VSDCA: Oakleigh's field day on a perfect pitch

OAKLEIGH'S Warrawee Park pitch was under water on Thursday night but on Saturday it proved a sound base for the Oaks to notch 9-272 against Balwyn.

The wicket proved troublesome early but once Oaks openers Brendan McGuinness (73) and Daniel Junkeer (22) batted through the first 20 overs the pitch played true as Oaks captain Jarrod Travaglia (110) made his first century of the season.

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Travaglia praised both the ground curator and his teammates for their efforts to make the pitch playable. The curator worked through much of Friday before the Oaks players gave the pitch extra rolling on Friday night.

"You couldn't see a blade of grass on Thursday night. The whole ground was under water," Travaglia said.

"It was an amazing turnaround. The curator did a lot of work on it and we went down on Friday night and worked on it and we got it up into a good, fair wicket.

"With us being one of the top sides and Balwyn being middle of the ladder, the last thing we wanted was to have to rely on the toss on Saturday.

"If we hadn't done the work it could have been a bad day for us."

Travaglia said he was happy with his own innings but praised the efforts of the openers and his middle-order partners for making the innings "pressure free".

"With a great opening partnership it let me come in and find my feet. I batted with BJ [McGuinness] and Matt Naughtin for long stretches. It felt like there was no pressure because the innings was set up early in the day."

But Travaglia has warned his team to not take the visiting batsmen lightly, especially if the ground becomes harder this week. "We thought that at the end of the day we might have been 20 runs short. Maybe 290 would have been a better score."

"We have done our homework on Balwyn and they seem more of a batting side than a bowling side plus Warrawee Park can be a hard ground to defend on, so we will need to bowl and field well and put them under a lot of pressure."

Play will resume at Warrawee Park at 1pm this Saturday.

The Oaks also had a successful match mid-week, beating Brighton by three wickets to earn a place in the VSDCA Twenty20 grand final.

The Oaks will now face Plenty Valley at Coburg City Oval on February 20 in the grand final with play starting at 5.15pm.

■ Mount Waverley has given itself every chance of getting the points over Ivanhoe posting 209 at Ivanhoe Park on Saturday. Mt Waverley wicketkeeper David Grossman made 76 not out while Navin Perera scored 49. Ivanhoe bowled out the visitors in the final overs leaving them to face two overs before stumps, with the home side 0-1 heading into the second day.

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