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Allansford batsman Jeph Rosolin faces up to Woodford bowler Jake McKinnon. CENTURIES from Russells Creek captain Nathan Divall and his hard-hitting teammate Paul Walker sunk Wesley-CBC’s finals charge in the penultimate round of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association division one matches on Saturday.
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Divall (104) and Walker (109) shared a 217-run stand for the third wicket to propel the eighth-placed side to victory over the Beavers at Jetty Flat. Creek finished at 6-311 in pursuit of Wesley-CBC’s 230.

That result leaves just five sides in the race for post-season action but with top side Nestles assured of finishing first, West Warrnambool, Merrivale, Woodford and Allansford are fighting for the other three semi-final berths.

West Warrnambool (5-148 declared) lept to second after relegating Merrivale (130) to third following a hard-fought win at Davidson Oval while Woodford (222) moved into the four after dismissing Allansford for just 113 on a wet pitch at Koroit’s Jack Keane Oval. Ninth-placed Port Fairy (195) ended Dennington’s slim finals hopes, bowling out the Dogs for 160.

Nestles extended its record to 10 wins and a draw after a comfortable win over Brierly-Christ Church. It is assured of finishing first regardless of its final-round showdown with second-placed West Warrnambool.

Russells Creek’s Divall was thrilled his side had claimed its first win since October.

“We were aiming for a bit of pride in our performances,” Divall said.

“We’ve been disappointed with the way our results have gone. It was nice to get it right.” He said he thought his bowlers had done well last week to restrict Wesley-CBC to 230.

But his partnership with Walker was match-defining. They came together at 2-72 after a fast-start from openers Matt Bignell (42 off 30 balls) and Tom Dark (12) and when their 217-run stand was broken late 60 overs later, they had carried their side to victory.

Divall’s second division one century included 13 fours and a six while Walker’s second ton this season in his return to the competition after several years away featured 17 fours.

Divall, in his first season as skipper, started well but had struggled for runs before Saturday, making double figures just twice (14 and 11) in his past nine knocks.

“I had a pretty lean run through the middle of the season, I’ve been working hard for the last six or eight weeks and it’s nice to get some.”

He said he had put extra pressure on himself to lead his young side. “You put high expectations on yourself and you want to perform for the team. I’m a proud person and I like to be able to help. It was nice to contribute.”

West Warrnambool started Saturday needing just 111 more runs with 10 wickets in hand to defeat Merrivale but a quick-kill wasn’t forthcoming. Merrivale bowled tight, keeping West to 5-148 declared off 75 overs with Ben Dobson continuing his good form with 60.

West captain Andrew Robb said it was “tough going” but his side achieved its aim.

“Our process for the game was to win,” he said. “I didn’t care if it took us to six o’clock to make the runs.”

Allansford captain Josh Parkinson said his side wouldn’t dwell on Saturday’s uncharacteristic performance of 113 with the bat, chasing Woodford’s 222.

“It was disappointing (Saturday) because we had a chance to cement our spot but we’ve wiped it now and move on,” he said.

Port Fairy captain Andrew McCartney was delighted with his side’s second win, surviving a late-fightback from Dennington’s lower order. After removing Dennington captain, danger-man Dustin Drew with the third ball of the day, Port (195) reduced the Dogs to 7-106. But a 43-run stand between Terry Beks and Mick Williams threatened to take the game away from the Pirates. After Williams’ dismissal, the Dogs were all out before tea for 160.

McCartney said his side was keen to bat out the rest of the day and make amends for its 7-28 collapse the previous week. Wicketkeeper Aaron Williams, batting at number three, blazed an unbeaten century, finishing at 122 off 97 balls, including 21 fours and a six.

At Reid Oval, Brierly had only four batsmen make double figures as the Bulls (173) fell short of Nestles’ 7-259.

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