With a finals spot potentially on the line, Mooroopna rose to the occasion in Saturday’s Haisman Shield match with Shepparton United.
Cats captain Paul Marshall called for his side to show some fight heading into the game and his troops duly delivered — particularly with devastating bowling early on to leave United 8-21 in no time.
From there victory was a formality; United fought on to finish at 57, a target passed with ease by the Cats before stumps to lock up the first-innings win.
Marshall was ecstatic his side had come to play in a crucial game.
‘‘Obviously it’s a massive game for us and to come out and field and bowl the way we did was very pleasing,’’ he said.
‘‘It was good for the confidence of the group to see we can play like that.
‘‘We had a chat before the game and identified putting them under pressure as the key.
‘‘We know we’re good enough when we get going and to put them under big pressure by not allowing them to score, and then taking wickets, really got the momentum going our way.’’
The opening bowling pair of Marshall and Jeremy Mullane worked wonders; of United’s top seven bats, only Rehan Bari made double-figures while Chris Rendina, Matt Barclay, Hugh Conway and Dwain Vidler all went for ducks.
If it was not for Damon Zampaglione the damage could have been far worse; the number eight batsman made an unbeaten 30 to add some respectability to the score.
Marshall finished up with an exceptional 5-14 from 12 overs with Mullane’s 3-28 equally important.
‘‘It’s always good to help the side in any way and to do it in such an important game was pleasing,’’ Marshall said.
‘‘But some of the catches taken and the fielding throughout was fantastic.
‘‘Jeremy was superb again, he’s had a fantastic season, but it took great bowling and fielding from everyone.’’
With the bat the Cats got a quality start through opener Will Hale (32) with Hayden Smith (17 not out) and Sam O’Brien (16 not out ) unbeaten at stumps.
They were 4-96 at stumps, already 39 runs in front and in a fantastic position to push for an outright win.
‘‘We’ll have to think about it during the week, but we’ll certainly be putting the foot down and getting the pressure on United, and looking to take as many wickets as we can,’’ Marshall said.