Demons hold all the aces

The 2012-13 Premier Grand Final will be decided on the final day with Ringwood needing to reverse Melbourne’s first innings victory to take the flag.

The Demons are in pole position thanks in part to Matthew Begbie’s magnificent 93. He batted with patience and maturity to help his side overcome the Rams’ tricky 234.

When Ben Osborne finally declares tomorrow, he knows his opposition only have to bat through the day to emerge victorious.

Ringwood will start day three on 4-99, a lead of 78, and will be looking for quick runs to set up an early declaration. Tom Stray (63no) and Brendan Walsh (2no) the overnight batsmen.

With a maximum of 90 overs to play they face a race against time to grab the ten Melbourne wickets they need to win.

Melbourne started the morning on the front foot when Michael Hill crashed Michael Topp’s first ball to the boundary for four.

Hill looked set for a big score before he was swallowed in the gully by Brendan Walsh off Holland for 43.begbie_ducks_a_bouncer_web

Dutchy then struck again minutes later when Alex Keath was trapped LBW for nought.

Ringwood smelled blood but Begbie and Demons skipper Andrew Kent steadied the ship to take their side to 3-92 at drinks.

After the break Ringwood recovered, Kent’s edge off Holland gleefully snaffled by Tom Stray at slip.

Yesterday’s bowling star, Brenton McDonald, proved a valuable partner for Begbie as they put on 50 for the fifth wicket.

McDonald looked composed at the crease before Osborne made an inspired bowling change. David King came into the attack and was immediately cut for back-to-back boundaries by the left-hander.

However, King got his man minutes later when he slashed straight into the arms of Holland at gully for 34.

Things got even better when Matthew Brown was caught by Loorham the very next ball to leave the Demons 6-159, still 75 behind.

Middlin survived the hat-trick and settled to help Melbourne through to 6-178 at tea. Begbie 62 not out at the other end.

It looked a foregone conclusion from there. But the Rams are made of stern stuff and set up a magnificent finish when Middlin nicked to Loorham off King for nine after the break.

With 56 runs still needed, Patrick Smith entered the bear pit. He made an invaluable 22 before he became Holland’s fourth victim.

Melbourne weren’t home just yet, but Chris Thompson and Begbie saw to that. Thompson’s little cameo, which included a huge straight six off Holland, ended when he was caught by Loorham for 21. Holland finished with 5-88.

Begbie deserved a ton for his show of defiance, but instead he was last man out caught by Topp off Daniel King to give Melbourne a lead of 21.keath_lbw_web

David King and Tom Stray, stepping in for the injured Nathan Walsh, got to work in reply as they pushed for the reserve outright.

King couldn’t repeat his first innings fifty this time when he was trapped lbw by Keath for three.

Keath then had Loorham caught behind for ten before sneaking one through the defences of Holland for five.

Skipper Osborne was next to go, bowled by McDonald for 12.

But Stray’s fine half-century will give the Rams hope of upsetting the applecart on the final day of action.da_king_bowls_web

Play resumes at 11.30am tomorrow morning.

 

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