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19 February 2020
By DEAN LAWSON
The form of big-hitting all-rounder Mark Mbofana has catapulted Rupanyup-Minyip into serious contention for a Horsham Cricket Association A Grade title after leading the Blue Panthers to a T20 premiership.
Mbofana smashed an unbeaten 159 as part of a crushing home-and-away win over Jung Tigers on Saturday, then followed up with an unbeaten 49 on Sunday as his team clinched the first final of the season.
At Horsham City Oval on Sunday, Rupanyup-Minyip responded to Homers’ 20-over 9-95 with 1-96 from only 11 overs.
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Brent Hudson also made 31 and Jamie Byrne was on 13 at the crease with Mbofana when the Blue Panthers passed the target. Adam Carter and Bailey Young had earlier taken three wickets each, while Adam Atwood was the best of the Homers batsmen on 37.
Mbofana’s contribution in the T20 final took his overall unbeaten contribution with the bat at the weekend to 208 that collectively included 12 sixes and 16 fours.
On Saturday, a thin Jung Tigers attack had no answer to the big-hitting right-hander who rocketed his team well beyond a Tigers target of 134 to 3-246. Mbofana had earlier taken five wickets in the match.
He now takes that form into a clash against likely fellow finalists Horsham Saints for a two-day encounter at Horsham’s Coughlin Park.
Rupanyup-Minyip will bank on taking momentum in the clash against the Saints, who had been content with a draw against Homers on Saturday in a weather-affected game.
The efforts of Mbofana and the T20 final overshadowed the by-play that continues to unfold on the fringe of the top four.
Laharum has sneaked into fourth place on the ladder by a point from Noradjuha-Toolondo, the benefit of a win on forfeit over Blackheath-Dimboola.
Noradjuha-Toolondo ensured it remained well within striking distance of the swinging fourth spot by beating Colts in a tight encounter and now plays Blackheath-Dimboola, surrounded by uncertainty about its opponent’s ability to field a team.
Heath Lang shone with the ball for the Bullants, capturing 6-26 as Noradjuha-Toolondo managed to defend 162 by bowling Colts out for 154.
Laharum, meanwhile, is up against Colts where anything could happen, considering the talents of players in both camps.
A match between Homers and Jung Tigers rounds up this weekend’s games, where the Pigeons will attempt to distance themselves from the disappointment of Sunday. The Tigers, who had Tyler Puls, 51 not out, and Josiah Mock share a face-saving second-innings partnership of 66, will try to lift themselves for the challenge against the competition leader.
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