Kyabram Fire Brigade has booked a place in the Goulburn Murray Cricket grand final after defeating Echuca.LUKE MCMANUS March 11, 2014 4:29am
Echuca captain Brendan Prendergast was left ‘‘flat and disappointed’’ following his side’s Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade preliminary final loss to Kyabram Fire Brigade yesterday.
It was the second season in which Echuca has been bundled out of the finals prematurely, upset by Rochester United this time last year after finishing the 2012-13 regular season undefeated.
Another dominant showing ended in heartbreak for Prendergast and his side after the Flames defended their day one score of 247 runs at Victoria Park, earning a spot in the grand final against Tongala.
Walking off the field after a long day in the field on Saturday, Prendergast remained positive and was confident in his side’s ability to reach the total, despite the up-hill battle ahead.
Unfortunately for Prendergast, Echuca hardly posed a threat, eventually bowled out for 145 in the 65th over.
‘‘I thought we kept them to something we could chase, unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way,’’ Prendergast said.
‘‘We walked off last night with a real opportunity and it was really disappointing we didn’t take that opportunity.
‘‘They bowled really tight early, we consistently lost wickets throughout the day and we couldn’t build enough momentum or partnerships to get us near the total.’’
Partnerships was an area in which the Flames excelled in on Saturday, with three stands worth 60 runs each at the forefront of the visitors’ total.
Opening pair Trevor Watts (47) and Joe Taylor (81) began the day on a good note, combining for a 67-run opening combination before captain Daniel Kent (34) and Tyrone Isitt (36) created further nightmares for Echuca as they ticked the score along in their respective partnerships.
Taylor’s knock was patient but vitally important, hitting just five boundaries in his game-high score but had his hand in five partnerships throughout the innings.
Despite a fightback in the last 15 overs, the damage had already been, Prendergast and Taylor Beard’s marathon efforts the standout for the bowling team.
Prendergast’s (4/105) and Beard (3/60) bowled a total of 60 overs for the day, ending in a combined seven wickets.
‘‘It was a really tough wicket for the quicker bowlers, Taylor stuck at it and did very well banging the ball in and making something of it,’’ Prendergast said.
‘‘The batsmen found it harder to score off me — it wasn’t the original game plan, but that’s just how the day flowed.’’
Yesterday, a half-century from the skipper and a promising knock from Ryan Hon (43) was all that withstood the Flames’ bowling attack.
Isitt’s 4/58 came from a 23-over spell, claiming Prendergast (50), league medalist Beard (17), the dangerous Adam Jones (0) and tailender Mitch Byrne (0).
Joe Taylor and Will Power chimed in with two wickets each.
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