Kilmore stays in top-two hunt with upset win over Eastern Hill

Strong performance: Leigh Irving was the cornerstone in Tallarook’s victory over Yea. Photo by Alison O'Connor

Eastern Hill suffered its first loss of the Seymour District Cricket Association season at the weekend, falling to Kilmore by 21 runs at the Kilmore Cricket Ground.

Opener Dale Tassone was the star of the show for the home side, compiling a masterful 91 off 137 deliveries to see his side to the strong first innings total needed to knock off the rampant Eagles.

Kilmore then backed up its brilliance with the bat with a clinical bowling display, with Robert Hanson’s 5-23 inspiring a stunning Eastern Hill top-order collapse.

Needing a win to stay in touch with the top two, Kilmore thought runs on the board was the best chance of causing an upset as it won the toss and batted first in near perfect conditions.

Tassone answered the call for his side as he weathered the early storm and played with positivity to get his team off to the perfect start.

Talented Eagles all-rounder Ben Bryant tried his best to bring the visitors back into the contest, taking 4-34 to keep the Kilmore innings in check.

But a handy 35 from captain Joshua Buttler lifted Kilmore to a sizeable total of 6-176 after its 45 overs.

Needing early wickets to quell the power of the Eastern Hill batting line-up, Kilmore got off to the perfect start, taking early wickets to have the Eagles on the back foot at 4-40.

Seemingly destined for their first defeat, captain Seamus Feery did his best to bring the Eagles back into the contest, partnering with the tail and playing a lone hand to end up with 60.

But it wasn’t enough to inspire a come-from-behind win, as Hanson came back into the attack and wrapped up proceedings to give Kilmore the crucial triumph.

Tallarook did its chances of a top-two finish no harm, easily accounting for reigning premiers Yea Tigers in a clinical display at Yea Recreation Reserve.

Tallarook batted first on a beautiful deck and number four Leigh Irving made the most of the conditions, carving out a brilliant 70 to anchor the innings.

He was given great support by the likes of Shane Topham (26) and Corey Jones (27 not out) as Tallarook took it to the Tigers’ bowling attack and prospered to end up with a daunting total of 7-193.

With ball in hand, Ian Whiteman was the star for the visitors, causing havoc through the Yea middle order to take an impressive 3-7 from his three overs.

Tigers captain Andrew Butterworth toiled hard to try and keep his side in the hunt, compiling a well-made 53, but the Tallarook bowlers still managed to take consistent wickets from the other end as they closed out the innings for 129 to come away with a 64-run victory.

The remaining A-grade clash between Seymour and Broadford did not go ahead, with both sides sharing the points.

B-grade enjoyed a full assortment of round eight clashes, with a one-wicket win by Broadford over Eastern Hill the highlight of the weekend’s action.

Peter Speechley was the key contributor for the Eagles, striking 57 to help see his side to a competitive first innings total of 136.

Evan Mills served as the anchor of the Broadford chase, with his 44 from the top of the order enough to help see his side to the thrilling one-wicket triumph.

Avenel opener Jared Smith was the round’s top scorer, but his side was unable to make the most of his brave 60, losing to Alexandra by four wickets.

Pyalong proved far too good for Seymour, coming away with a 58-run victory, while Puckapunyal rounded out the winners’ list with a six-wicket triumph over Kilmore.