By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove’s A1 Grade finals hopes are still alive after a spirited win against cross-town rivals Collendina.
Grove will play finals if it beats relegation-bound Barwon Heads in the final round tomorrow and Jan Juc loses to Collendina or Queenscliff loses to St Leonards. If both teams lose and Grove wins, it will finish third and avoid undefeated Anglesea in a semi-final.
A third-placed finish would be Grove’s preference. Avoiding red-hot premiership fancy Anglesea would be a major bonus.
It would mean a match-up against Barrabool, which has clearly been the second-best side this season, but the Bulls suffered an unexpected loss to a vastly improved St Leonards on Saturday.
Grove batted first against the Cobras with Shaun Fankhauser making a sparkling 56 while Pat McKenna (28) and Mick Thornton (29) played well.
A final score of 8/181 was a reward for some intelligent batting.
Dina made a great attempt at the run chase, but youngster Fletcher Keck stepped in to take four valuable wickets while paceman Lindon Giuffrida and skipper Paul Jubber each chimed in with two.
The Cobras were all out for 156 and their season is now over, but they can do their bitter rivals a favour tomorrow by beating Jan Juc.
In B1 Grade, Ocean Grove sits in fourth spot going into the final round needing only to win to play finals.
The Grubbers are three points in front of Barwon heads and the two teams meet each other in the final round. The winner will play finals. The loser will miss out.
Grove disposed of sixth placed Drysdale in convincing fashion, giving it confidence going into the do or die final-round match.
Youngster Bailey Le Maistre made a fine 29 at No. 10 and featured in a 39-run last wicket stand with fellow young gun Flynn Hardiman (12).
Earlier, Nathan Down (30) and David Turner (25) made sure Grove got to a respectable total.
Needing 172 for victory, Drysdale fell well short with Ben Hughes (4/32), Le Maistre (2/7) and Hardiman (2/25) getting the job done.
Ocean Grove has virtually guaranteed itself a home final in C Grade after wiping St Leonards off the park.
Grove looks likely to finish in second spot as its batsmen enjoyed the chance to bat a full 40 overs.
Craig Byron made a fine 80 as the Grubbers made a commanding 7/298. Zack Carmody (47), Ben Hanson (41) and Matt Bellingham (41) also joined in on the run fest.
St Leonards started the chase well with Luke Roberts (30) and Ash Harvey (29) getting the side off to a bright start, but the total was too much and they fell for 135 with off-spinner Troy Wiseman taking three wickets.
Ocean Grove was forced to forfeit its D Grade clash against Newcomb.