For Melton, it wasn’t just a win – it was a much-needed boost for the Lions in Victorian Sub-district Cricket Association’s east-west.
One of the form teams before Christmas, the Lions were winless in 2017 going into their clash with Yarraville.
They started the match well, their best performance with the bat for the season, amassing 6-240 on day one.
After a dismal bowling performance last time out, the Lions were keen to make amends on Saturday to earn a return to the winners’ list.
Yarraville started well, was cruising at 0-74 and in control of the game at tea, despite needing more than five runs an over for victory.
Enter Matthew Stead.
Playing in the first XI for the first time this season, he took three wickets and Brad Jones picked up another as the Eagles went from 1-117 to 5-119.
Lions playing coach Nathan Geisler said the focus then turned to getting the wicket of in-form Matthew Love – or at least restricting him.
“They batted well until tea and we knew Love was the key wicket,” he said.
“We got quick wickets in succession after tea and we focused on keeping Love down the other end and bowling to the new batsmen.
“I played with Lovey at Footscray and I know what he can do. He batted well.”
Love made 132, but he had little support from his teammates, with Mali Pereira the only other player to pass 20 and seven batsmen failing to make double figures.
The loss of Love with 43 runs needed for victory ended the Eagles’ chances.
Yarraville was bowled out for 204. Stead took 6-44.
“He came in and played his role,” Geisler said of Stead. “It was good for him and, hopefully, he will take some confidence out of the performance.
“He’s a different spinner to Dylan Clarke. The conditions helped him and he took his opportunity.”
The win couldn’t have come at a better time for the Lions, with a finals spot on the line. They have moved back up to sixth with a four-point gap on seventh.
Things won’t get any easier for the Lions when they face ladder leader Williamstown in a two-day match that will be followed by a one-day match against second-placed Balwyn.
Geisler is hoping the whole side takes confidence from the Yarraville win.
“Ideally we’ll beat both Willy and Balwyn,” he said. “That’s the challenge.
“We’ll take confidence into the game from this win.
“We know if we play well, we can beat these sides above us.
“Our finals hopes are in our own hands.”