The MCA Under-21s have reined in the Over-40s to score a hard-fought win in the 17th annual Australia Day game.
Despite a superb opening spell from Doveton North left-armer Bryce Dinger (2-14), the Veterans got away strongly. Gunbower's Jimmy Huddle led the charge with a brilliant 59, supported by Reds' Alec Kahn (23) and Sacred Heart's Aldo Lagona (21), and at 2-99 after 21 overs, a big score loomed. The Under-21s slow bowlers put the brakes on, with skipper Lachlan Smith (EMT) grabbing 4-33 in the middle overs. Maccabi medium-pacer Amir Meyerowitz (2-1) mopped up the tail and the Veterans had crashed to a very modest 145 after promising much more.
The Under-21s chase started poorly, and testing spells from Vets skipper Glenn Cartledge of Batman's Hill (1-23) and Malvern offie Ben Herath (1-17) had them teetering at 3-38. Reds pair Matt Johnson (50) and James Bartlett (11) steadied the innings, taking the score to 3-82 with Johnson's lofted driving a feature. Barnawartha leggie Paul Huxley (2-17) got his wrong'un working and the Under-21s slid to 5-86 and then 6-113. With the game in the balance, steadying contributions from ESO's Nikhil Singh (19), skipper Smith (16*) and Dinger (11*) saw the Under-21s safely home by three wickets.
Coming on top of last year's impressive win, the Under-21s have now closed the gap and just trail the Veterans 9-8 in the seventeen contests to date.
Scores: Under-21s 7-147 (M.Johnson 50 N.Singh 19 P.Huxley 2-17) d Veterans 145 (J.Huddle 59 A.Kahn 23 A.Lagona 21 L.Smith 4-33 A.Meyerowitz 2-1 B.Dinger 2-14)
Pictured: Bryce Dinger fires one down at ESO's Amit Mehta at Fawkner Park 5