Tight finals race

EYES ON THE BALL:  Nondies' Oscar McGraw helped guided the undefeated NDCA B Grade team to victory against Wandella Warriors on Saturday.

EYES ON THE BALL: Nondies' Oscar McGraw helped guided the undefeated NDCA B Grade team to victory against Wandella Warriors on Saturday.

TEN points separates the Northern District Cricket Association's top four A Grade sides following a weekend that saw the match of the round end prematurely due to rain.

The draw between Cohuna United and Nondies, as well as Leitchville/Gunbower having the bye, means that less than two wins separates competition leaders, Wandella and fourth-placed Nondies with six rounds of the season remaining.

The Bombers moved to the top of the ladder following a 45-run win against Barham/Koondrook.

Asked to bat first, Wandella was trouble early at 2/10 and 4/44, thanks to the bowling efforts of Garry Lolicato, who took three wickets. 

A 74-run fifth-wicket stand between Greg Dickson (49) and Brodey Farley (96) rescued the innings, enabling the hosts to score 8/214 off its 45 overs. 

Warren Lolicato (38) and Matt Thomas' 55-run opening wicket partnership had the visitors well positioned to challenge for a first win of the season, but the Bombers had other ideas. 

The loss of Thomas sparked a collapse, with Barham/Koondrook losing its opening five wickets for 23 runs. 

Laine Gibbons (44) and Thomas Guerra (22) tried to rebuild the innings with a 79-run sixth-wicket stand, before the border side lost its final five wickets for 11 runs to be all out for 169 in the 44th over. 

Daniel Higgs was the standout bowler for Wandella, claiming four wickets. 

Meanwhile, the third of the Cohuna Recreation Reserve's derbies for season 2017/18 ended in a draw, with Cohuna United and Nondies splitting the points.

Sent in to bat first, seven of United's batsmen scored more than 10 runs, with the hosts posting 9/210 off its 45 overs. 

Daniel Cooke (48) and Bradley Griffiths (38) stood out for United with the bat, whilst a 50-run eighth-wicket partnership between Cooke and Ryan Barnes ensured Nondies would have to score at more than four runs per over to win. 

The match was heading towards a thrilling finish when rain forced players from the field, with Nondies needing to score at a rate of one run per ball with 15 overs remaining, despite having seven wickets in hand. 

Nondies' run continues

NONDIES' undefeated ways during the first half of the NDCA B Grade season continued at the weekend, with the competition leaders producing a seventh win of the season, this time against Wandella Warriors. 

The win enables last season's grand finalists hold a four-point advantage over defending premiers, Wandella with six rounds remaining.

Sent in to bat first, Ashley McKnight (16) and Matthew deWitte (13) were the only two Warriors batsmen to reach double figures as the hosts fell for 71 in the 30th over. 

Nondies chased the runs down with seven wickets in hand, thanks to the efforts of Hayden Webb (27) and Oscar McGraw (20), but the Warriors - thanks to three wickets to Declan Hogg - were able to dismiss the visitors for 104 in the 33rd over. 

The Bombers loom as the team most likely to challenge Nondies for top spot on the ladder, with the side accounting for Kerang Fairley Town by 118 runs at the weekend. 

Asked to bat first, Nathan Henry (61), Luke Murray (49) and Russell Bott (55 not out) led the Bombers to score 4/205 off 40 overs. 

The trio played their role in two 80-plus run partnerships, with Mitchell Lake and Luke Barnes claiming two wickets each for Kerang Fairley Town. 

The Riverside Park co-tenants struggled in response, with Nick Threadgold (23) and Denis Bacon (15) the only batsmen to score 10 runs or more in the team's total of 87 off 36 overs. 

Tyler Schmidt was the pick of the Bombers' bowlers, claiming four wickets. 

Meanwhile, Leitchville/Gunbower's 112-run win against Barham/Koondrook ended Cohuna United's slim hopes of making the finals. 

Electing to bat first, a 119-run second-wicket stand between Jack Elliott (83) and Billy Hawken (42) helped Leitchville/Gunbower scored 7/193 off its 40 overs, with Blake Watts taking four wickets for the border side.

Despite the best efforts of Jade Stewart (24), Barham/Koondrook fell for 81 in 24.2 overs, with Jack Lunghusen taking three wickets for the hosts.

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