Excelsior in control of Grace Shield final
Title-favourites Excelsior High are in command over many-time champions Eltham High heading into today's second day of the three-day urban area ISSA/GraceKennedy Grace Shield cricket competition final at Melbourne Oval.
Winning the toss and electing to bat on a typically flat Melbourne wicket, the Kirkland Bailey-coached Excelsior first put up a competitive 228 in their first innings.
This was on the back of 59 from Adrian Clarke, 32 from national U-17 batsman, Raewin Senior, and 26 from national U-17 wicketkeeper Shamarae Lindo.
Bowling for Eltham High, another national Under-17 batsman, Ramone Francis, a part-time off-spinner, claimed five for 93 off 35 overs and Rahim Garnett took four for 72 off 31.2.
Eltham, in their response, closed the day in a precarious 70 for five, 158 runs in arrears.
Eltham's main batsman, Francis, made a quickfire 25 off 15 deliveries, inclusive of five fours.
His dismissal, however, at 52, triggered somewhat of a mini collapse.
Senior, bowling left-arm spin, led the way with four for 13, with support coming from Kenneil Green, one for 20.
"I am comfortable with the way we batted, but not entirely pleased," said Bailey, coach of Excelsior.
"Our senior batters showed a high level of irresponsibility and thus the first innings total was not what we wanted it to be.
"However, we know we have the bowling capabilities to defend 228 and we are well on our way to doing so."
Eltham's coach, Shawn Hedlam, who was a member of the victorious Eltham team in 2012, said his team may be down, but are surely not out of the game.
"We are on the back foot, but not out of it," he said. "Come tomorrow (today) the aim is to apply ourselves and try to get the total and if not, as close to it as possible.
"It's a two innings match and if we miss out on first innings we will just have to go for an outright result."