By Trevor Jackson
EAST Gambier sits unbeaten at the top of the Hoggies Wines Barber Shield cricket ladder after a hard-fought Round 2 victory over Penola on Saturday at Scott Park.
A patient 43 runs off 106 deliveries from Connor Little laid the foundations for the Bulldogs, with some late flurries towards the bottom order as the overs ran down.
Penola won the toss and elected to bat but with the score at just two Lewis March was clean bowled by East captain Alex Hentschke for a golden duck to put the visitors on the back foot.
Sam Klemm came and settled for just four balls before he was sent back to the sidelines, caught-and-bowled off Hentschke for no score.
Penola was in trouble but Jack Mullan and captain Mark Smith dug in and began to compile a handy 43-run partnership.
But with the score at 47 a mini-collapse unfolded, with Mullan caught behind off Kevin Thomson, them just one run later the incoming Michael Waters was out for one, followed by Josh Doyle for a duck.
Paul Ellis lasted nine balls for his duck and suddenly Penola was reeling at 6/53.
Lachlan Jones joined his captain at the crease and the pair began to add some respectability to the score card, before Smith had his stumps knocked over by the speedster Hentschke and from there it was all Penola could do to muster 98 runs in the 36th over.
Smith topped the scoresheet with 39 runs, while Mullan managed 31, but only Jones joined the pair in double figures.
Hentshcke cleaned up for East with 5/17 off seven overs, while Emerson Marks snagged 3/15 off eight.
The run chase did not start too well for the home side.
Just two balls Darren Whitehorn was judged lbw to Waters for a duck and Penola’s hopes looked a bit more positive.
Marks looked in good form with the bat as well, putting on 16 runs in a 20-run partnership with Little but the wickets then began to tumble.
Marks was also judged lbw to Waters, with the score at 20, before Kevin Thomson was run out for one, just one run later.
Dion Stratford added two more before he was caught-and-bowled off Conrad Slabber, then when Leigh Von Duve was caught behind off the same bowler, East was in its own world of hurt at 5/29.
Hentschke then rallied with Little and the pair added a further 23 before the skipper was caught off the bowling of Ellis.
Victory still looked a distant chance but Travis Younghusband joined Little for a timely 43-run partnership to take the Bulldogs to within four runs of the required target.
Younghusband fell on the final ball of the day with the total at 109 and victory in the bag.
Waters finished with 2/15 and Slabber 2/21.