By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove and Barrabool played out a thrilling tie in the final round of the year of Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association A1 Grade.
The tie meant Barrabool is still winless after being one of the sides to beat in early season predictions.
For Ocean Grove, the three points would probably have felt like a win, considering the hectic finish of the match.
Grove batted first and got off to a bright start with Fletcher Long finding form and Shaun Fankhauser continuing his consistent season. The pair put on 87 for the first wicket before Long fell for a well-made 46 off 71 deliveries.
Fankhauser made a delightful 60 from 78, but the Grubbers lost their way, losing four wickets for four runs before Mick Thornton chipped in with 26 not out from 43 and Dan Roddis made 18 from 24.
A final total of 7-166 was competitive, but well short of what was expected after such a good start.
Barrabool’s Mr Consistent, Nathan Findlay, snared 4-31.
In reply, Barrabool was 5-51 and staring at another defeat, but the middle order rallied.
With eight needed from the final over and then the scores tied with two balls and two wickets remaining, it looked like it was Barrabool’s game for the taking.
But two run outs from the final two balls of Thornton’s over meant the two teams had to share the points in a thriller to close out the year.
Thornton capped off a great game taking 2-28 from eight and is developing into that middle order batter and bowler that Ocean Grove has been crying out for.
Collendina defied its critics to beat Queenscliff in a huge upset.
The Cobras reached triple figures for the first time this season, but only just, batting out 40 overs for 8-109.
Justin Miller (42) and Nathan Frye (34) were superb in rescuing Collendina’s innings.
In reply, Queenscliff was cruising at 3-74, but medium pacer Dean Britt entered the fray and took control.
Britt took 5-15 to destroy the Coutas’ middle and lower order. They managed 98 all out in the 38th over.
There’s a lot to like about this Collendina side. Despite its failure with the bat, this side never gives in and will cause sides trouble after Christmas.
Anglesea firmed as premiership favourite by disposing of yet another challenger.
This time it was Jan Juc as the Seas batted first and made 8-157 thanks mainly to Brett Harding (42 off 65) and Sam Weight (34 off 57). Openers Ned Cooper (20) and Ty Norman (19) continued their consistent form with the willow.
Gun Sharks fast bowler Nicky Smith made a welcome return in the sky blue cap to grab 3-21 from eight quality overs.
With Dale Kerr absent from the bowling crease, Anglesea needed someone to stand up and it was Jacob Nolan who bowled with venom early on to grab 3-19 and slowies Joe Lynch (4-15) and Brett Venables (2-17) did the work into the breeze.
Jan Juc could only muster 67 in reply and has a lot of work to do to challenge the Seas in March.
Inverleigh took advantage of St Leonards’ lack of batting form with a 48-run win.
The Kookaburras batted first and found the going tough against the Saints’ consistent new-ball attack of Cam Egan and Chris Hockey.
They were all out for 118 in the 39th over and St Leonards would have fancied its chances particularly with gun bat Andrew Spengler back in the team.
However, only Kale Hoggins (21) got to double figures as St Leonards suffered another embarrassing batting performance to be all out for 70.
Nick Platt was superb, taking 3-10 from eight immaculate overs for Inverleigh.