Try as they might, Eastern Hill could not make up ground on the SDCA’s top four on Saturday afternoon.
After rolling wooden spoon Kilmore all out for 180 the Eastern Hill chase began at Kings Park.
But it didn’t last long — before the hosts could blink, they were nine wickets down for 60 runs.
A 30-run opening stand between Brayden Speechley and Alan Sinclair was cut short when Sinclair was dismissed for eight.
Speechley fell just four runs later for a well-worked 25 — and wickets fell routinely until the tail-ending partnership of Stuart Hanley and Fraser Lewis became a thorn in Kilmore’s side.
With number 11 Lewis fending off Kilmore’s attack, Hanley burst into action, smashing 54 not out which included nine boundaries.
Despite Hanley’s season-best batting figures, Lewis was eventually dismissed for eight, leaving Eastern Hill all out for 127, ending the home side’s bid to topple Kilmore.
Kilmore’s Josh Buttler nabbed match-winning figures of 6/43 from 22 overs, including 10 maidens, while Connor McLeod pitched in with 3/13 from his 15 overs.
The result sees the victors remain at the foot of the Seymour and District Cricket Association ladder, with Eastern Hill one spot above in fifth; nine points adrift of a top four spot.
Eastern Hill coach Craig White said the result was ‘‘really disappointing’’ after his side played well on the first day.
‘‘We seem to be making a habit of humongous batting collapses — it’s been a constant this year unfortunately,’’ he said.
‘‘But I think that goes with our experience as batsmen, we have a lot of young guys and they don’t quite have a sense of reading the game and understanding what’s needed for the team at the time.
‘‘It does go to show, a veteran like Stuart Hanley can come in at 10 and make a 50 though.’’
Next up for Eastern Hill is a match against league leaders Tallarook.
‘‘It’s funny because in our first game of the season we comfortably beat Tallarook, it’s just been going downhill from there. That was in a one dayer so we are looking forward to get back into it. We’re not short of positivity,’’ he said.
In other matches in the round, Avenel completed the job against the Yea Tigers away from home and Tallarook shared the points with Broadford.
After finishing day one in a commanding position, Avenel reached 9/102 as William Wheeler top scored with 38 and Andrew Chisholm claimed bowling figures of 4/18.
In response Yea reached 5/59 from the remaining 20 overs in the day’s play — Kyle Hippisley did the damage with the ball, taking 4/22.
It was an important win for Avenel, as they closed the gap on second-placed Yea. The teams are now tied on points, with only percentage separating them.
Meanwhile, Tallarook notched up their third draw of the season, this time against Broadford.
After finishing the first day at 5/125, the lower order put together a strong effort to reach 200 all-out.
And with only 28 overs left in the day, Broadford reached 4/90 to ensure the match was declared a draw.
The result leaves Tallarook atop the table by three points, and Broadford comfortably in fourth, nine points clear of Eastern Hill.