Grand United moved a step closer to sealing the VTCA west A1 minor premiership on Saturday.
The Gorillas overcame Melton Centrals in a top-two showdown at Blackwood Reserve, winning by 22 runs, shaking up the positions in the top four and climbing to top spot.
With two of their final three games against the bottom two sides, it will be an almighty upset for Grand United not to at least host a home semi final this summer.
“We’re going well at the moment,” Gorillas’ veteran Dean Comensoli said. “We’re playing good cricket and starting to get a good bit of momentum behind us going into the finals.”
If Grand United is the team to beat, it wouldn’t be much of a margin between them and the rest of the flag contenders.
Four other sides – Melton Centrals, Seabrook, Williamstown Imperials and Williamstown Colts – are hot on their heels, so even the slightest advantage is going to be crucial.
“Getting that top two is fairly important for that home semi final,” Comensoli said.
Grand United bossed the top-of-the-table clash from the outset. As an early surprise, the free-wheeling Matthew Frew was moved into the opening position to good effect.
Frew made 32 before he was run out, featuring in a 91-run opening stand with Comensoli (62).
“We changed the order around and put Matthew Frew to open and play a few shots early, while the ball was hard, so we got off to a bit of a flyer,” Comensoli said.
“We built the platform to launch off.”
Comensoli and Frew have only themselves to blame for not wreaking even more havoc. Frew’s knock came to an end when he was run out.
“That’s what happens when you’ve got two blokes in their 40s running together,” Comensoli said laughing.
Grand United went on to make 186 off 39.5 overs – one ball short of their allotment.
Daniel Le-Paez made a valuable 33, while Carl Comensoli produced 18 down the order.
“As the white ball gets softer, it gets difficult to score,” Dean Comensoli said. “We still didn’t get the score that we set out to get.”
Melton Centrals moved confidently to 3-111.
While Steven Robertson was at the crease, Centrals appeared to be in with a huge chance of winning the game.
But when Robertson was dismissed for 61 with Centrals on 4-134, it sparked a major batting collapse, and the home side lost 7-30.
Chief destroyer for Grand United was speedster Wayne Donaldson, who took 5-32 off 7.1 overs, including the prized wicket of Robertson.
“He’s been on fire,” said Comensoli, who played a key part himself, with 3-29.
“He got 17 wickets in four games, and I would’ve thought 13 of them would’ve been bowled.
“He’s the backbone of our bowling attack – a genuine quick.”
Grand United will go into its two-day battle with Williamstown Congs at JR Parsons Reserve this Saturday as hot favourites.