Eynesbury’s finals hopes are in its own hands after a stunning performance from Hayden Castle helped move the Eagles back into the Gisborne and District Cricket Association B-grade top four.
Castle did the job with the bat in both innings and with the ball in between to guide the Eagles to a solid win against Gisborne on Saturday.
Castle’s brother and Eagles’ coach Luke Castle said it was a much-needed return to form for his brother.
“He stood up like a captain should,” he said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way ‘H’ played. He hasn’t had the best form this year, but he’s coming good at the right time.”
After a disappointing day one with the bat, bowled out for 163, the Eagles took back control late to have the Dragons 8-102 at stumps.
It took just three and half overs on day two for the Eagles to finish the job.
Hayden finished with five wickets and Luke wasn’t far behind him with four.
“Obviously we had a batting collapse on day one to go from 2-130 to all out for 160,” Luke said.
“It was one of the quickest spells I’d seen from H all season and the fielders threw themselves around to back him up.”
The Eagles then set about getting some runs on the board to get some more points from the game and close the gap to the top-four teams.
Hayden continued his stunning form, making 102 as the Eagles finished 4-230. He made 73 in the Eagles’ first innings.
All but one of the batsmen who got a bat made starts, which Luke said was a good sign for the side.
“Tristan [Francis] only played the second week of the match and made some runs,” he said.
“Every time he has batted he hasn’t failed and is really good to rely on. We haven’t had him against the good sides and we don’t have the depth to cover him.”
The Eagles’ win and East Sunbury losing to Wallan means the Eagles now sit in fourth spot, 1.03 points ahead of the Thunder heading into the final round.
On paper, the Eagles have the easier final round match, facing second bottom side Macedon, while the Thunder faces top side St Anthonys.
However the Eagles will be without both Castle brothers for the match.
Luke said he hoped the other players can stand up and do the job in their absence.
“We have been really good at standing up when ‘H’ hasn’t been playing well,” he said.
“The other guys have stood up then and hopefully they can do it again this round.”
St Anthonys will be looking to seal top spot with a win against the Thunder. The Saints sit 0.26 points ahead of Wallan.
Meanwhile, Bacchus Marsh has sealed top spot in the McIntyre Cup with a big win against Riddell.
Resuming at 0-32 in reply to the Bombers 130, the Bulls were five wickets down when they hit the winning runs.
The Bulls were 5-177 when both sides decided to end the match.
James Lidgett finished the game on 74 not out.