A ROUND of upsets has thrown Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s division one wide open two weeks out from Christmas.
Five of the six matches yesterday delivered surprise results, with flag favourite West Warrnambool the only unbeaten side in either conference.
West Warrnambool beat Port Fairy by 83 runs at Avery’s Paddock to move six points clear in the Merri conference.
English import Karl Turner again starred, hitting 52 — his third half-century in all formats — to guide the Panthers to 9-180.
Port Fairy was all out for 97 in reply. Paul Campbell took 3-11 to be the pick of the bowlers.
But while West stuck to the pre-match script, Wesley-CBC and Nirranda scored upset wins to ignite their campaigns.
The Beavers upstaged Dennington by 48 runs at Dennington Recreation Reserve, reaching 4-184 and routing the Dogs for 136.
Andrew Cheeseman (39), Ryan McArdle (45), and Joe Higgins (44no) all contributed with the bat.
Higgins then sealed a man-of-the-match performance by taking 4-18 while recruit Cameron Pyke grabbed 3-9.
Nirranda won by chasing runs, reaching 3-141 off 29 overs in reply to Nestles’ 4-164 in a rain-affected match at Reid Oval.
The Knights were cruising at 3-137, thanks to a half-century from Damon Delaney, before losing seven overs to rain.
Upon the restart, they required two for victory off nine overs. Corey Couch hit the winning runs.
Nirranda coach Jason Mungean said he was pleased the Knights could break their season duck.
“It’s good to get a win. We would’ve preferred to play out the overs and do it that way,” he said.
“But it was getting to the point where it was a little bit dangerous for the bowlers.”
In Hopkins conference results, East Warrnambool-YCW scored an upset six-wicket win against Russells Creek at Jones Oval.
Sri Lankan Shanaka Perumpuli helped spark a fightback with 67 not out to lead Creek to 6-173.
But his fellow countryman Tharanga Fernando went better, crafting 69 as East-YCW reached the target with six balls to spare.
Bobby Curtis (32) and captain Mick Townsend (37no) and 3-18, were also influential.
Townsend described the win as “massive for our club this year”.
“It was a really close game, a really good game. It showed the character our boys have got,” he said.
Elsewhere, Merrivale survived a late fightback from Allansford to score a 10-run win at Merrivale Recreation Reserve.
An unbroken 45-run stand between Tom Ludeman (19) and Jeremy Burgess (23) propelled the Tigers to 7-168, despite the efforts of Kyall Timms (4-42).
They were cruising towards victory before Gators Matt Brophy (40) and Brad Sheen (30) launched a mid-innings fightback.
Allansford needed 11 off the last three overs when Burgess had Justin Fary caught at mid-wicket to secure Merrivale the points.
“Any win is a good win. We respect Allansford and hopefully we’ve earned more respect back,” Merrivale captain Michael Walsh said.
“Hopefully we’re starting to gel. We’ve got a couple of blokes to come in but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win the next week.”
In the final match, Nathan Murphy and Jason Greer were the heroes as Brierly-Christ Church beat Woodford by two wickets.
The Bulls were on the brink of defeat at 8-98 chasing the Eels’ 142 at Jack Keane Oval before the pair came together.
They added 46 for the ninth wicket, with Murphy hitting an unbeaten 61 and Greer finishing with 14 not out.
Shane Murphy had earlier taken 4-19 and Greer snared 3-10 to give the Bulls every chance of victory.