A STEVE Spoljaric masterclass set up a comfortable victory for Turf 1 over Lyndale.
The Dales will be ruing the decision to send the Eagles in, as Spoljaric blasted an unbeaten 132 from 127 balls at the top of the order to drive Cranbourne to 3-225 from 40 overs.
Spoljaric’s knock featured 16 boundaries and three sixes, the four-time Wookey Medalist ably assisted by Jordan Cleland, who arrived at the crease with the score 3-69 and finished with 56 not out.
Lyndale never got going in reply and was rolled for 87 in the 32nd over, with only two of its top six reaching double figures.
Four Eagles snared two wickets each in an efficient performance that did nothing to harm their status as early premiership favourites.
Turf 3’s bowlers saved the blushes of their batsman as they successfully defended 84 against Doveton North.
Cranbourne fell into trouble early and, at 4-19, young pair Craig Hookey and Matt Dennerley combined to carry the score to 54, before the Eagles were eventually rolled for 84.
Steady wickets fell throughout the Lions’ chase but, at 7-64 and with only 21 needed, the game rested in the balance. Luke Kerford was thrown the ball and clinched the game for his side, ending with the impressive figures of 2-0 in 1.1 overs, one of five Eagles on the day to claim two wickets, as Doveton North fell 10 runs short, rolled for 74.
Turf 6 suffered a narrow defeat to Keysborough, falling eight runs short of their target of 143. After winning the toss and bowling, the Eagles finished Keysborough off in the 33rd over, with teenager Josh Rich the pick of the bowlers with 2-19 from his eight overs. Ben Ferrari-Mela came into the attack and cleaned up the tail, bagging 2-3.
Though Cranny preserved their wickets in pursuit of the total, they failed to keep up with the
required run rate, completing their overs with four wickets in hand but eight shy of the 143 needed for victory. Captain Dean Brown lead from the front with 35 and Ferrari-Mela backed up his effort with the pill and slapped 32 not out, but it wasn’t enough to carry the Eagles home.
Turf 7 opened their account with a big win over Hampton Park, led by a devastating ton from Ryan Jones. Cranbourne started shakily and was at one stage 2-9, but Jones steadied the ship before cutting loose, hitting the rope 22 times and clearing it another seven in his swashbuckling 163 not out as the Eagles finished with 6-246 from their 40 overs.
Jones proved his considerable football talent translates to the cricket pitch.
The pressure of runs on the board proved too much for Hampton Park as it was shot out for
130 in response. Ben Logonder kept it tight and dented the top order with 2-1 from four overs, supported by Sam Marinelli, who grabbed 2-10, as the Eagles claimed a comfortable 116-run win.
C Grade will be licking its wounds after a heavy defeat at the hands of Dingley. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Dingley recovered from 4-32 to post 8-162 from its 36 overs.
Youngster Luke Dinger bowled well to finish with the impressive figures of 4-17 from eight overs. Captain Patrick Beadel provided assistance with 3-24.
Cranbourne got nowhere near the 163 needed for victory, bundled out for just 52. Only Ben Redgen (12) and Jamie Love (10) reached double figures as the Eagles were routed inside 26 overs in a comprehensive defeat.
D Grade did not fare much better, sent in by Fountain Gate and rolled for 94. Ben Pobjie top scored for Cranbourne with 32 and veteran Murray Pratt showed fight in the lower order, grinding out 22. The Eagles applied pressure early but the Gators eventually ran down their total with four wickets left in the shed. Kiran Ravi was the pick of the bowlers with 3-18 in addition to completing a run out, one of three in the innings.