RUSSELLS Creek is backing underrated all-rounder Blake Evans to continue carving out runs through the middle-order as it pursues a fourth premiership in five seasons.
Evans whacked a career-best 44 as Creek cruised to a victory against Brierly-Christ Church on Saturday.
It backed up a solid month of form with the stick, which started with a match-winning 18-run haul at top-placed Merrivale.
Creek co-coach Cam Williams described Evans, a dedicated clubman, as "one of the most underrated players around".
"He's never really out of form. The only time I've seen him out of nick with bat and ball was the start of the season where he was trying to find his feet with the white ball," he said.
"With the bat coming in after Christmas, I've been trying to work with him a bit. He hits it to awkward spots on the ground.
"Around here in Warrnambool cricket he's always good for 15 or 20 runs at the end of an innings and he's probably the quickest blokes in the pads so he's always able to look for twos and threes."
Williams said Evans' hand-eye coordination meant he was a dangerous lower-order option.
"He's got that really good eye. He just sometimes has to hit the ball before he runs," he said.
He's got that really good eye.- Cam Williams on Blake Evans
"Other than that, he's a really valid asset to our team and for our premiership aspirations.
"You need those types of players to post a half-decent total because sometimes the top-order does fail. You need runs from your all-rounders and also your bowlers. that's why it's so important in one-day cricket for everyone to contribute."
Williams revealed Evans' batting work was more around mindset than technique.
He said he ranked the youngster - still only 22 - among the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's top-25 players for consistency.
The multiple premiership captain, who handed the on-field job to star bowler Matthew Petherick this past season and instead took on a coaching role, said belief was key for Evans to thrive in finals.
Creek is all but certain to play third-placed Wesley Yambuk in a do-or-die semi-final but it's unclear which club could have pick of the grounds. The team which finishes second will get the choice of where the semi-final takes place as per WDCA rules.
SOMETIMES stepping down a division can work wonders. For Brody Mahoney, it was just the boost he needed.
The former Hampden league footballer, who is now plying his trade with Geelong Football League club Colac, blasted 182 for Heytesbury Rebels in South West Cricket's division two on Saturday.
It came off just 93 balls. Opening partner Ashley Hunt also carved out a century, making 120 to round out a tough day for Mortlake's division two charges.
Mahoney's knock was the highest of the season in all of South West Cricket's senior grades.
Zavier Mungean (Wesley Yambuk) 84, 3-31; Rukshan Weerasinghe (Russells Creek) 69; Alastair Templeton (West Warrnambool) 51*; Chris Bant (Allansford-Panmure) 46; Blake Evans (Russells Creek) 44, 1-34; Paddy Mahony (Allansford-Panmure) 41, 1-11; Noah Greene (Allansford-Panmure) 36; Mark Pitt (Port Fairy) 40, 3-53; Xavier Beks (Dennington) 40, 1-33; Joe Kenna (Russells Creek) 5-25; Kade Parker (Allansford-Panmure) 5-29.
Fraser Lucas (Bookaar) 108; Simon Baker (Bookaar) 80; Isaac Kenna (Noorat) 73; Jack Lehmann (Mortlake) 70; Jordan Riches (Camperdown) 70; Grant Place (Pomborneit) 63; Gus Bourke (Noorat) 4-27; Tharaka Sendanayake (Pomborneit) 4-27; Shaun Moloney (Bookaar) 3-11; Toby Harris (Noorat) 3-25; Deiter McDonald (Bookaar) 2-15.
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