HOPPERS Crossing gave all the credit to Old Mentonians’ bowlers for its failure to reach the mammoth target of 346 in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division.
The Cats scratched and clawed at what they saw as an attainable run chase on a Hogans Road Oval that is smaller than its usual dimensions due to ground work, but came up 80 runs short of the desired total.
Cats president Steve McNamara said his players gave themselves every opportunity to hunt down the target, but were bettered by the bowling of the visitors.
“It was quite a good effort by the boys. Most weeks, 266 would get you home,” he said..
“The ground was a bit slower than the previous week, but I don’t think that had too much of an impact.
“They just bowled pretty well.”
The Cats made an encouraging start with skipper Darrel Brown (36) and Chris Henry (42) combining for an 80-run stand.
Then came the turning point in the match as the Cats lost 3-16.
“At 1-80, you’re in a good spot,” McNamara said. “But, when you’re 4-96 chasing 345, it’s a big ask then isn’t it?”
The Cats were too far behind the eight ball.
They got production out of Luke Goegan (50), Dean Evans (47), Asif Jan (31) and Travis Waring (21 not out), but this was a super-sized run chase, one that needed a century-maker like the Mentone side had in Bageshwar Bisht (123) seven days earlier.
“From the outset, the guys applied themselves and were really confident,” McNamara said.
“It was looking pretty good for a while, but in the end it was probably too many to chase down.”
The loss comes at a huge cost for the Cats. They are now eight points outside the top four and no longer control their destiny.
“The disappointing aspect of yesterday is we could’ve probably cemented a spot [in the finals]. Now, you’ve certainly got to win the next two games and hope some results pan our way,” McNamara said.
The Cats will face Airport West-St Christophers in the penultimate round at Hogans Road, starting Saturday.
Hoppers Crossing 266 (L Goegan 50 D Evans 47 C Henry 42 D Brown 36 A Jan 31 MJ Walker 6-64 D Stevens 2-51) lt Old Mentonians 9-345 (B Bisht 123 J Seeary 68no J Tolley 34) and 0-26
Barkly Street Uniting 112 (S Christensen 25 T Semmens 7-38 J Denton 2-22) lt Point Cook 144 (T Semmens 41 S Lucas 3-32) and 8-169 (K Raichura 52 D Groves 36 A Whear 25 S Lucas 3-35 D Williams 2-58); Sunshine YCW 53 (AK Edrich 7-12 S Crea 3-26) and 111 (D Grainger 39 N Johnson 6-31 AK Edrich 3-11) lt Werribee Centrals 201 (S Crea 40 D Cachia 30 L Simpson 28 F Unaid 3-31 MT Schwartz 3-44); Footscray ANA 309 (SA Kukucka 91 J Wills 60 D Nightingale 59 T Cooper 34no S Chakrabarty 3-41 R Youl 2-64) d Seabrook 180 (T Martin 3-28 D Stefanides 2-15 SA Kukucka 2-27)