ONE of the tightest cricket seasons in recent decades of the Busselton-Margaret River A-Grade competition continued on Saturday when top team Dunsborough lost to Margaret River Hawks, and Yallingup-Oddbods defeated Cowaramup in a close contest at Cowaramup.
As a result the A-Grade points table for the Yates Shield - now on hold, as the T20 competition starts this week - sees Dunsborough leading on 61 points, followed by St Marys on 58 points, Yallingup-Oddbods on 49 points, Margaret River Hawks on 46 points, and Cowaramup (who have played one game less than the top four) in fifth place on 36 points.
Exceptionally windy weather played havoc with the games last weekend, with umpires in some games dispensing with the bails after they were blown off the stumps dozens of times, and seam bowlers doing it tough when they had to push into the wind.
Margaret River Hawks won a good toss at Dunsborough and used the pitch when it was at its best to compile 159 in 49 overs.
Chris McLean (49), made the most of a let-off early in his innings to top score for Hawks, with Darcy Bailey (24 not out) and debutant Sam Roots (25) offering invaluable support.
Young Dunsborough offspinner Elijah Truscott extracted plenty of turn from the wicket and finished with exceptional figures of 6-33.
Chasing 160 to win, Dunsborough lost key batsman Alex Roberts without scoring, and went on to make 134 all out, with Seb Watts (29) and Mat Lepidi (21 not out) leading the way.
Hawks had plenty of depth in their bowling, and it was a particularly good win considering key players Jay Wynd and Mark Natale were both unavailable.
At Cowaramup Oval, Yallingup-Oddbods got away to a bright start and compiled 182, with experienced hands Nayton Colombera (47) and Ben Payne (36) both finding good form in preparation for Country Week.
Bulls skipper Kavy de Silva earned excellent figures of 5-34 with the ball to lead his team.
Chasing 183, the Bulls lost key batsmen Fraser Oates (6) and Kavy de Silva (0) cheaply but managed to get close, ending on 151 with Rumesh Silva (37) supported by Josh Curtis (18).
One of the highlights of the game - and the season - was a brilliant diving catch at deep midwicket by Max Walsh to dismiss Shane Herbst.
In B-Grade cricket, Vasse continued on their winning way by hitting 4-150 in 33 overs (Chris Dendle making 68 not out) to overcome Yallingup-Oddbods (147), of which Tom Payne hit 46 runs.
Offspinner Tom Perks returned great figures of 5-31 for Vasse.
The other game saw Dunsborough compile an impressive 6-213 against Hawks, with skipper Cam Morris (66) hitting his best score for five years.
Hawks responded with 152, with many batsmen getting good starts but none able to go on with it.
In C-Grade cricket, third generation Yallingup-Oddbods player Jared Mott hit 56 not out on debut as YOBS (8-144) humbled Nannup (66) on the turf wicket at Barnard Park.
Emma Bresser took 4-36 for Nannup, while seamer James Trewren snared 5-11 for Yallingup-Oddbods, including a hat-trick.
On the synthetic wicket at Barnard Park, Dunsborough compiled 4-231 against St Marys, with opener Ian Truscott (81 not out) batting through the innings and sharing a century stand for the second wicket with Simon Smith (75).
In response St Marys were held to 9-136 from 40 overs.
At Bovell Park, Vasse (4-232, with Chris Cook hitting 68 not out) were too strong for Hawks, who were dismissed for 66 in reply.
The remaining game saw Cowaramup hit 6-217, including 57 not out from Peirce Coughlan, and hold YOBS Academy to 7-133, with Riley Wood hitting 41 runs.