Goulburn Murray Cricket's two Bendigo Country Week teams have reach today's grand finals.By Geordie Cowan
Goulburn Murray Cricket may be setting an imprint of years to come if its domination at Bendigo Country Week continues in today’s senior and colts final.
The division one side won all four of its qualifying matches throughout the week, finishing with a penultimate-ball victory against Ferntree Gully yesterday, and coach Barry Findlay rated the team’s chances ahead of the final against Ferntree Gully.
‘‘I am (confident),’’ he said.
‘‘We have a good mature group.
‘‘We are pretty lucky that we have (Adam) Ward at 20 and quite a few aged from 22 to 28 and a couple more in their 30s.
‘‘For example today, we had Cam Parker, the captain of Moama, and Ben Docking, the captain of BLU, who were out at the crease when we needed them.’’
After winning the toss and bowling, Goulburn Murray again struck early with Ward taking the first two wickets.
Save for a 74-run partnership in the middle of the innings, the team took regular wickets as it restricted Ferntree Gully to 201.
Tim Maxfield provided some fireworks in Goulburn Murray’s chase in a ‘‘terrific’’ performance as he scored 74 off 68 deliveries.
‘‘Ward today turned the corner with his batting and he also got 3/34.’’
Findlay also highlighted the consistent carnival of Michael Hill.
‘‘His fielding has been superb,’’ the coach said. ‘‘He had two run-outs today and he, along with Dylan Cuttriss and Adam Ward, have been outstanding in the field.
‘‘Hill’s run-out was at a crucial time and it just changed the momentum.
‘‘We have been really good, so long as we bring that cricket tomorrow (today) and not do a lot different.’’.
The team also recorded a good win against four-time division one premier Murray Valley on Wednesday.
After being sent in to bowl, Cuttriss (3/15) and Colin Griggs (1/18) tore through the opposition line-up to have the opposition reeling at 4/19 — which included the key wicket of Shaun Downie for a duck.
Kieran Andrew (47) and Brodie Ross (27) stemmed the bleeding for a while, before David Currie produced an inspired spell to assure a small total.
Currie took 5/25 in 12 overs, as Murray Valley collapsed to be all out for 118.
Tim Maxfield pushed Goulburn Murray off to a good start in its reply, scoring 41 of the 53 runs in the first-wicket partnership, before a collapse saw the team lose 6/44, falling to 7/97.
However, Jake Perry (41) and Ben Docking then combined for a 51-run partnership to ensure the win for Goulburn Murray as it finished on 162.
In the four overs remaining, the players experienced the rare sight of Maxfield and wicket-keeper Cam Parker bowling, with each player captured a wicket.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Goulburn Murray started slowly, but a 52-run partnership between Mitch McMullan (43) and Curtis Townrow (35) helped as the side finished all out for 149.
The team again bowled well and would have felt confident when the score was 9/89, but there may have been some late nerves as the 10th-wicket partnership lasted 44 runs.
However, Chris Russell provided the final breakthrough to guarantee the team’s appearance in today’s final.
McMullan was the leading wicket-taker with 3/27, while Grant Wachter (2/16) and Hamish Hooppell (2/15) also chipped in.
The team’s good week was also on show on Wednesday, when it defeated Northern United by 52 runs.
Winning the toss and batting, Goulburn Murray started well as Brayden Stone (24) and Quade Albert put on 59 runs for the first wicket.
Albert (52) went on to make a half-century and enjoyed another good stand with Kirk Teasdale.
Following another mini-collapse, Kirk Teasdale (46) and Townrow (45) added 71 runs for the sixth wicket to help the team finish on 8/223, before bowling out the opposition for 171.
The division one team will play Ferntree Gully at the Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo from 10am today, while the colts will play Grassmere at Bell Oval at the same time.
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