Positive result leaves Echuca second on ladder despite not having hit peak form yet.By Geordie Cowan
Echuca maintained its pressure on Rochester United at the top of the Goulburn Murray Cricket ladder after it completed an outright victory against Bunnaloo on Saturday.
The result also gives Echuca a full 12-point gap to third-placed Rochester Tigers as it seeks to solidify a top spot as the competition approaches the Christmas break.
Last week, Echuca bowled Bunnaloo out for 86 and had reached 6/191 at the end of play, but left open the possibility of batting on during the second day at Vic Park.
However, Echuca captain Brendan Prendergast announced the declaration before the start and Bunnaloo began its second innings.
The visiting side displayed more resilience in this week’s innings, with opening batsmen Luke Hartshorn (32) and Wendell Vagg (33) putting on 53 runs for the first wicket.
It was Prendergast who provided the breakthrough, capturing both openers, before Brad Jones and 17-year-old Angus McKindlay (16) added 38 runs for the fourth wicket.
However, when Taylor Beard bowled Jones for 29, the end came relatively quickly for Bunnaloo with the final seven wickets falling in 14 overs for 39 runs, with the team bowled out for 148 in the 54th over despite some late runs by Damien Russell (17).
Beard again bowled well to claim 3/24 from 14 overs — making it match figures of 8/52 — while Brandon Dixon was effective with the tail, finishing with 3/25.
Prendergast (2/42) and Josh Preston (2/14) were the other wicket-takers.
This left Echuca 43 runs behind and a healthy 23 overs in which to achieve the outright result.
However, the run chase was not without its drama as Echuca stumbled to 3/8, thanks to two wickets from Adam Thompson, before Fraser Buchanan (18) and Brandon Dixon (21 not out) guided the team to a six-wicket victory — its fourth straight win.
Prendergast was thrilled at the final outcome, believing the win helped put the team in a terrific position as it prepared for the second half of the season.
‘‘It’s a good result for us and it could be pretty important at the end of the (season),’’ he said.
‘‘It gives us a bit of an advantage over the other sides with the extra eight points and, hopefully, it still gives us the opportunity to finish top if we play well enough.’’
Somewhat ominously, Prendergast believed the side is yet to perform close to its peak, but was mindful of the relatively tough run it has after Christmas.
The captain praised his bowlers’ consistency and focus throughout the day, not wanting to highlight any individual over another.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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