By Justin Flynn
Ocean Grove kept its finals hopes alive with a win against St Leonards in round 10.
The Saints won the toss and sent Grove in but found wickets hard to come by.
A 65-run second-wicket partnership between Shaun Fankhauser (56) and Pat McKenna (20) gave the innings momentum and Mick Thornton put on the finishing touches with an unbeaten 69 that included five sixes.
Grove’s 5/222 was helped by a staggering 25 wides and five no balls from the Saints’ attack.
St Leonards started the run chase in fine style with a 75-run opening partnership. Andrew Spengler took his season’s run tally to 358 with a fine 76 from 51 deliveries that included 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Once Spengler departed, Grove regained control and was able to bowl St Leonards out for 180 in the 33rd over.
Jake Taylor took 4/39 and Fletcher Keck returned the figures of 3/47 for Ocean Grove.
Ocean Grove cruised past St Leonards in B1 Grade.
The Saints made a competitive 7/153 with Simon Lees backing up his century with a fine 57.
Sam McGlynn (3/28) was the most successful bowler and Jackson Kent was tidy with 2/10 from eight overs.
The Grubbers reached the total with nine overs to spare thanks largely to David Turner’s undefeated 70 and Nathan Madden’s 44.
Grove won a thriller against Drysdale in D Grade.
Batting first, Ocean Grove made 9/152 with John Giuffrida top scoring with 37 and Leon Mallia making an important 21 at number 10. Rob Friend bowled well for the Hawks with 3/10 from eight overs.
David Willis gave Drysdale every chance of winning with a well-made 72, but was eventually bowled out for 149 with one ball left in the innings. Giuffrida capped off a good game with three wickets.
Rain saved the day for Ocean Grove in A1 Grade against Barrabool in round nine.
Barrabool made an imposing 8/206 with Jake Taylor snaring 4/24.
In reply, Grove was struggling at 4/64 from 20 overs when the rain came, forcing both sides to share the points. Shaun Fankhauser looked in good form for 26.
Barrabool took the points in B1 Grade. The Bulls made 8/123 batting first with Taylor Harvey putting the brakes on the innings with 2/12 from eight overs. Nathan Taylor made 40 in the run chase, but Grove fell eight runs short.
Grove gave Wallington a hiding in C Grade. Craig Byron (4/12) and Tahj Wirth (3/23) were the architects in bowling Wallington out for 50. Sam McGlynn was not out 25 as Grove reached the target in 13 overs, ensuring an early finish.
Jan Juc defeated Ocean Grove in D Grade. Ajay Holland top scored with 40 of Grove’s 7/149, but Juc cruised to victory in just 23 overs.