Deni Rhinos have cemented their spot in finals with an outright win over Katamatite in round 12 of the Murray Valley Cricket Association at Memorial Park on Saturday.
Resuming at 2/73, the Deni side secured a first innings win with ease scoring 171 runs to take a 73 run lead with 50 overs left to play.
With the Tigers two players down, the Rhinos managed to dismiss the visitors with the fall of eight wickets for just 54 runs after 25.1 overs, handing the home side an outright win by 19 runs.
Liam Pitts, who replaced opening batsman Ash Germano for day two of the clash, finished with tremendous figures of 5/16 off his eight over spell, while off-spinner Anthony Bradley (3/28 off 9.1) claimed the remaining three wickets.
Rhinos coach John Arthur said the win put his side in a strong position with just two games remaining.
‘‘It was a promising win for us because we didn’t get the runs we wanted, but still managed to bowl them out,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s quite close at the top of the ladder, so we needed outright points.
‘‘While we only had to take eight wickets, we did so with 25 overs remaining in the day, so I’m confident that even if Katamatite had a full side we would’ve finished with an outright win.’’
The Rhinos started the day with Boddie Arthur and Zeniffe Fowler at the crease.
Disaster struck early for the home side, with Fowler (seven) edging the ball to the keeper in the second over, off the bowling of spinner Tom Pendlebury (7/46 off 19).
Andrew Hogan joined Arthur in the middle, with the pair cruising past the target of 99 to secure a first innings win.
The 43 run partnership came to an end when Arthur (49) was caught behind for Pendlebury’s second wicket in the 18th over for the day.
The Tigers kept the Rhinos on the back foot, claiming the wickets of Brad Todd (two) and Harry Hillier (0) in quick succession, with the home side sitting at 6/125.
Bradley joined Hogan (33) in the middle, with the pair having a 23 run partnership before the latter was stumped by keeper Shannon Pool.
After the Tigers dismissed Jonty Tubb for a duck, Evan Pocock teamed with Bradley for a 21 run partnership.
Bradley (13) was next to go, caught off the bowling of Tom Rutter (2/38 off 10), with Dylan Rotherham bowled in the following over going for a big swing to end the innings.
Pocock finished with 18 not out, to see the Rhinos finish at 171 after 56.5 overs.
‘‘That cameo by Wriggler (Bradley) and Evan was crucial for us at the end of the innings,’’ John Arthur said.
‘‘Boddie dropped just one short of a half century, but he batted quite well.
‘‘The pitch was definitely working well for spin bowling too. Tom Pendlebury had a tremendous day with seven wickets for Katamatite.’’
The Tigers struggled in their run chase, with Pool (27) and Andrew Erickson (11) the only batsmen to reach double figures, with the visitors all out for 54 off 25.1 overs.
‘‘All of our bowlers bowled quite well, and even though Andrew Hogan (0/4 off five) and Dylan Rotherham (0/5 off three) didn’t get wickets, their spells were really important.
‘‘To only concede nine runs off the eight overs between them built pressure on the batsmen.
‘‘Wriggler took full advantage of the spin friendly wicket and took a wicket in his first over.
‘‘Pitta (Pitts) was rewarded for his great line and pace.
‘‘It was fantastic to see someone else step up to take wickets. It gives me confidence that if someone is having an off day that another player will step up.
‘‘There was some tremendous fielding on display throughout the match too.
‘‘Boddie managed to secure two back pad catches, which he was pretty happy about, and Brad Todd took an impressive catch in the slips.
‘‘We move on to take on a tough opponent in Nathalia this week, so we’ll have to stay at the top of our game.’’