ESKDALE emerged as a genuine premiership contender with an 81-run victory over Mount Beauty in a Cricket Albury-Wodonga district clash at Eskdale on Saturday.
With Mount Beauty cruising at 0-29 chasing 188, skipper Jamie Baude picked up the wicket of Will Betheras to trigger a collapse that saw the visitors slump to 4-31.
They never recovered from the debacle with Ashan Ranaweera (36) and Greg McLennan (25) the only batsmen to spend any length of time at the crease as the side was bundled out for 107.
“The boys just stuck at it,” Baude said. “We were defending a good score and got over the line in the end.
“McLennan was picking them up all right early but once we got a breakthrough we got on a bit of roll.”
Englishman Sam Drury was dismissed for a duck while Ranaweera, who made a century against Eskdale last season, was unable to push on with the job.
Baude was outstanding with 4-8 while Hayden Wilson provided outstanding back-up with 3-16.
The victory puts Eskdale on top of the CAW ladder with Baude believing Geoff Lowcock’s coaching and emergence of youngsters including Ben Paton, Liam Tobin and Aidan Adams has been crucial.
“Geoff has made a big difference as coach,” he said.
“He’s played and umpired the game and it’s helping heaps.
“Gilly (Clinton Gilson) has been good as well and there are some good kids coming through.”
Eskdale won only twice last season but has been untroubled in six outings this year to hold a comfortable buffer on top of the ladder.
Dederang defeated Bethanga by 54 runs at Bethanga.
Chasing 251 runs, the Saints looked in the mix with Sam Lowcock (65) and Jonathan Dudley (51) at the crease but when Cameron Gregg picked up the wicket of Dudley the match turned on its head.
Gregg grabbed 5-23 in a match-winning spell.
Howlong narrowly failed to pick up outright points against Wodonga.
The Bulldogs were bundled out for 98 chasing 263 and were 6-114 after following on.
Baranduda put up a brave fight before going down to Kiewa and Yackandandah crushed Barnawartha-Chiltern.