By Tara Murray
Rupertswood has moved into the Gisborne and District Cricket Association Johnstone Shield top four heading into the final round.
With six teams still fighting for finals spots, a win on Saturday against Wallan was vital for Rupertswood and its finals hopes.
Rupo captain-coach Andrew Pizaro said: “Every game is a final at the moment.
“I spoke with the boys after the game, that at the end of the season, our season will be measured on success in other ways, not as a team, but as a club.
“So far what we are hoping for the next couple of years is happening now and they [the young players] are performing for us and you can’t hold them back, they want to play cricket.
“We can brush off playing finals and it will be a new learning curve for them.
“If it doesn’t come for the first XI they’ll get behind the rest of the club.”
On Saturday, they faced a Wallan side also keen on securing a top four spot.
Rupo stepped up with the ball and then the bat to come home with a convincing win.
The Magpies were bowled out for 137, giving Rupo a manageable run chase.
Pizaro said the key was to get both openers for the Magpies and they were able to make their batsmen make mistakes.
“It was a reward for consistently making the batsmen make mistakes,” he said.
“It put us in a situation with a total that we thought we could chase down.”
Will Honner took 4-37 and Joel Muir was tidy taking 3-15.
Pizaro said Honner had been on the fringe of the side when he came back to the club, but had proved a vital player.
“Having a look at his stats he had the best strike rate going around,” he said.
“The longer he bowls the better he bowls and he bowls a heavy ball and is outstanding.”
He said Muir, in his first season at the club, continued to get better each week and was taking more responsibility on field.
Rupo had no issue getting the runs. After a slow start, they finished 5-161. Pizaro said the most pleasing thing was how they got the runs.
“The last two games we’ve started to make some good runs,” he said.
“Wallan bowled really well and stopped us in the first 10 overs. Jordan Curran got 54 and batted outstanding and others chipped in around him.
“To lose only five wickets after needing 107 off the last 20 overs was really good.”
The win moves Rupertswood up to third with four points separating third to sixth heading into the final round.
Rupo faces second placed Bacchus Marsh in the final round of the season
. With the fifth and sixth placed teams facing the two bottom sides, a win is vital.
East Sunbury is the only team that has secured a finals spot, after beating Sunbury United.
Sunbury Kangaroos saved it until the last over to claim victory against Gisborne.
The Kangaroos now sit 1.82 points outside the top four.
Bacchus Marsh had no troubles against Macedon.
The Cats made 6-134 from their overs, with the Bulls finishing 6-136