Fate hanging in the balance

The Mariners’ first and third grade teams will play a critical first two hours against Perth at Fletcher Park this Saturday that will shape their fortunes.

First grade dominated all but the last hour of the day in the Demons’ lair after Perth batted first.

Brendon Diamanti struck with the second ball of the day and when he claimed his second wicket, the home side was 3-37.

Craig Simmons removed key batsmen Jonathan Wells (52) and Adam Wheater (18) and the visitors were right on top of Perth at 6-83. The left-arm orthodox spinner snared 4-33 from 19 overs.

Setting out after 150, the Mariners made a cautious start. Sam Whiteman, playing his first innings back from the Western Warriors, held firm as wickets tumbled around him. Rockingham-Mandurah lost 4-21 to stutter at 4-50.

The stumps score of 6-102 will see the countdown for the last 49 runs being eagerly watched by other teams around the top six.

Third-grade captain Tony Coulson played the reassuring hand that his young team required, as Rockingham-Mandurah’s 205 was made to appear towering after the bowlers wrecked Perth’s top order.

Coulson stroked 15 boundaries in a season-best 82 at Fletcher Park.

Daniel Jones added 29 before Chris Loveridge made a late-order free-swinging 55.

Perth were struggling on 5-59 by stumps.