Big-hitting Irrewarra shows its intentions

Irrewarra batsman Leighton Hart announced his Melbourne Country Week intentions with an ominous 85

IRREWARRA has sounded a warning to its Division One finals rivals with a crushing batting display against Stoneyford.

An under-strength line-up smashed 8-369 off 90 overs –the highest top-grade score of the season – to claim a six-wicket win at Pirron Yallock.

Irrewarra reached the 179-run target four wickets down, and hit out to condemn Stoneyford to a long day in the field.

Four batsmen passed 40, with opener Leighton Hart hitting his straps with 85 at the top of the order.

Brent Hay made 73, Jessie Gurrie smashed 66 not out and Jeff Percy chipped in with 44.

Irrewarra’s day was made easier given Stoneyford used 10 bowlers with the game over, but the hard-hitting innings came as a welcome confidence boost.

Lincoln Dare, 3-91, and Paul Menzies, 3-48, were the most effective Stoneyford bowlers.

Irrewarra captain Tim Foley nominated Hart’s season-best knock, and Hay’s return to form, as the biggest positives out of the performance.

“Leighton’s a top-five bat in the league and he needed to find form, and he’s got that the last couple of weeks and in the Twenty20s we played in Warrnambool,” he said.

“He’s started to hit the ball a lot cleaner.

“The other one was Brent Hay. He’s in that position where between three and nine we can shuffle it around in any order. It was important for him to get some runs to move up the scale.

“We’ve got Mick Embrey, Jake Carmody and Ian Scoble to come back into the side and we’ve had three guys make 70s.”

Stoneyford captain Levi Dare said his players’ heads dropped after conceding the match.

But he said learning that Warrion lost against City United, which ensured Stoneyford’s season remains alive, also contributed to the blow out.

“That’s what the boys knew, we knew the result of the Warrion game before our game was over. We knew if we lost we were still in with a shot,” Dare said.

“Once they passed the score our boys started to think about next week,” he said.

Dare lauded the performance of Menzies, who backed up his 41 from day one with three wickets, and said opener Lincoln Dare bowled well with the match still live.

“There is a little bit to take out of it,” he said.

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