By Lance Jenkinson
James Freeman is the man for the big moments for Werribee in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association.
The all-rounder’s figures do not always jump off the scorecard, but his impact with bat and ball in crucial times in games is almost unmatched.
Freeman makes his moments in the spotlight count, whether it be with building pressure with his pace bowling or team-boosting middle order batting.
In the top of the table clash with Altona at JK Grant Reserve on Saturday, Freeman once again played a crucial role, steadying the innings with 39 in a 65-run partnership with Adam Alifraco (25 not out), who was just as vital on this day.
Chasing a tricky 138 for victory on a tough wicket to score on, Werribee’s innings was at a crossroads at 4-64 when Freeman and Alifraco formed a partnership.
Any hope the ladder leader Altona had of winning the game dissipated from that point on.
Werribee cruised to the target with 4.2 overs to spare.
“The game was in the balance at that point and it could’ve gone either way, but those two put on a good partnership to get us a comfortable win in the end,” Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien said.
“James Freeman play another magnificent knock for us.
“He was scoring all the time.
“And that was the role we wanted Adam Alifraco to do for us.
“Coming in at No. 6, just turn the strike over.”
Shaun Dean was the other standout with the bat for Werribee, making 33.
Earlier in the day, Werribee’s bowlers made it difficult for Altona to get a wriggle on.
Jonathan Burton set the tone for the Tigers with a tight 2-11 off nine overs.
Jack Budd bowled in the tough period of the innings when Altona was trying to up the run rate and claimed 3-43.
Second-placed Werribee has moved to within six points of Altona with two rounds to play.
The Tigers will host Balwyn in a two-day game at Chirnside Park starting on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing tumbled out of the top six after a dismal loss away to Noble Park. Set 217 for victory, the Cats were bowled out for just 91.
The Cats will look to atone when they host Endeavour Hills at Hogans Road Reserve on Saturday