretty shattered” with the loss.
“We have been off the past month really,” he said.
“We see ourselves as a top four side when we have everyone available. Missing Jye, Charlie and Ricardo hurts big but we still need to be better.
“We will come back after Christmas and hopefully get a couple of wins early and get us back in the mix.”
The Seagulls won the toss and batted first on a perfect day for cricket at Collendina.
Matthew Bode and Ryan Binder looked in good touch early, but Craig Goodger rose to the occasion, trapping Binder in front and then chimed in with two more scalps to have the Cobras on top.
A timely 27 from James Hodder and then a match-winning stand between Lachlan Hooper (48 not out) and skipper Kane Atkins (26 not out) saw the Heads get out of trouble and into a winning position, being 5/163 at the close of the innings.
Goodger was the standout with 3/28 while Rob Stonehouse removed the dangerous Bode for 35 and was economical with 1/16 from eight overs.
The Cobras lost their best two batsmen, Nathan Walter and Curtly Balshaw, for ducks and eventually laboured to 9/96 from 40 overs, despite Stonehouse (26 not out) and all-rounder Andy Higgins (24) doing their bit.
Jack Johnstone (3/18) and Luke Schilling (2/16) were the stars for the Gulls while Darcy Hewitt picked up two late scalps.
The win put Barwon Heads just percentage from avoiding relegation with St Leonards losing heavily.
In B2 Grade, Collendina will enter the break in third spot after losing to the previously winless Inverleigh.
Inverleigh made 8/166 with Dean Britt (3/23) and Scott Grant (2/23) doing their best to keep the total down.
Izaak Terhorst made a defiant 46, but the Cobras were bowled out for 122.
Dina’s C Grade side will start the new year in ninth spot after thrashing Wallington.
Jake Gittins (3/14) and Clynt Combridge (3/18) were the main destroyers with the Wallabies making 99.
The Snakes chased the total down in just 11 overs thanks to a whirlwind unbeaten 73 by Garry Wingrave.
Collendina is a game and percentage out of the top in D Grade after disposing of Little River.
Justin Miller (4/11) and Chris Pitfield (4/30) made sure the Redbacks could only muster 115.
The Cobras were helped by the Little River bowlers, who sent down 15 no-balls and 11 wides and Richard Brown, who made 18.
Collendina had to settle for a draw against Ocean Grove in round six.
Rain prevented the match from being completed after Grove made 5/177. The wickets were shared around but Rob Stonehouse was economical, conceding just six runs from six overs.
The rain might have been a blessing for Collendina as it was in early trouble at 3/41 with Nathan Walter (21) top scoring.
Collendina got a full game in against Winchelsea in B2 Grade and came home with the points.
Dina made 173 batting first, with Dean Britt (71) again getting runs while Sam Tucker made 24.
Winch then replied with 8/163 before the overs ran out. Cam Kavaliunas took 3/25 and Britt snared 3/35.
Craig Jeffrey smacked another century for the Cobras’ C Grade side. Jeffrey took his run tally to 277 this season with 117 against Portarlington.
Dina made 6/235 with the highlight being a 126-run stand between Jeffrey and Zac Badrock (52). Port was 1/46 in reply before rain ended the game.
Collendina was probably saved by the rain in D Grade against a powerful Portarlington team. Port made 181 (Cam Gourley 88, Paul Donald 3/14) and Dina was reeling at 3/16 as the rain came.