FOUR bona fide upsets have thrown the race for the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association top four wide open, laying a platform for several mid-table sides to push for finals action.
Port Fairy, Merrivale, West Warrnambool and Dennington all scored vital victories against top-calibre opposition after producing with ball-in-hand.
West Warrnambool is now wedged in the top four, while Merrivale (seventh) and Port Fairy (eighth) solidified their mid-table position.
Merrivale co-coach Jeremy Burgess said his youth-laden team was finding belief after upsetting ladder leader Russells Creek by one wicket on Saturday.
“We know we can mix it with these top teams,” Burgess told The Standard.
“It gives our young guys belief. They know we’re not here to stuff around. We’re not rebuilding, but we’re trying to give some younger guys senior exposure.
“And they’re all doing their job at the moment. We’re very happy to get that win.”
The Tigers restricted Creek to just 108 runs after claiming several big scalps early in the piece.
They reached the total with just one wicket in hand after a solid display from Englishman Ben Compton and big hitter Mark Jones.
Port Fairy captain Jordan Graham – whose new-look side toppled high-flying Brierly-Christ Church away from home – described the triumph as a step in the right direction.
“We spoke about the fact that Brierly are another side who are fighting it out for a top four place. This was a very handy win for us,” Graham said.
“We’re still not playing our best cricket by any stretch, but it’s a great one to have in the bag.”
Injury and absences stand as Woodford’s nemesis, with the reigning premier’s woes deepening after its sixth loss of the season.
Missing several key players, the Eels fell to Dennington by six wickets on Saturday.
Dogs captain Zeb McCarthy said his men compiled their first “complete” performance of the campaign to score the upset over the three-time premier.