DENNINGTON’S semi-final hopes rest on nine wickets as it tries to end West Warrnambool’s unbeaten run in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s Merri conference.
But even with a loss, Dennington could yet extend its season with Wesley-CBC needing to defeat Nirranda on Saturday to have any chance of post-season action.
Both second-placed Dennington and third-placed Wesley-CBC are tied on points, separated by percentage heading into the final day of the regular season. Dennington has to upset the Panthers to keep its semi-final destiny in its own hands — a predicament not lost on skipper Dustin Drew.
Drew held up 16-year-old Nick King as an example of how batsmen should play after the youngster top-scored with 42 in Dennington’s 152 at Dennington Recreation Reserve.
The left-handed King, Drew (32) and Daminda Ranaweera (32) were the main contributors before Drew produced a perfect in-ducker to remove West Warrnambool’s gun opening bat Karl Turner for a duck. West is 1-3 needing a further 150 to win. “I would have liked another 25 or 30 runs,” Drew said.
“It was a massive wicket (Turner’s) but they still have Alastair Templeton who made 100 in the last game, Michael and Ben Threlfall and Johno (Leigh Johnson) who would have made more runs than anyone in the competition in the past 10 years.
“We will just have to give it everything we’ve got and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough. We can’t leave anything out there.”
Drew was delighted with King’s performance.
“He’s a real talent. We’ve got four guys 17 and under in the side and it shows the future is pretty bright whether we win, lose or draw this week.” He said without King, Dennington would have been dismissed under 100.
Third-placed Wesley-CBC has runs on the board in its match against Nirranda.
The Beavers, who need to win, posted 161, with Ryan McArdle the mainstay with 74. At stumps Nirranda is 0-9.
Beavers skipper Andrew Cheeseman was upbeat with the total, saying it was the second-highest in a division one match at Walter Oval this season.
“The pitch was a bit up and down,” he said. “It wasn’t easy.” Cheeseman said he would be closely monitoring Dennington’s game on Saturday. “If they are good enough to beat West, they deserve to be in the semi-finals.”
But he said his side’s focus was on taking 10 Nirranda wickets on Saturday after right-hander McArdle and Sam McCosh set the innings up with a 45-run stand for the third wicket.
Nirranda’s Jason Mungean was tireless, taking 4-56 off 34 overs.
Port Fairy set Nestles a challenging 223 to win after eight batsmen made double figures in the match at Reid Oval.
Youngster Joe Medew-Ewen top-scored with an unbeaten 44 for the Pirates.