East Sunbury’s claim on the fourth and last finals’ spot continues to grow in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association B-grade competition.
The three top sides have played a class above for most of the season, meaning the fight has been for fourth spot.
And East Sunbury, which is in fourth just four points clear of an improving Ashfield, is determined to stay there.
It did its ambitions no harm with a comprehensive win against Riddell at the weekend.
Thunder president Mark Wilkins said the win almost didn’t happen because of the rain.
Under rules, if 30 minutes of play had been lost the game would have finished at 6pm and the time could not have be made up. A delay of less than 30 minutes means the teams can continue to play until the overs are bowled.
“There was a delay of 29 minutes so the boys were lucky to get the win in the end,” Wilkins said.
“If they had played to 6pm it would have finished in a draw.”
The Thunder batted first, making 7-197.
Shannon McDorman top-scored with 45, and Lachlan Brne made 38. The top six all made starts.
The Thunder then bowled the Bombers out for 106. Jack Dillon took 4-8 to be the pick of the bowlers.
Wilkins said while finals were definitely on the agenda, the club hadn’t deferred from the long-term plan of pushing youth through the sides.
Evan Wilkins made his first XI debut on Saturday, while youngster Liam Watson played his fourth first XI game and first for the season.
“We’ve got a really young side with a lot of 17 to 20 year-olds,” Wilkins said.
“We don’t expect to knock houses down this season, but we want to be competitive and pushing for McIntyre Cup in the next few years.”
The Thunder’s next three matches are against sides outside the top four, before facing the top two sides in last two rounds. Wilkins said winning the next few games would put them in a good position.
Several players who were missing from the top two sides at the weekend will add more depth when they return to the side, including captain-coach Jessy Carroll, wicketkeeper Keith Osborne, Jake Calleja and Brayden Jinks.
“We’ve got a good draw on paper and some quite winnable games coming up,” Wilkins said.
“We should win more than we lose if you’re going by the ladder, but position doesn’t mean a thing.
“Everything going to plan, we’ll make finals. We’re not going in thinking we’ll win it, but who knows, we snuck in and lost the grand final by one run a couple of years ago.”
In other results, Wallan ensured it remained on top with an easy win against Bacchus Marsh.
St Anthonys accounted for Eynesbury. The Eagles made 8-127, which the Saints passed two wickets down.
Macedon keeps the pressure on the top four, defeating Kyneton, while the match between Ashfield and Gisborne ended up a draw due to rain.