A HARD-HITTING burst of runs could prove crucial to Grassmere cricketers qualifying for a Bendigo Country Week grand final.
The representative side belted 2-52 off just three second-innings overs in an explosive end to its day three match against Northern District Colts.
The burst came after Grassmere had wrapped up first innings points with a 36-run win at Kangaroo Flat. Opener Aaron Peterson survived an early chance to post 95 as Grassmere made 8-234 batting first.
Tim Bryce hit 26 to play a valuable support role, while David West and John Barnes each made 22 not out at the death.
Northern District Colts were all out for 198 in reply, with Rory Towler taking 3-47 playing for the first time.
The win became a bonus point-boosting day thanks to Peterson and Jethro Serle, who “teed off” in the second innings to secure vital bonus points.
Team manager Norm Gibson said it was essential Grassmere made the most of every over at its disposal.
He said the umpires were against taking to the field for three overs, but he insisted the match continued.
“That’s the thing in Country Week cricket, I know people don’t like going out for three overs,” he said.
“But I’ve been involved times where over four days of cricket sides have missed finals by eight runs. The 52 (runs) could be very handy tomorrow.”
Grassmere entered day three in fourth spot but rose to second after the victory.
Other results — notably unbeaten Maryborough losing to Red Cliffs — also worked in its favour.
A convincing win against Northern United at Bagshot today should qualify Grassmere for the final, although bonus points could be a factor.
Peterson said he offered an early chance but grew with confidence thereafter during his match-defining knock. “I felt pretty ordinary for the first 10 overs. I got dropped in the first over. I wasn’t feeling on song,” he said.
Peterson said Grassmere contesting Bendigo Country Week — instead of Melbourne Country Week next month — had been a good decision.
“We came up here with the aim to make the grand final on Friday. That was our main goal,” he said. “If we can get the win tomorrow, hopefully we can sneak in.”