Darley’s slim finals hopes remain alive in the Ballarat Cricket Association after a big win against Brown Hill on Saturday.
After losing their first five matches, the Lions have been fighting to move up the ladder.
They claimed first-innings points on day one by dismissing Brown Hill for 82, declaring at 1-86 and heading into day two with a lead of four.
On Saturday, their hopes of an outright win, to help close that gap on the top four, were dashed.
The Lions got off to the perfect start with the ball, having Brown Hill in trouble at 4-45.
The good news stopped there for the Lions, with Brown Hill batting through to finish 4-132.
Lions captain-coach Michael Alexander said it was disappointing not to claim the full 10 points, but he knew it was going to be difficult.
He said Brown Hill had lost its previous game outright, so its players would have been desperate to avoid another.
“We ended up a fair bit away from it in the end,” he said “The wicket did flatten out a bit and we didn’t get there at the end. We gave ourselves every opportunity and the bowlers bowled well to get the result on day one.”
Nine bowlers rolled their arms over for the Lions, with Ben Longhurst, Richard Moore, Bradley Barnes and Hasitha Wickramasinghe taking the wickets.
The Lions are in seventh spot, 16 points behind North Ballarat.
With only two matches left, the maximum amount of points available to Darley is 20 points. That means the Lions need at least one outright win, maybe two, and other results to go their way.
Alexander said North Ballarat’s outright win the previous round had really hurt their chances.
He said that after their poor start to the season, they had let slip other chances to move up the ladder.
“We’re relying on other results,” he said. “We dropped our first five games and we did the majority of that without the imports.
“When we had them, we had opportunities against Golden Point and Buninyong and we let ourselves down.
“We’ve played some really good cricket and some poor stuff. Eighty per cent in games has been good, but the 20 per cent has cost us, especially in the one-dayers.”
The Lions will this week face ladder leader Mt Clear.
Alexander said they would continue to make sure their focus was on the game at hand, not the ladder position.
“We can only control what we can control,” he said. “We want to finish with two wins and see what happens.”
North Ballarat, Mt Clear, Golden Point and East Ballarat were the other winners on Saturday.