In our first report on the Ballarat Cricket, there is a bit to talk about. The Ballarat Cricket Association will be heading to Melbourne for Country Week, which starts on the 18th of February. Today in a lead in match, as part of the Kenmac Shield, Ballarat hosted Bendigo at the Wendouree Turf Oval. Ballarat, came into the match without strike bowler Ash McAfferty, who has been replaced in the Country Week squad with Matt Aikman, which sees a good blend of experience and youth in the squad.
Bendigo won the toss and elected to bat on what appeared to be a good wicket for batting. Ballarat opening bowlers – both EJ Cleary Medalists, Nathan Yates and Matt Ringin – ensured it was a steady start for Bendigo. Matthew Messemaker was the pick of the bowlers, with figures of 7 overs, 2 for 34, bowling late in the innings. Bendigo built a solid score of 270 for the loss of 8 wickets from their 50 overs.
In reply, Ballarat were off to a bad start, losing run machine Leigh Lorenzen early, quickly followed by fellow opener Matt Begbie who ran himself out. It was 2 for 21. Nathan Yates, was then joined by Mt Clear team mate, Jarrod Burns. The pair steadied the innings and showed their experience in an excellent 124 run partnership, before Yates fell on 70 from 77 balls, including 8 fours and 4 sixes.
This lead to a collapse in the middle order, quickly losing captain, Ryan Knowles, followed by the dangerous Harry Ganley from East Ballarat, shortly followed by Mt Clear’s, Brendan Moyle. It was 6 for 157 and time was slipping away.
Jonah Healy then joined Burns, the pair, again, the steadied the innings before stepping up the run rate. Burns played a beautiful innings of power and elegance, finally falling for a brilliant 100 from 101 balls including 9 fours and 2 sixes. Mick Nolan from North Ballarat then joined Healy getting the score within single digits, before he fell for 16. Leaving Healy to hit the winning runs and bringing up a very good 53 from 48 balls. An excellent win by Ballarat in a very competitive hit out, ideal for both teams leading into Country Week.
On Saturday, which was the second day of Round 13 in the 1stXI, we saw most of the favourites getting results. North Ballarat too good for Buninyong, Mt Clear in a big win over Wendouree, which included a century to veteran Darren Fletcher with 143! Nathan Yates also picking up 6 wickets.
Golden Point just getting up over Naps Sebas late in the day. De Zoysa the star with 91. East Ballarat won outright over the young Ballarat Redan team and Brown Hill prevented Darley in achieving an outright, with veterans, Ryan Knowles (66 not out) and Paul White (30 not out) combining for a 87 run partnership.
Mt Clear sits atop the 1stXI ladder on 70 points, followed by East Ballarat on 68 points. Then back to Golden Point on 54 points, followed in 4thby North Ballarat on 52 points, now 10 points clear of 5thplaced Wendouree on 42. The Final 4 appears set.
After Round 13 our leading run scorer is Leigh Lorenzen on 714 (@ 54), followed by Nathan Yates 587 (@53) and Josh White 580 (@ 52). Ash McAfferty the leading wicket taker with 32 (@ 12), followed by Ollie Hayes with 28 then Nathan Yates with 24.