THREE sixes in three balls from hard-hitting Todd Lamont ensured South West Cricket’s provincial debut at Melbourne Country Week finished on a high.
Lamont belted a match-saving 80 not out to help SWC to a thrilling one-wicket victory in its day four match against Murray Valley.
The Mortlake skipper strode to the crease in the 34th over after SWC slumped to 6-159 in pursuit of Murray Valley’s 8-238.
He started patiently, ticking over the strike with Travis Brown before Brown departed for a handy 16.
Gus Bourke was out for a duck five runs later and when teenager Jake Reed lost his wicket for five, SWC was 9-222, still needing 17 from 16 balls.
Faced with the choice to play it safe or take the game on, Lamont opted for the latter with spectacular results, hitting three sixes in the 48th over to secure victory.
“I pretty much pushed them around with the odd boundary until the 47th over,” Lamont said.
“We needed 30 off the last four. I got 11 off that over. I started opening up then.”
Lamont smacked five fours, six sixes and 40 of the last 44 runs as SWC finished on 9-266.
Captain Steve Castle (70) and Josh Barr (63) were also solid contributors and shared in a 114-run stand for the third wicket.
“I pretty much middled everything today. I hit them all right yesterday but I’ve been struggling before that, even cricket back home,” Lamont said.
“Yesterday’s innings could turn things around a bit for me personally.”
The batting heroics overshadowed a consistent bowling display which limited Murray Valley to 238.
Reed took 3-51 taking the ball for the first time at Melbourne Country Week, while Lamont took 2-35.
SWC finished fourth in provincial grade, with two wins and two losses.
Castle said the result was exceptional and came despite the team never playing its best.
“As I said to the boys, in reality when you look at the finish of the week, two wins is probably a good result,” he said.
“I think we feel a bit disappointed only because we’re so used to winning. It’s a good result, it’s a solid result.
“We still didn’t on any given day play to the level I think we can. We didn’t bat well all week.”
Castle said SWC would have to polish up on all facets of the game to establish itself as a provincial grade regular.
“It’s our first exposure to it. We all came away thinking this is the level we need to get to,” he said.
“We walk away thinking we didn’t play our best but we weren’t disgraced.”
Unbeaten Sale-Maffra will take on Mornington Peninsula in the final today.