COOMA has fastened its grip on a spot in Goulburn Murray Cricket’s finals with a fighting two-run win over second side Moama on Saturday.
Despite a decisive win over Stanhope, fifth placed Tongala now has to beat Rochester Tigers and rely on Stanhope upsetting Cooma to be a chance to grab a spot in the finals in the remaining two day home-and-away round starting this Saturday.
Defending a first day score of 163, Cooma’s bowlers grabbed the last two Moama wickets for no runs to bring off the upset win at Moama.
Number 10 batsmen Graeme Mitchell looked set to steer Moama to victory with a fighting 40 but was last man out with the home side needing two to tie the game and three to win.
Cooma can thank skipper Michael Hill for the win, he produced a matchwinning burst of 5/32 off 14 overs with five maidens to tear the heart of the Moama batting list.
Hill was well supported by Liam Barrett with 2/24 off 6.1 overs and Will Jackson and Brad Power with a wicket each.
Chasing Tongala’s healthy 9/279, Stanhope’s batsmen succumbed in 55.2 overs for just 104.
Only Steve Hall (23) and Matt Evans put up resistance as Matt Ohlsen and Adam Nunn took control with the ball from the start of the Stanhope innings.
Ohlsen claimed 4/17 off 9.2 overs and was well supported by Nunn with 2/20 off 16 overs and Clayton Thompson with 2/21 off six overs.
Kyabram Fire Brigade’s star allround recruit Mick Mattingly stepped up again to engineer a massive morale-boosting win for his side over the previously undefeated Rochester United.
The fast medium captured 6/34 off 12.4 overs to decimate the United batting list for just 107 in 38.4 overs and throw the premiership race wide open.
Sam Kershaw picked up two wickets and Brodie Unwin and Henry Charlton one each to complete the demolition.
The win lifted The Flames into second place ahead of Moama who dropped to third with its loss to Cooma.
In the other two games which had no impact on ladder positions Echuca cruised to an easy win over Echuca South while BLU, defending a score of 166, routed Rochester Tigers for just 58 in 25 overs.
It was the Barrett-Holman Show in Cooma’s 58 run over third placed Moama.
A grader Steve Barrett, returning after injury, clubbed 98 off 118 balls with 12 fours and a six while Tom Holman made 44 off 49 balls to help Cooma to 166 off 37.3 overs.
They put on 120 for the fifth wicket after Cooma had plummeted to 5/24. Then Sam Barbagallo with 3/23, Brad Goodman, Andrew Ciavarella and Justin Wickham, all with two wickets, had Moama back in the pavilion inside 32 overs for 108.
Second placed Fire Brigade lost just two wickets rounding up Echuca’s score of 8/92 in 22 overs.
Young opener Anthony DePasquale continued his fine season with a 47 that included five boundaries, Trevor Watts chipped in with an unbeaten 20 steered the Flames home. This was after Jarrod Chapman had bagged 3/14 and Rikki Busch 2/15 to put the brakes on the Echuca scoring.
Top side Northern United was far too good for Girgarre. In reply to Girgarre’s moderate score of 112, Northern United lost only two wickets securing the win. Scott Fitzallen with 28 and Jonathan Sherritt (24) were the best of the Girgarre batsmen.
Bottom side Echuca South just had the better of Tongala to notch their first win for the season.
Nathan Cornwell picked up 4/35 as Echuca South reached 8/142 but in reply Tongala came up six runs short with 7/136.
Elijah Gillie with 35 and Mark Owen with 32 were the main contributors with the bat for Tongala.
The loss has left Tongala in fifth spot and results must go its way in the final round for it to be a chance to play finals.
In the remaining game Rochester United was too good for sister side Tigers.
■ALL C grade and D grade games were called off on Friday night when the temperature was tipped to reach 38 degrees on Saturday.