QUEENSCLIFF put space on its nearest challenger to the Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association A1 finals with a four-wicket win over Ocean Grove.
The Coutas entered the weekend a game clear of the fifth-placed Grubbers and after victory on Saturday Queenscliff enjoys a two-game buffer over Ocean Grove, Collendina and St Leonards, all on two-and-a-half wins.
An even bowling display saw Queenscliff restrict Ocean Grove to 5-150 from its 40 overs. In response, every Coutas batsman made it to double figures, aside from unbeaten Nat Stephens (5*), as Queenscliff passed the total with nine balls to spare.
While no Queenscliff batsman went on to score anything bigger than 29, Daniel Stott top-scored with that number while Tom Bakker made a quickfire 27 off 18 balls. Michael Thorton was the pick of the Grubbers bowlers, despite not taking a wicket, ending the day with figures of 0-11 from eight overs.
Skipper Frank Mileto said he was confident of tracking down the total and said while it was great to have a buffer in fourth position, there would be no resting on their laurels.
“We restricted them quite well… we back ourselves to make 150 every week,” Mileto said.
“It was a crucial win.
“They were fifth, we were fourth so to steal points off them was important.
“You’ve got to be on every week, any team can beat you. It’s good to have that buffer though.
“With six games left, you’d think you’d still have to win three or four.”
Another telling encounter awaits Queenscliff as it prepares to take on third-placed Jan Juc on Saturday.
The two teams are level on points with the victor to stand alone in third position.
When the sides met in round one, just one wicket separated them in a long-scoring nail-biter.
In other BPCA A1 matches, James Jirik made 65 to help Barrabool track down Jan Juc’s total of 6-206.
The Bulls claimed a six-wicket victory, interestingly of their four wickets lost, three of which fell by the batsman being run out.
Barrabool moved clear in second spot.
Anglesea showed its dominance, smashing Collendina by 131 runs. The Roos made 9-177 before storming through the Collendina line-up, Chris Hornsey taking 5-16.
St Leonards won its second match of the season in commanding fashion, defeating bottom side Barwon Heads by nine wickets. Captain Andrew Spengler began the run chase in positive fashion, hitting 50 runs off 45 deliveries before Taylor Bonner (32* off 39) and Kale Hoggins (29* off 83) guided the side home. Chris Egan played his part with a brilliant bowling performance, taking 4-19.
The Geelong Cricket Association will return to competition next week.