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Goulburn Murray Cricket players ready for Melbourne Country Week

A Goulburn Myrray Cricket representative side will be looking to capitalise on its recent Bendigo Country Week form when it heads to Melbourne today.

LUKE MCMANUS February 17, 2014 4:01am

Goulburn Murray has a point to prove when it kicks off Melbourne Country Week against Sunraysia today.

After suffering a disappointing loss in last year’s MCW final, Goulburn Murray looks a younger but more determined outfit this time around, exuding confidence after its recent Bendigo Country Week success.

The squad, led by Cooma’s Michael Hill, is a slightly different line-up to the one which went through Bendigo undefeated to eventually secure a nine-wicket win against Ferntree Gully last month.

It was redemption for the team after it was defeated in the same final just 12 months earlier.

Goulburn Murray team manager Peter Raglus said strong recent form should hold the side in good stead throughout the five-day Melbourne tournament.

‘‘I think we’ve got a good, young, handy side this year,’’ he said.

‘‘They’ve all been picked due to their outstanding performances this season.

‘‘We may be a little under done due to interrupted preparation with the heat and wet weather last weekend, but I’m confident in each player’s ability.’’

Raglus said Goulburn Murray’s division three counterparts in Sunraysia, Wangaratta, Gisborne and West Gippsland will offer plenty of resistance but said last year’s results speak volumes.

Goulburn Murray was unbeaten at the end of the preliminary rounds, beating Sunraysia, Wangaratta and Gisborne, only to fall short by 24 runs against Mornington Peninsula in the final.

Still bothered by the result, Raglus said there was no excuse for the team this week.

‘‘Last year was very disappointing,’’ he said.

‘‘To bowl a side out for 120 and not get them in the allocated overs was one of the worst displays I’ve seen.

‘‘We were the best side in the comp by a mile and we’ll be looking to take it further and step back up to division two.

‘‘I think we are a division two side at least, but you still have to work your way up and time will tell if we’re good enough this year.

‘‘We’re playing on good grounds against opposition we’ve beaten before.’’

The squad boasts a deep batting line-up, including the competition’s top three leading run scorers, of which includes GMC medal favourite Taylor Beard (Echuca).

Bamawm-Lockington United star recruit Liam Gwynne also features in the side, fresh from his two centuries during Bendigo Country Week.

Division three fixture: today, GMC v Sunraysia (Balwyn Park, Cherry Rd, Balwyn); tomorrow, GMC v Wangaratta (Warrawee Park Oval, Oakleigh); Wednesday, GMC v Gisborne (AG Gillon Oval, Pearson St, Brunswick); Thursday, GMC v West Gippsland (Bill Lawry Oval, Westgarth St, Northcote)l Friday, final (EE Gun Reserve, Ormond, or Preston City Oval, Preston)

Goulburn Murray squad: Michael Hill captain (Cooma), Brendan Prendergast vice-captain (Echuca), Adam Ward (Rochester Tigers), Taylor Beard (Echuca), Liam Gwynne (BLU), Curtis Townrow (Echuca), Greg Pearse (BLU), Ben Docking (BLU), Steve Barrett (Cooma), Liam Barrett (Cooma), Hamish Lewis (Echuca South), Ben Scowen (Tongala), Joe Taylor (Kyabram Fire Brigade), Tyrone Isitt (Kyabram Fire Brigade).

Luke McManus

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