Hamish Winter-Irving has almost single-handedly rescued Footscray-Edgewater’s season from fading into oblivion.
After four Victorian Premier Cricket losses in a row had left his side teetering on the edge in equal eighth position heading into the final round, Winter-Irving took it upon himself to do something about it.
The Central Park-St Brendan’s superstar reduced rival Geelong to rubble, at one stage boasting figures of 5-2, before finishing with 5-23 in the Cats’ paltry total of 57.
His side then motored to 4-256, before declaring to have another go at the fragile Geelong top order, which had crumbled to 7-17 early in the first innings.
The move paid off, with Winter-Irving taking another scalp to see the Cats reduced to 2-19 from seven overs.
Also playing in the match was former Karramomus player Josh McDonald.
Geelong’s wicketkeeper felt the wrath of Winter-Irving in the first dig, falling for a golden duck to the fired-up speedster.
McDonald engineered a stumping later in the day and will face the tough task of attempting to help avoid an outright loss when play resumes on Saturday.
Not to be outdone, Tallygaroopna product Ryan Sidebottom kept Carlton’s slim finals hopes alive with a dominant performance.
The opening bowler finished with figures of 6-44, which included the scalps of the top five Melbourne University batsmen.
The haul pushed his season total past 40 wickets and sees him rocket to the top of the premier cricket wicket-taking table, after snaring 11 poles in his past two matches.
The Blues secured first innings points, reaching 5-163 at stumps, but will need to push for an outright victory and hope other results go their way to extend their season.
Katandra’s Daniel Sartori will look towards a better showing in the finals after falling for a golden duck on Saturday.
The Monash opener was the only batter to not make double figures in the chase, with 14 runs still needed to secure a win and seventh spot after the side finished on 4-104 in reply to top side Camberwell’s 115.
Tyler Larkin has a chance to finish the year on a high for Geelong’s second grade side.
The struggling Cats sit second-last on the ladder and will chase Footscray-Edgewater’s 6-303 on the final day of the season.
Carlton third grade first drop Andrew Poppa also has the opportunity to bat big on Saturday after falling for seven in the first innings.
Poppa was due in next with the score at 0-51 in what will be his side’s last match of the year.