Combine maintains top spot with big win

Aradale's Brent Tate bowls during the A Grade game on Saturday. Picture: Peter Pickering
Aradale's Brent Tate bowls during the A Grade game on Saturday. Picture: Peter Pickering

Swifts-Great Western has moved clear at the top of the Grampians Cricket Association A Grade ladder after a comfortable first innings victory against top four opponent Aradale at Central Park on Saturday.

The Combine went into the second day’s play, firmly in control with the team needing just a handful of runs to pass Aradale’s first innings total.

It did not take long for that to happen, as Combine continued to score at a good rate to start building a lead, as the ladder-leaders eyed off a possible outright win.

Swifts-Great Western batsman James Devery looked in fine touch with the bat, as he got plenty of time at the crease and built partnerships throughout the innings.

Devery brought up his 50 with a declaration coming from Combine captain Sam Cocks shortly after. with the team 83 runs ahead at 9-186.

Rick Peters was the other main contributor to the total, caught off Tyler Cronin’s bowling for 43.

Brent Tate was the best of the Aradale bowlers, finishing with figures of 4-79 from 24.5 overs.

Travis Horvatek also played his part, continuing his fine form with the ball to finish with 2-40.

The timing of the declaration meant Combine bowlers would get around 20 overs to bowl at Aradale, needing 10 wickets for under four runs an over to get the outright win.

Aradale opening pair Riley Wood and Scott Turner looked like they were in for the long haul, as the duo started the innings with positivity.

The two players were not afraid to play shots but looked rock solid in defence, as an outright victory started to look unlikely for the Combine.

Cocks made some bowling changes but they proved to be a lost cause, as Wood and Turner managed to bat out the 21 overs and went into stumps at 0-62 to avoid the outright loss.

Wood looked in great touch, finishing with 36 not out after he was dismissed for 0 in the first innings.

Turner notched up 20 runs in his unbeaten innings.

Matt Heffer was the most economical of the Swifts-Great Western bowlers, having just three runs scored from his four overs.

The win puts Combine two points clear at the top with one round remaining before finals.

Despite the loss, Aradale are all but locked in, unless it loses its final round match and Youth Club have an outright victory which would move them up into fourth spot.

Combine will play the second-placed team for the second consecutive round when it travels to face Tatyoon while Aradale will be at home against third-placed Buangor.