Taylor Beard registered his first century for Echuca as it posted its highest score in 10 years on Saturday.By Geordie Cowan
Echuca recorded the fifth-highest score in its history on the back of a superb century from Taylor Beard against Bamawm-Lockington United at Victoria Park on Saturday.
Beard plundered 15 boundaries and one six in his innings of 127, which was his first century for Echuca.
Spending almost three hours at the crease, last season’s GMC medal co-winner maintained a high scoring rate throughout his innings as the team was bowled out for 362 in the penultimate over.
The score was Echuca’s highest since reaching 6/364 against Rochester Tigers in 2003-04.
Partnerships were the main reason the home team secured such a big score, with four combinations passing the 50-run mark.
Almost all the batsmen secured positive starts, with Curtis Townrow (46) and Shaun Hon (34) standing out, before a superb aggressive knock from Nick Dolan (67 not out) had the team looking to reach 400 runs at one stage.
Ben Docking toiled hard for the visitors to capture three wickets for the day and while Shannon Bish claimed as many scalps, they came at a more expensive rate.
After winning the toss and batting, BLU struck early when Brayden Serpell had Brendan Prendergast (9) caught.
After the setback, Fraser Buchanan (21) played a solid supporting innings with Beard to put on 53 runs for the second wicket, before he was caught off the bowling of Tim Hermans (2/58).
This brought Townrow to the crease and, with Beard, put on a rapid 94 runs as the newcomer struck five boundaries and one six in his almost run-a-ball innings.
He was dismissed by Docking, with the score at 3/165 after 42 overs at tea.
The punishment did not stop for BLU as Adam Jones came to the crease, hitting five fours in his 29-run effort, with Beard registering his century during the 53-run partnership.
Bish (3/73) then struck twice in two overs to remove Beard and Andrew Beaumont (16), with Liam Gwynne taking a superb catch to dismiss the latter.
At 6/249, the visitors would have hoped to bowl Echuca out for less than 300, but then Hon and Dolan combined to put on 74 runs in 72 balls.
Dolan stayed unbeaten until the end, with his nine-boundary innings coming at a strike rate of 112 as he smashed his previous highest A grade score of 23.
Docking (3/69) was rewarded for his efforts with two late wickets, sandwiching a direct hit from the boundary by Serpell, running out Josh Preston.
Echuca captain Prendergast said the team adapted well to the conditions and the players made the most of their time at the wicket, most exemplified by Beard.
‘‘He has shown that potential for a while and we were just hanging out waiting for him to put it all together,’’ Prendergast said.
‘‘It was not only good for us, but good for him personally.
‘‘The most pleasing part was the contributions all the way down the order.
‘‘Nick (Dolan) getting 60-odd was really good and finished the innings really well for us.’’
Prendergast expected a similarly good pitch to bat on and quick outfield next week, noting it was important Echuca did not become complacent.
BLU captain Docking paid tribute to the home side and, despite the high score, could not fault his bowlers too much.
‘‘We worked hard, but they certainly batted better than we bowled,’’ he said.
‘‘We didn’t bowl a wide in 80 overs and, considering the conditions, battled on reasonably well.
‘‘The momentum got with Echuca and a fantastic innings from Taylor (Beard) and we were unable to stop it or halt it with any effectiveness.’’
Adding to BLU’s difficulties was an injury to Greg Pearse from the previous week which prevented him from bowling.
‘‘We certainly need to come out next week and make sure we bat 80 overs and give ourselves a chance to chase it down,’’ Docking said.
‘‘Hopefully the pitch will be as good as it was today and we can have a good run chase.’’
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