Grubbers attempt finals berth

Paul Jubber made a fine 80 as Ocean Grove took control of the game against Portarlington. 165373 Pictures: JAMIE CULLUM

Ocean Grove can seal an A Grade finals berth this Saturday providing it can defend 264 on day two of its clash against Portarlington.
The equation is simple for Ocean Grove: win and play finals, lose and the door is ajar for Drysdale and Anglesea on a superior percentage to leapfrog the Grubbers and make the top four.
Fourth-placed Ocean Grove has not played A grade finals since 2012/13.
The Grubbers were in a strong position at stumps on day one where they finished at 7/264 from 75 overs on the bigger confines at Ray Menzies Oval.
Opener Huon Bertino (72) and playing coach Paul Jubber (80) scored valuable half-centuries and shared in a 70-run second-wicket stand.
It was Bertino’s top score in his first season at Ocean Grove and he said his teammates had all flourished with good contributions this season.
“The word for us for most of the year that ‘Jubbs’ (Jubber) has put up forward is ‘contributions’,” Bertino said.
“The last six weeks there isn’t one person in that team that hasn’t contributed.”
Bertino and a patient Dylan Thorley (24) put on 71 for the first wicket before the Grubbers accelerated the run rate to be 1/122 at the tea break.
BPCA leading run scorer Michael Kenneady (36) passed 500 runs for season with another handy contribution.
Portarlington’s bowlers toiled hard and by tea break the visitors had sent down 44 overs.
“The ground is in terrible condition and the guys did a great job considering,” Portarlington captain Darren Duff said.
Young Demon left arm pace bowler Devlin Foott claimed his third four-wicket haul in 2016/17 to finish with 4/91 from 30 overs.
“Dev worked tirelessly and deserved his bag of wickets,” Ocean Grove coach Paul Jubber said.
Portarlington requires 265 from 75 overs for victory this Saturday.
Jubber is confident the Grubbers first day score would be a tough chase for the Demons.
“We feel this score will be hard to chase but they have some outstanding batsmen in their line-up,” he said.
Duff felt 265 was achievable as seventh-placed Portarlington chases its fourth victory in five matches.
“(It’s a) gettable total given the ground is so difficult to field on,” Duff said.
A four wicket haul from Jake Taylor saw Ocean Grove bowl out Queenscliff for 247 from its 75 overs in B Grade. Taylor took 4/47 from 16 overs, while Fletcher Long (2/38) and skipper Lucas Baulch (2/15) mopped up the Coutas’ tail.
An unbroken seventh-wicket 64-run stand from veteran Craig D’Arcy (46 not out) and junior Noah Cunningham (25 not out) lifted Ocean Grove C grade to 7/181 from its 60 overs in their two-day game against Portarlington.
Earlier in the innings Greg Scrapa (36) and son Nathan (25) made handy contributiions, while teammate Ben Hanson chimed in with 28.
In D Grade Jan Juc defeated Ocean Grove by five wickets in their one-day clash at Connewarre.
Batting first the Grubbers were all out for 148 and in reply the Sharks won with five overs to spare to finish at 5/151 from 35 overs.
In other news, the Ocean Grove Cricket Club celebrated its second Annual Pink Stumps Day at the Shell Road sports pavilion on Saturday 25 February.
The Pink Stumps Day is a fundraiser for the Jane McGrath Foundation.