Hoppers Crossing is proving to be the giant-killer of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association north-west first XI.
The Cats beat the eventual premiers in each of their first two seasons in the competition and have now knocked off top side Melton.
“We’ve beaten the premier and now the top side in every year that we’ve played,” a proud Cats captain-coach Greg Kennedy said.
Incredibly, the eighth-ranked Hoppers Crossing will enter the final round of the season with a mathematical chance of reaching the finals. The Cats will have to beat Williamstown, who, you guessed it, profited from the Cats victory over Melton and moved to the top of the ladder.
If they can pull off the upset over Williamstown, the Cats will also need Yarraville and local rivals Werribee to lose to leap-frog those sides into the top six.
Kennedy was just excited to see his team take another big scalp in Melton and was looking forward to the game against Williamstown.
“We sang the song with gusto and we’re proud of our performance,” he said.
“We now have to beat the new top side next week and rely on other results to go our way.”
Hoppers Crossing was never out of its comfort zone in Saturday’s win over Melton.
The Cats were set a victory target of 136 and methodically picked off the runs.
Kennedy even decided to declare on 8-202, holding a lead of 67, in an audacious outright bid that he described as a “one in a million” chance, but was eventually denied by bad light.
“There was a tree at one end behind the bowler and [Brandon] Diplock went around the wicket and the batsman said he couldn’t see the ball coming out of that tree,” Kennedy said.
“We offered to bowl over the wicket, but the umpires deemed the ball would still be coming out of that tree, then we offered to bowl off spin, but the umpire still deemed the tree to be an issue. It was certainly unlikely for us to bowl them out in 26 overs, but we thought we’d like the opportunity.”
The first innings win was secured on the back of some smart batting.
Cameron Nicol applied the grit and determination at the top of the order with 23 before Will Partington-Gardner (60), Brett Smith (22), Justin Goegan (36) and first gamer Bryce Stuart (23) brought it home.
Partington-Gardner’s knock was the difference between the two sides.