IRREWARRA has ended its four-game losing streak and kept its finals aspirations alive with a crucial win against Apollo Bay.
The Bay had a chance to cement its place in the top four and keep the Redbacks in fifth spot when the teams met at Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve.
But Irrewarra showed fight with everything on the line, turning around its form that had resulted in six losses in the past seven rounds.
The Redbacks can now secure their spot in finals with a win against Alvie in this weekend’s final round.
If they lose, and Apollo Bay beats eighth-placed Warrion, then the Sharks can leapfrog Irrewarra into fourth spot.
“It was good to get back on the winners’ list after a few losses,” Irrewarra’s David Jackson said.
“The win doesn’t guarantee a spot in finals, but the good thing is that it’s now in our hands, we didn’t want to have to rely on other results,” he said.
Jackson said his team would take plenty of confidence out of Saturday’s win which ended its “slump”.
He said a combination of things had contributed to the recent losses.
“It was a bit of everything, we were going for too many runs, we weren’t taking wickets, it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what was going wrong,” Jackson said.
“But we have a chance to turn it around now and play finals,” he said.
“We’ve got the talent, people just hadn’t been performing, but on the weekend everything just clicked again.”
Irrewarra put in a “real team performance” in Saturday’s clash.
Bowlers Jeff Percy, Bryce McDonald and Nick Hay all took two wickets to help restrict Apollo Bay to 9-172, before openers Ian Taylor and Kane Quickensted led the run chase to reach 6-191.
The Redbacks had four batsman reach the 30s – Taylor, 36, Quickensted, 38, Nick Hay, 34, and Percy, 37.
Apollo Bay co-captain Jack Pascoe said it was disappointing the Sharks could not secure their finals spot, but was quick to turn attention to this weekend’s final round.
“Obviously it was a really disappointing one for us, we just didn’t make enough runs and then dropped some disappointing catches, it makes it hard when you’re defending a small total,” he said.
“We just need to beat Warrion and hope Irrewarra loses to Alvie.”
Virgil Morrow, 42 runs, and Rowan Harwood, 33, were the stand-outs for Apollo Bay in Saturday’s loss.