THE match we have all been waiting to see in District cricket, top of the ladder Red Hill versus second placed Baden Powell, is shaping-up to be a nail biter.
In what many believe is the preview to the District grand final, both teams head into the final day of the match with genuine claims that they are in the box seat.
For mine, Red Hill is the side with the runs on the board, albeit 200, and must be fancied from here.
On Saturday at Overport Rd, the Hillmen won the toss and batted first.
Simon Dart top scored with 55 and Brent Martin was solid again with 33 in the middle order. The real bonus for the Hillmen was the unbeaten 40 runs from experienced keeper Nick Esipoff, helping the visitors to 9/200 from their 80 overs.
Ryan Barnett (3/60 from 24 overs) and Michael Ballard (3/39 from 17 overs) were the best of the Braves’ bowlers, while Rhys Elmi helped himself to 2/56 from 18 overs.
Sixth-placed Heatherhill is locked in an enthralling battle with third-placed Pearcedale.
With just 12 points (one game) separating the sides on the ladder, the Hills will go into the second day of the match with their noses in front.
Pearcedale batted first on Saturday and were dismissed for 151. Chris Dew top scored with an unbeaten 64, while the returning Shane Maggs was next best with 18.
Jake Theobald continued his stellar season with 4/14 from 8.4 overs for Heatherhill.
The Hills batted the final 27 overs of the day and will resume on day two at 2/74, with teenager Tyler Neal on 37* and Theobald yet to score.
Carrum will be looking to end Delacombe Park’s season as they defend 9/265.
Whilst the Lions are no chance to play finals, the Parkers still have a slight sniff, just one game outside the top four.
Hayden Moulton top scored for the Lions with 56, while Josh Dent scored 35 and Jake D’Atri 33. A number of other batsmen got starts for the visitors also.
Dean Blight was the pick of the Parkers’ bowlers with 4/60.
Main Ridge and Seaford Tigers are in a battle for pride more than anything else. Neither side can play finals.
The Ridge made 208 on Saturday with Travis Barker top scoring with 54 and Ed Aarons hitting 32. Gareth Wyatt also scored 30.
The Tigers’ 17-year-old Max Watters was outstanding, opening the bowling for his side with Matty Meagher and snagging 5/56 from 19.2 overs.
In reply, the Tigers are 1/17.
Mt Martha has set Flinders a monster total of 321 to chase down in their match. The Sharks are currently in fourth place on the ladder with a number of teams breathing down their neck.
Mitchel Darville scored his second century this season (the first was against Boneo in round four), opening the innings with 122. Tim Moran hit 52 and Matt Pollock contributed his second highest score of the year of 45.
Tom Clements and Shane Beggs each claimed three wickets for the Sharks.
In reply, Flinders is 0/16, surviving the final five overs of the day.