THEIR TEAMS needed someone to stand up with the ball to help keep them in the hunt for second place on the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association division one ladder.
And that is exactly what Woodford's Alex Jennings and Russells Creek's Joe Kenna did in their respective round 16 games on Saturday.
In a revised two-day fixture, which saw teams play with one-day rules following last weekend's rain abandonment, both teams were desperate to secure the points as the battle for second place heats up.
Kenna, who was recently selected in the WDCA's Melbourne Country Week squad, helped restrict Allansford to 70, finishing with figures of 6-17 from his eight overs.
The Creekers would easily chase down the total with nine wickets to spare.
Jennings, also a WDCA Melbourne Country Week squad member, took 4-4 to help the Eels claim a 49-run victory over Merrivale.
The off-spinner bowled six maidens from his nine overs to combine well with pace bowler Conner Richardson (3-4 and six maidens from nine overs) to dismantle the Tigers' batting line up.
Jennings credited the Eels' opening bowlers for helping lay the foundations for his stellar performance.
"Conner Richardson and Hank Schlaghecke did all the work and they got the key batsmen in Jeremy Burgess and Josh Stapleton," the 19-year-old said.
"It made it easier for the first change bowlers in me and (Chetan) Sharma. We were able to find our lengths and there wasn't as much pressure on us and we just had to tie them down."
Jennings, who is in his fourth season in the Eels' division one side, said the performance boosted him ahead of his return to Melbourne Country week on February 17.
"It's handy going into next week," he said.
"I felt I was due to get a few wickets and it's a different format up there and completely different to two-day cricket so that will be a little bit of a change."
Jennings, captain Nick Butters and Kenna will form part of the spin attack that will provide variety to the stacked WDCA squad heading to the state's capital in search of promotion to the competition's top tier.
Meanwhile, Brierly-Christ Church continued its unbeaten run with a comfortable seven-wicket victory over finals fancy West Warrnambool, who now sit even on points with fifth-placed Nestles
Mark Murphy was dominant with both bat an ball. He took 4-30 from his nine overs before scoring an unbeaten 54 from 47 balls to help guide the Bulls over the line.
Nestles and Wesley-CBC defeated Port Fairy and Dennington respectively.
Factory leader Alex Strauch (52) and Beavers' keeper Ben Dobson (81 not out) scored half-centuries.
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