By Lance Jenkinson
No-frills Yarraville has barged its way into the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association east-west group top three.
A thrilling seven-run penultimate round win over rivals Altona on the road at JK Grant Reserve on Saturday saw the Eagles soar into third spot and in home final territory.
The Eagles still have work to do in the final round, but have their destiny in their own hands.
If the Eagles can beat Melton in a one-day game at Yarraville Oval on Saturday, they will secure third spot or better.
Eagles player-coach Matthew Grose is proud of his team, who he says are bereft of the individual stars you might find on other teams, but have a cohesiveness that is unmatched and a blueprint for success.
“We don’t have any superstars, but we’re even and we’re pretty cohesive,” Grose said.
“We just all understand each other’s game and what’s required in any given situation.
“That’s something we make a point of every Thursday when the teams are read out.
“We all go through each other’s roles and everyone understands what’s required.
“Having the success we’ve had this year has given us a belief in that blueprint.”
Yarraville was not exactly feeling confident after posting 9-163 off its 45 overs against Altona at the weekend.
The Eagles had 200 in the back of their mind as a par score, but fell well short.
At 5-49, the Eagles were beginning to reach for the panic button, but the middle order saved the day Tom Saunders had a steadying knock of 20 before Luke Reid and Jamie Tapper got to work on a game-changing 92-run partnership.
Reid made 46 off 67 before he was dismissed, while Tapper batted for the remainder of the innings, making 57 not out off 86 balls.
“We set really clear targets for them and they built their partnership cleverly,” Grose said.
Yarraville only had a small total to defend and Mitchell Cross made it his mission to ensure they did.
Cross was in the zone with ball in hand, snaring a match-winning 5-36 off nine overs, including the big wickets of Altona’s in-form batsman James Grubb cheaply and top-scorer Daniel Mackenzie for 51.
“I gave him three spells of three overs and had to bowl into a pretty stiff breeze,” Grose said.
“That’s how I’ve used him pretty much all year, kept his spells pretty short and made sure he has an impact when he comes on.”
Leg spinner Ashane De Silva was the other stand out Yarraville bowler with 2-21 off nine overs, including the big wicket of Altona skipper Adam Yates for 40.
Meanwhile, Williamstown took full advantage of losses to Altona and Werribee, moving back to the top of the ladder with an eight-wicket mauling of Bayswater.
Set a target of 134, the Seagulls wasted no time, passing the score in the 25th over on the back of a masterclass from skipper Brent McMinn, who made 89 not out off 79 balls, and a handy 21 not out from Matthew Dervan.
Williamstown can secure the minor premiership with a win over old foes Werribee at the Williamstown Cricket Ground on Saturday.