A BLAZING century by Braden Hotker lifted Grassmere to a crucial victory over fourth-placed Purnim in Saturday’s penultimate round of Grassmere Cricket Association matches.
Grassmere’s two-wicket win saw it displace Purnim in the top four, setting up a tense final round this weekend.
The Meerkats face Hawkesdale while Purnim will be fighting for its season when it confronts reigning premier, third-placed Panmure.
Hotker was the star of Grassmere’s successful pursuit of 256. He made 110 as his side secured the points with two wickets and more than two overs in hand. The clean-hitting number three raced to his ton inside the opening 35 overs.
Captain Chris Lenehan, who shared a 165-run stand with Hotker for the second wicket, said the win was just what his side needed.
“We’ve been batting pretty ordinary since Christmas,” he said.
“Purnim hadn’t been in the best form with the bat and we hadn’t either. They changed it and we changed it in this game.
“Before Christmas we were playing really well but after Christmas we’ve been ordinary. I kept thinking if we can turn it around and get into a final, anything could happen. It’s cut-throat. You can be the best side and have one bad innings and you are out.
“If we can stay in the four we will go in with a nothing-to-lose attitude.”
He said his side would take a lot of confidence from the win.
Lenehan said his side’s middle-order might have been guilty of relaxing before the job was completed. The Meerkats were cruising at 2-225 before Lenehan was out for 69. That triggered a collapse of sorts as Purnim claimed 6-23 to throw the game open before veteran Peter Sedgley and Ryan Goldsworthy guided them home.
Lenehan said he had struggled to score early.
“I had 35 off 35 overs at tea but he (Hotker) was already on 100.”
Purnim skipper Greg Bull said his side had to upset Panmure this weekend to play finals.
He said his side was disappointed to go down in a tense match.
A move to throw Aaron Peterson the ball and relieve him of the wicket-keeping duties almost turned to gold. Peterson collected 5-25 from 11 overs, including five of the last six wickets to fall.
“It got a little bit interesting towards the end but we left our run a little bit too late,” he said.
“Braden batted very well and Chris supported him.
“You can’t go having partnerships of 150 against you. You are not going to win too many games. Braden had one of those days. You only had to put it anywhere near a bad spot and he would hit it for four or six.”
Killarney cemented second spot on the ladder with victory over Panmure. Chasing 209, Killarney finished with 250 after nine batsmen made double figures but none over 47.
Top side Yambuk (8-dec for 211) successfully chased down Hawkesdale’s 170 while Wangoom lifted itself off the bottom of the ladder with a 292-run win over Mailors Flat. Wangoom’s Nick Kermond took 4-58 as the Flat put up a good fight chasing the Roosters’ huge score of 492, dismissed for 200 in the 57th over.