EAST Gambier carries its strong form into the Christmas break after a comfortable victory over Penola in round six of Barber Shield cricket at McCorquindale Park on Saturday.
A controlled batting performance ensured the Bulldogs eased to first-innings honours with 35 overs left in the second day’s play.
Penola’s under-par 96 was not enough, despite the home side making scoring runs a challenge.
East resumed on 1/38 and experienced a rough start after both Darren Whitehorn and Ben Hentschke fell in quick succession.
Penola bowlers applied pressure onto new batsmen Dion Stratford and Emerson Marks.
The Eagles effectively slowed East’s charge with just 25 runs scored during the first 28 overs of the day.
But despite bringing the scoreboard to a standstill, Penola could not take regular wickets.
The solid techniques of Stratford and Marks defied the hosts ball after ball.
The pair proved their class and battled for 179 deliveries with a 41-run partnership, which wiped out any threat of a Penola victory.
With just 16 runs required, the hosts finally found success when Stratford was trapped lbw by Conrad Slabber on 20.
Two overs later, Slabber claimed another scalp with Matthew Hastings caught for one.
But it was too little, too late for the Eagles, as Marks hit the winning runs alongside East captain Alex Hentschke.
The duo built a 56-run stand before Hentschke was bowled for 28.
Shortly after he signalled his side’s declaration with a solid total of 6/165 on the board.
Marks’ unbreakable defence frustrated the home side until the end with 60 off 164 balls.
Ben Clark scored a run-a-ball six to also remain not out.
The Eagles threw everything at the Bulldogs with eight bowling options, but only three found success.
Waters was the major threat with an economical 2/15 from 16 overs, while Jack Mullan and Slabber also claimed a pair each.
Penola showed more fight with the bat during the second innings, led by its openers Jase Bateman and Lewis March.
March was the main contributor with five boundaries, while Bateman played himself in to build a 50-run stand.
But the Eagles’ promising start was ruined by a hot spell from Clark.
The veteran right-armer dismissed March on 32 and Jack Schulz for a two-ball duck, while Bateman was caught and bowled by Ben Hentschke.
Mullan and Logan Gibbs remained at the crease until stumps to ensure Penola finished at 3/71.
East’s third first-innings win sealed second spot on the ladder, while the Eagles are not far behind in the finals race in fifth position heading into the Christmas break.