By Justin Flynn
The Drysdale-Portarlington rivalry went up a notch when round nine of Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association commenced on 28 January.
The two clubs enjoy an intense rivalry at the best of times, but with a finals spot up for grabs, they met each other in their annual twilight game at Portarlington.
Both sides are locked on 21 with the Hawks in fifth position and Port in sixth. A loss by either side would be catastrophic, especially for Port as it has a bye in the penultimate round. Whoever wins this round will leapfrog Ocean Grove and in to the top four, with Grove having a fortnight off courtesy of the bye.
It was Demons’ skipper Darren Duff who steered his team to a 200-plus score with a timely innings of 93. At 3/7 the Demons were in massive trouble, but a 70-run partnership between Duff and Paul McGrath (23) steadied things for a while – but then with the score at 5/77, the pressure was back on.
Youngster Sam Beeston strode to the crease and shared a 77-run stand with his skipper, who departed seven short of a century.
Josh Bowen (25) and Beeston (45) took the score up to a respectable 219 all out.
Just a day after becoming a father for the first time, Luke Malcolm was Drysdale’s most successful bowler with 4/39 from 12 penetrating overs while David Boyd’s 27 overs yielded just 51 runs.
In B Grade, Port sits in second place on the ladder and Drysdale fifth.
Port is locked in a tense battle for top spot against Wallington. Wallington made 222 and Port will resume its innings at 0/9.
Drysdale made a competitive 5/230 against Ocean Grove with Lachie Birse (74 not out) and Gavin Humphrey (45) the run-getters.