By Lance Jenkinson
Yarraville has made a statement on the eve of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association finals with a commanding nine-wicket win over Melton at Yarraville Oval on Saturday.
The Eagles’ desire to finish as high up in the finals as possible out-weighed that of Melton’s want to reach the top six.
The reward for the Eagles was a second-place finish, while Melton was eliminated.
“Melton had a lot to play for, but so did we,” Eagles playing coach Matthew Grose said.
“We knew what was at stake for us. For us to get a home final, we needed to put a good team performance together and get a win.”
There were times when Melton looked to be getting off the leash with the bat, but a constant stream of wickets saw them bowled out for 191.
The chief destroyer for Yarraville was spinner Arjun Sehrawat, who took 4-38 off seven overs, including the key wicket of Nathan Taylor for 68.
It was a busy week for Sehrawat, who played well for the Victorian under 15s at the national championships in mid-week.
“We’re super pleased with his development this year,” Grose said.
“What’s made Arjun successful this year is batsmen have tried to go after him and it’s played into our hands because he’s an aggressive spinner.”
Josh Turner (2-32) and Ashan De Silva (2-41) were the other multiple wicket takers for Yarraville.
The Yarraville run chase could not have gone smoother.
The Eagles only lost one wicket in the innings and comfortably passed the target with four overs to spare.
Openers Josh Raymer (36) and Aidan Salvado (83 not out) kick-started the Eagles innings with a 90-run opening stand.
“We had a really good power play with Josh and Aidan at the top,” Grose said.
Salvado than partnered with Josh Hahnel to get Yarraville home in an impressive fashion.
“It was a really mature performance from Aidan Salvado and Josh Hahnel to be there when the winning runs were hit today,” Grose said.
“It shows how much responsibility and pride they took on their performance today.”
Having lost just once since mid-November, Yarraville should be considered one of the favourites for the premiership.
The front runner in the chase for the flag is Williamstown, having won three finals-like wins to claim top spot in the finals.
The Seagulls beat Werribee by five wickets in the final round at Williamstown Cricket Ground on Saturday with Brent McMinn the key to a successful run chase with 53.
Altona has looked shaky in recent times and settled in third spot.
The A’s two-wicket loss to Taylors Lakes at JK Grant Reserve on Saturday was its third straight home loss.