A dose of youthful exuberance was a key factor in Yackandandah’s 32-run win over Mount Beauty on Saturday.
The Roos successfully defended 9-177 by bowling out Mount Beauty for 145, giving themselves some breathing space in the CAW District top four.
After returning home from Melbourne to play, Danny Atwell turned the game on its head in the space of three balls to halt the Mount Beauty chase.
He claimed the wickets of Greg McLennan and Ashan Ranaweera in the same over, which led to a major collapse after Mounty Beauty were cruising at 2-113.
“They only needed 60 off the last nine overs and they had eight wickets in hand,” Yackandandah’s Aki Murthy said.
Young gun Bailey Glass made an impressive half-century and provided a spin option with the ball in a man-of-the-match performance.
Opening batsman Cam Evans made a gritty 18, while Jack Hobbs added a crucial 16 in the time of need following early wickets.
Murthy said the young players proved a point on the weekend.
“They set it up for Mick Walker to score a quickfire 34,” Murthy said.
“It’s a very close competition and we’ve actually surprised ourselves.
“The Mount Beauty game was a big game for us because they are a very good side.
“The last time we won on the second last ball of the game, so we knew they would come with all guns blazing.”
Murthy added the veteran Walker, who played his 200th game earlier in the season, has been on fire.
“Every time he comes into bat he makes his 30s and 40s and he has bowled really well too,” he said.
“As a group we are performing really well and having a good time on the park.”
Yackandandah captain Andrew Lockett finished with 4-11 off five overs, while Jake Styles was the chief destroyer for Mount Beauty with 5-19 from eight overs.
Murthy admitted Kiewa are looking very ominous and remain the benchmark.
“We play them after Christmas in a two-day game and it will be a good contest,” he said.
Kiewa proved why they are the team to beat with a dominant 142-run victory against Barnawartha-Chiltern.
Wodonga cruised to a six-wicket win after bowling Howlong out for just 105.
A strong all-round bowling effort from Baranduda, topped by Craig Scammell with 3-30, kept Baranduda in second spot, defeating Dederang by six wickets.
Finally, Eskdale held off Bethanga by 13 runs to join Baranduda and Yackandandah in the chasing pack immediately behind Kiewa.