Echuca claimed its first win of the season on Saturday, with Josh Preston helping himself to five wickets along the way.By Luke McManus
A superb five-wicket haul from Josh Preston helped Echuca claim its first win of the 2013 Goulburn Murray Cricket season.
Echuca needed six bowlers and 37.4 overs to dismiss Cooma for 146 on a lifeless Victoria Park pitch.
In reply, the home side cruised to post 4/149 with nine overs to spare, with Taylor Beard (41 not out) and skipper Brendan Prendergast (32) leading the run chase.
Preston, the sixth bowler used, snared 5/25 from his eight overs, including the important scalps of Cooma’s skipper Michael Hill (26 runs) and young-gun Nick Holman (19).
The medium pacer maintained a consistent line and length, taking advantage of the low bounce, trapping Cooma’s Liam and Mitch Barrett lbw to finish his and Cooma’s innings.
Preston was the perfect backer for Echuca’s frontline bowling attack, with openers Taylor Beard (1/16) and Nick Dolan (1/24), skipper Brendan Prendergast (1/33) and debutant Brendan Moyle (2/30) also featuring on the scoresheet.
Prendergast was full of praise for his star performers.
‘‘Josh kept putting the ball in areas which made it difficult for Cooma to score,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s amazing what can happen if you’re consistent and patient. Wickets come.
‘‘Brendan (Moyle) was also a prime example of that.
‘‘Taylor has always been a very good bowler during his time at the club.
‘‘He always had plenty of potential with the bat but just needed to score runs on a consistent basis.
‘‘The way he batted yesterday was very mature.’’
In an impressive display of big hitting, Beard followed on from a 45-run opening stand between Prendergast and Fraser Buchanan (13), teaming up with Curtis Townrow (10), stalwart Adam Jones (26) — including a six — and new recruit Andrew Beaumont (18 not out).
Beaumont adding a six to his total towards the end of the match, in an effort to settle the result and catch the 5.45pm Caulfield Cup.
Despite his side’s effort with the bat and ball, Prendergast remained discontent with the performance, alluding to the 35 runs given away through extras.
As consolation for a ‘‘sloppy’’ effort in the field, Prendergast did commend his cool-headed batsmen in making light work of Cooma’s competitive total.
‘‘Very happy to get a win first up,’’ Prendergast said. ‘‘To chase down a good total with overs to spare was a great effort.
‘‘I thought our fielding was a bit rusty and our bowling wasn’t the best.
‘‘We gave away too many runs through extras which forced us to chase a bigger target than we needed to.
‘‘It gives us something to improve on.’’
A disappointed Hill after the match said the inability to ‘‘kick on’’ and turn promising starts into big scores hurt his side’s chances.
Along with his captain, Cooma’s Russell Napier scored 27 at the top of the order while wicket-keeper Steve Barrett also made vital runs with a knock of 20 at first drop.
This weekend, Cooma plays Kyabram Fire Brigade at home, while Echuca travels to Bunnaloo to face Northern United.
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