Maddox leads the charge as Echuca routs Tigers.By Geordie Cowan
A superb bowling performance from Simon Maddox saw Echuca secure top spot — and a second chance in finals — on the Goulburn Murray Cricket ladder against Rochester Tigers after the first day’s play at Vic Park on Saturday.
The paceman led his team to first-innings points to finish with 6/32 from 14 overs — his best bowling performance for Echuca since taking 6/19 against Bamawm-Lockington United in 2005.
The Tigers were bowled out for 93 soon after the tea break and Echuca ended the day in a commanding position, sitting at 1/108.
Earlier in the day the visitors, without captain Grant Wachter, won the toss and decided to bat with Daniel Major and Tim Maxfield making a solid start.
However, Maddox provided the breakthrough when he found the edge of Maxfield (6) in the sixth over.
Daniel Major (11) fell not long after to Taylor Beard, before all-rounder Brad Major was caught at second slip by Adam Jones from Brandon Dixon — however the batsman was not convinced the ball had connected with his bat.
Struggling at 3/32, Adam Ward and Adrian Tuddenham set about re-establishing some order into the innings.
Echuca is all too familiar with the danger Ward possesses, having scored three half-centuries and one big century against it in his relatively short career, so the home team was ecstatic to see Maddox get through the youngster’s defences to be bowled for 38.
Compounding their loss, Rob Hogan struck the next over to dismiss a stubborn Tuddenham (8).
Maddox and Hogan kept the pressure on and the incoming batsmen struggled to deal with it, as Andrew Good and Mitch Crawford fell in consecutive balls to Maddox.
Although the hat-trick ball was kept out, the veteran claimed his five-for when be bowled Nathan McCarty and got his sixth the first ball after tea.
Matt Stokes struck a couple of late boundaries for the Tigers but Hogan had him caught for 17 as the Tigers were bowled out.
Hogan finished with 2/13, while Beard (1/14) and Dixon (1/17) were the other wicket-takers.
With 34 overs remaining in the day, Jones scored an aggressive 13 before he was bowled by Ward, before Brendan Prendergast and Taylor Beard capitalised on the team’s earlier good work.
The pair remained unbeaten at the crease at the end of the day with an 88-run partnership, led by Beard.
The young all-rounder struck nine boundaries and a six to finish on 57 not out, while Prendergast was 24 not out after his two-hour vigil at the crease .
Echuca captain Prendergast said it was a fantastic day for the team.
‘‘We bowled really well and managed to back it up with the bat,’’ he said.
‘‘The five bowlers all bowled really well to keep the pressure on at both ends.’’
The captain said he was a bit worried when Ward started to get going, but remained confident in his bowlers.
‘‘We were bowling reasonably well, but he batted very well,’’ Prendergast said.
‘‘We knew that at some stage in the innings a couple of them would get together and put on a few, it was just a matter of sticking to what we were doing.
Tigers president Justin Cleary said it was another disappointing batting performance.
‘‘We’re working very hard at the top order to do better than what we’re doing,’’ he said.
‘‘We’re still confident our batting list is as good as anybody’s
‘‘We will play the second week of this game with a view to start from this week, hopefully bowl well and get another chance to bat in the second innings.
‘‘Shot selection is still a worry. We’re probably going at balls we can be leaving and not giving ourselves a real opportunity to cash in later in the day when things are easier.’’
Ward looked in great form before he was bowled, Cleary said.
‘‘He looked great — as good as he had since before Christmas,’’ he said.
‘‘Everything was out of the centre. He just got out to a good ball.’’
With both Ward and Maxfield going to Melbourne Country Week, Cleary said he hoped both would ‘‘come home with some runs and some form’’.
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