GCA - Swifts Great Western has turned up the heat in its bid to claim back top spot on the Grampians Cricket Association ladder, easily defeating Pomonal in their one day encounter at North Park on Saturday.
The clash had been touted as a danger game for the Combine, with Pomonal capable of producing upsets when everything clicks.
It did look to be going Pomonal's way early, when Rick Oliver dismissed Combine opener Sam Cocks for just seven runs, but as has been the case for most of the season, the Tigers could not capitalise and a steady flow of runs soon saw the pendulum swing back the Combine's way.
Rick Peters and James Devery were the main destroyers, sharing a 57 run stand before Peters fell for 33.
Pomonal did manage to claim two more quick wickets, Al Mackay removing Devery for 37 and paceman Lee Oliver dismissing the dangerous Jacob Seeary for just six and suddenly a small run chase was in sight.
However, Jackson Dark steadied the ship and with support from another youngster in Tom Eckel, they saw the Combine total reach 5/185.
Dark was eventually dismissed for 63 runs, while Eckel remained not out on 26, the pair sharing what would eventually be a match winning 59 run partnership.
Pomonal's run chase started poorly when opener Lyndon Brown was dismissed without scoring and when Luke Jordan and Rick Oliver followed shortly after, the Tigers were in trouble at 3/30.
Jon Pollock (60) tried valiantly to keep the score flowing, but he was losing partners at a rapid rate.
Clayton Mackley did lend some support, but when he was dismissed for 16, it started a collapse.
Pomonal ended up losing 5/16 and had it not been for Pollock’s knock, along with a late barrage from Lee Oliver (23), the story would have been a lot worse, Pomonal eventually being dismissed for 152.
Tom McCord was the best of the Combine bowlers, claiming 3/25 from his eight overs, while Jamie Bach and Tom Eckel claimed two wickets each.
Tatyoon survived a scare against Youth Club, who may have squandered a golden opportunity to end a long drought against the competition pacesetters.
Batting first, Youth Club lost opener Matt Delzotto (3) and Todd Matthews (0) early, but recovered thanks to a fine knock of 49 from youngster Ethan Marrow.
Marrow combined with Anthony Wilksch to put on 32 runs, before sharing a 72 run partnership with Jamie Solyom.
Solyom eventually became Matt Harris’ third victim for the afternoon. Youth Club fell away late as they were mesmerised by the spin of Harris, eventually closing their innings at 8/121. Harris finished the day with the impressive fi gures of 5/32 from his eight overs.
Defending a small total, Youth Club could not have asked for a better start from their opening bowlers Jarrod Illig and Steve Le Gassick, removing both Tatyoon openers Ash Maconachie and
Andrew McDougall when the score was just 10.
Andrew Marx, Andrew Ward and Darren Beer followed in quick succession, all falling to Le Gassick and when Jamie Solyom trapped Matt Harris in front, Tatyoon were reeling at 6/39.
Youth Club should have been able to close the innings out and claim the six points, but removing Lachie Laidlaw was proving a diffi cult task.
Laidlaw kept his composure while wickets continued to fall around him and in the end, he finished with a match winning 81 not out in Tatyoon’s total of 8/129.
Steve Le Gassick continued his good form with the ball for Youth Club, claiming 6/23 from his eight overs.
Buangor would have rated itself a chance against Aradale in the battle for third spot on the ladder, but fell short on the turf at Ararat’s Alexandra Oval.
Plenty of Aradale batsmen were able to make starts, but struggled to go on with it, as they limped to a total of 134 at the close of their innings.
Buangor would have been confident of reeling in the total, but wickets fell at a steady rate to see them dismissed for just 94 runs in reply.