Crunch time at Melbourne Country Week

THE WRAP: A sense of deja vu is flowing through the Warrnambool and District camp tonight after it qualified for a second consecutive Melbourne Country Week division two grand final.

Rain washed all four matches in the grade today, for a second consecutive day. Warrnambool and District was facing a tricky winner-takes-all assignment against Ballarat.

The wash-up was Warrnambool and District finished on top while Traralgon and District finished second. The grand final is at Albert Cricket Ground in St Kilda tomorrow.

Ballarat can count itself extremely unlucky at missing the decider and is ruing losing the big moments during the week.

A narrow two-run win against Benalla should have been far greater, while it had Traralgon and District 9-144 when rain forced a frustrating draw on Wednesday.

South West is counting its lucky stars after results conspired to keep it in provincial grade for a third year.

South West lost its day-four match to Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval by 56 runs to finish its campaign with one win and three losses.

Clinton Baker took 3-45 and Fraser Lucas grabbed 2-34 as Murray Valley made 6-219 having been sent in.

Josh Barr (53) and Ben Grinter (41 not out) were the pick of the batsmen in the run chase. But South West lost 4-16 mid-innings and never recovered, finishing at 9-173.

But South West will stay in the top grade thanks to the result at Shepley Oval, Dandenong, where Leongatha and District failed to defend 9-227 against Bairnsdale.

Leongatha and District finished winless and will demote to division two.

5.05PM: SOUTH WEST IS STAYING UP. Bairnsdale has defeated Leongatha and District by eight wickets at Shepley Oval, Dandenong.

The result means Leongatha and District will be demoted to division two while South West will stay in provincial grade, having finished seventh of eight sides.

4.30PM: South West will have to rely on results going its way to stay in provincial grade at Melbourne Country Week.

South West is 7-156 with three overs remaining, needing 64 off 18 balls for a miraculous victory against Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval.

Bairnsdale is on the verge of victory against Leongatha and District at Shepley Oval, Dandenong - a result South West needs to stay in division one.

Bairnsdale is 1-195 off 42 overs, needing 33 for victory with 48 balls remaining. Tense stuff on day four.

4.15PM: The equation has become more tricky. South West is 6-121, needing 99 runs for victory off 54 balls.

3.45PM: South West Cricket needs 126 runs off 120 balls to defeat Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval.

Josh Barr was the last man out for 51 with the score 3-94 after 30 overs.

3PM: South West is 2-51 off 20 overs needing 200 for victory against Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval. Steve Castle and Josh Barr are at the crease.

The latest at Shepley Oval is Bairnsdale is 0-40 off 10 overs needing 288 for victory against Leongatha and District.

2.15PM: South West is 1-21 needing 220 for victory against Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval. Josh Barr is unbeaten on 17.

1.30PM: South West needs 220 for victory in its Melbourne Country Week day-four provincial grade match against Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval.

Murray Valley recovered from a slow start to post 6-219 from its 50 overs. Clinton Baker was the leading wicket taker with 3-45.

Leongatha and District has posted 9-227 in its match against Bairnsdale at Shepley Oval, Dandenong.

1PM: Murray Valley is bound for a 200-plus score against South West, reaching 4-194 off 47 overs at Bayswater Oval.

Winless Leongatha and District is 3-161 off 40 overs against Bairnsdale at Shepley Oval, Dandenong.

If Leongatha and District wins, the loser of the South West-Murray Valley match could be demoted. Bottom spot will come down to bonus points.

12.40PM: Murray Valley is 4-149 off 43 overs at Bayswater Oval.

12.30PM: South West has put the brakes on Murray Valley, with the northerners 4-104 off 37 overs. South West potentially chasing sub-200 in the afternoon.

12.10PM: IT'S CONFIRMED. Warrnambool and District will play in the Melbourne Country Week division two grand final.

Word has come through that the Traralgon-Benalla match at Monash University is also a washed-out draw.

The Warrnambool and District-Ballarat match was abandoned at 11.15am.

The non-results mean Warrnambool and District cannot be overtaken by second-ranked Traralgon and third-ranked Ballarat.

Only fourth-ranked Ferntree Gully - which is playing Hamilton and District - can rise into the final, although it essentially needs to win and make 400-plus to displace Traralgon.

12PM: Murray Valley has moved to 2-89 from 30 overs against South West at Bayswater Oval.

11.40AM: Murray Valley has reached 2-70 off 22 overs after being sent in against South West at Bayswater Oval.

11.30AM: Warrnambool and District is a near-certainty to play in the Melbourne Country Week division two grand final for a second consecutive year.

MCW officials have abandoned play in the day-four match between Warrnambool and District and Ballarat due to wet conditions.

The match was to go ahead at Melton, but rain yesterday and this morning waterlogged the oval.

It was a similar story at Darley Park, where the match was transferred to.

Warrnambool and District will play in the grand final if Ferntree Gully fails to pick up 18.11 points from its match against Hamilton and District.

To do that, Ferntree Gully would need to make 411 runs and take 20 wickets in winning.

11AM: The stakes have raised for South West, with winless Leongatha and District starting well against Bairnsdale, reaching 0-39 off 10 overs.

10.55AM: Curators are working to get the Warrnambool and District-Ballarat match under way at a second rain-affected venue.

Darley Park - where the match has been rescheduled to from Melton - is also underwater. The match will be a washed-out draw if play is impossible by 11.15am.

10.45AM: Clinton Baker has struck first for South West as Murray Valley is reduced to 1-19 off six overs at Bayswater Oval.

10AM: Melbourne Country Week officials are hastily trying to arrange a change of venue for Warrnambool and District's clash against Ballarat in division two.

Heavy rain yesterday and this morning has left the oval at Melton underwater. The match could go ahead at Darley Park, which would hand Ballarat a major home-ground advantage.

South West will get a start in its provincial grade match against Murray Valley at Bayswater Oval.

Both sides need a win to secure another season at the elite level, although defeat will not be fatal if winless Leongatha and District loses today.

South West has won the toss and is bowling, having made just 102 batting first yesterday.

Chris Vogels comes into the side for Wil Pomorin. Josh Barr is the 12th man batsman and Chris Dendle is the 12th man bowler.


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