District teams have taken to pitches around the region for the opening round of the Goulburn Murray Cricket season.By Geordie Cowan and Zach Hubber
Tongala v Echuca
Tongala made a confident start to Goulburn Murray Cricket with a comfortable seven-wicket win against a rusty Echuca on a sandy Vic Park on Saturday.
Winning the toss and bowling, the visitors captured regular wickets throughout the innings and restricted Echuca’s total to 131 despite the determined batting by opener Brendan Prendergast, who was the second-last batsman to depart after scoring 61.
Matt Ohlsen tore through the Echuca line-up to capture the season’s first five-for, finishing with 5/24.
In reply, the Tongala batsmen made the most of the home side’s short bowling to reach the target within 26 overs.
Tongala captain Adam Nunn said it was good to get the points on the board in the first game of the season.
The captain was pleased with the bowling performance of medium pacer Matt Ohlsen, while twin brother Darin also captured two wickets.
The duo, along with Nunn (2/30) and Jordan Souter (1/28), maintained a sustained period of pressure against Echuca and were rewarded with regular wickets.
Prendergast found some allies during the Echuca innings in Ryan Hon (13), Fraser Buchanan (8) and Shaun Hon (17), but it was the opening batsman who provided the spine of the innings during his stay of more than two hours.
The home side made a bright start with the ball, with returning Echuca junior Brandon Dixon capturing Jayden Tucker in the second over, but a run-a-ball innings of 43 by Souter took Tongala to 66 before the second wicket fell in the 13th over.
Recruit Scowen (42 not out) was solid, hitting eight boundaries, while Nunn (32) entertained the onlookers with a couple of sixes during his foray.
Rob Hogan and Prendergast were the other wicket-takers, but no bowler really had much of an impact.
BLU v Echuca South
Bamawm-Lockington United started its Goulburn Murray Cricket season in the best possible fashion with a three-wicket win against Echuca South.
South won the toss and elected to bat, with captain Keith Chalmers and Neil Geltch putting on 16 runs before Geltch was caught by BLU coach Greg Pearse on 10 off the bowling of Doug Edwards.
Matt Key could not add to the Swans’ score and was caught behind, but Mitch McMullan and Geltch steadied the ship.
The pair put on 29 runs before McMullan (9) was caught off the bowling of Frankston Peninsula recruit Tom Paganoni.
Geltch was next to fall on 26 when he was bowled by Pearse, which began a run of four wickets for two runs.
South was 7/66 at the end of the 30th over, but managed to score 38 more runs for the final three wickets, with Craig Dyson holding tough to finish with 15 and Stewart Moar also putting on 15.
Jason Turner was the pick of the BLU bowlers with 3/17 off six overs, including a double-wicket maiden, while Paganoni snared 3/20 off eight overs.
BLU went in to bat needing 105 for victory and Trav Mancer and Paganoni got the Lions off to a strong start with a 43-run partnership in seven overs before Mancer (30) was bowled by Key after a match-high innings.
Key struck again for South, taking the wicket of Josh Cairns for a duck and suddenly the Lions were 2/43.
BLU captain Ben Docking joined Paganoni at the crease, but the partnership only lasted five runs when Paganoni was Key’s third victim, out lbw on 12.
Pearse added two runs before being caught by Chalmers and BLU was 4/53 needing 52 runs in 21 overs.
A 40-run partnership from Docking and Josh Felmingham proved the match winner, with BLU needing 12 runs with five wickets in hand when Felmingham was caught by Chalmers off the bowling of Mark Peterson.
Patty Gardiner was the only other wicket to fall as BLU reached 106 with more than four overs to spare.
Key was solid in the bowling department, finishing with 3/18, including two wicket-maidens.
Rochester United v Cooma
A dominant bowling performance led by English recruit Colin Griggs guided Rochester United to a convincing nine-wicket win away against Cooma.
The strike bowler captured 3/4 in his eight overs — with three of the runs coming from no-balls — which included six maidens.
After being sent into bat by United, Cooma had a horror start with Nick Hubble run out in the first over and Griggs found the edge of danger man Brayden Stone in the third over to have the home side reeling at 2/4.
Liam Barrett also did not trouble the scorers, but recruit Michael Hill and Nick Holman added 26 runs for the fourth wicket before United again reasserted control, with Griggs capturing two more wickets.
Dylan Cuttriss (1/22), Jake Perry (1/18), youngster Ryan Byrne (2/9) and Hamish Hooppell (1/6) also chipped in and kept the scoring rate down, eventually bowling the opposition out for 77.
The United batsmen made short work of the reply, with Perry (24) and Tim Bubb (18 not out) establishing a 32-run opening partnership, before Steve Rasmussen (27 not out) came in and quickly elevated the scoring rate with the team reaching the target inside 23 overs.
Hill (1/26) was the only wicket-taker, while opening bowlers Liam and Mitch Barrett tried hard without success.
Rochester Tigers v Stanhop
Birmingham recruit Tim Maxfield blasted Rochester Tigers to a 37-run victory away against Stanhope, with the top-order batsman belting 95 runs.
Despite missing Grant Wachter, Nathan McCarty and Dillon and Sean Williams, the team had more than enough batting power with the likes of Daniel and Brad Major and Adam Ward in its ranks, but it fell to the newcomer to save the day.
Former captain Andrew Good was the next highest scorer with 17 not out as the team finished on 175 — although 20 runs were donated through extras.
Alec Young and Zac Dearing both proved effective with the ball, taking three wickets each, while Steve Hall (1/32), Brad Lowe (2/29) and Matt Hodson (1/31) also struck.
In reply, Matt Evans (27) was the only top-order batsman to score more than one, with Tiger Justin Cleary tearing through the top order and it looked like a comfortable win for the Tigers was on the cards with Stanhope at 5/50.
However, a 39-run partnership between Daryl Harrison (17) and Young (34) gave Stanhope some momentum, with Craig Emmett (18 not out) also chipping in.
However, it was not enough, with the team eventually bowled out for 138 in the 36th over.
Cleary was the leading wicket-taker with four, while Brad Major (2/17) and Adam Ward (1/17) made up for their disappointments with the bat to claim wickets, along with Maxfield (1/27) and Chirag Patel (1/23).
Kyabram Fire Brigade v Bunnaloo
Kyabram Fire Brigade proved why it was the Goulburn Murray Cricket pre-season premiership fancy after crushing Bunnaloo by 111 runs in its longest road trip of the season on Saturday.
The Flames won the toss and decided to bat first, but the loss of captain Paul Newman for four runs in the third over had Bunnaloo up and about early.
The 72-run partnership which ensued between Trevor Watts and Andrew Kent after the Newman dismissal was the building block for a large total.
Kent (37) was Adam Thompson’s first and only victim and Watts (44) followed him off the ground 12 runs later, with Fire Brigade 3/95 in the 23rd over.
A batting clinic by Andrew Elborough, which included five boundaries, saw him finish on 50 when he was dismissed by Bunnaloo captain Justin Van Niekerk.
Luke Hartshorn snared two wickets in his final over to finish with 2/26 off eight overs, but the Flames’ run rate of four and a half saw them finish the innings 7/180.
Bunnaloo’s innings got off to a poor start when Van Niekerk (3) was caught by Daniel Kent off the bowling of Brett Andison.
Hartshorn and Thompson put on 19 for the second-wicket until Thompson was Andison’s second scalp.
Hartshorn followed two runs later and Bunnaloo was 3/26.
Buckley tried to get the run rate going when he hit a six to register his first score, but fell for 18 to be one of Heath Barnett’s three wickets.
David Edgar and Grant Chalmers were on and off the field in a flash and Bunnaloo had lost 3/1.
By the 20th over Bunnaloo was all out for 69, with Brendan White (3/25), Barnett (3/20), Andison (2/19) and Newman (2/3) doing the damage for Fire Brigade.
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