District cricketer Jim Geltch registered the highest score of the tournament, which was held in Echuca-Moama this week.LUKE MCMANUS January 25, 2014 4:59am
Echuca South’s Jim Geltch starred as Victoria Country triumphed over Gippsland in the final round of the Over 60s Tournament on the Murray.
Geltch retired twice during his unbeaten 40 runs — the tournament’s highest individual knock — as his side secured a 57-run win at Moama oval on Wednesday, ending the Goannas’ hopes of an unbeaten finish to the three-day competition.
After smacking a boundary with his first scoring shot of the day, Geltch eased into the rest of his innings, knocking about 15 singles in a patient and controlled stay at the crease before retiring on 25.
Geltch returned later in the match with the scoreline at 8/166 and added a further 15 runs in quick time, sending three deliveries to the boundary before reaching his maximum contribution.
Geltch was not a lone ranger in Victoria Country’s unreachable 225-run total.
Four other batsmen raised their bats, including Bill Johnson (29 retired), Stephen Hando (28 rtd), Wavell McPherson (27 rtd) and John Costello (25 rtd) who reached his milestone with a six.
Rolling Stone’s ring-in Norm Eccles was the pick of Gippsland’s bowlers, taking 2/31 from six overs, while Kelvin Bond (2/38) also claimed two wickets.
In reply, Victoria Country had the Goannas on the ropes, restricting the visitors to 5/62 at the halfway stage of the innings with Geltch (2/22) breaking through twice.
But the wickets soon dried up for the home side as a combined 106-run partnership between Ian Gibson (25 rtd), Graeme Bloom (26 rtd), Gordon Cowling (26 rtd) and Graeme Freshwater (25 rtd) salvaged the innings.
Some heavy hitting from Cowling (including two sixes) and Bloom provided some entertainment late in the innings, but the flurry of runs came too late, with the Goannas ending their 40 overs with 168 on the board.
■ The Rolling Stones were equally dominant in their clash at Echuca South oval on Wednesday, defeating Iona, 151 to 114.
After winning the toss and batting first, Iona looked in trouble when opener Neville Gorman and first-drop David Ryan were dismissed early by the Stones’ Paul Robinson (2/12).
But a 74-run partnership between Bob Phillips (27 rtd), Graham Davey (25 rtd) and Terry Lindsay (21) boosted Iona’s score to 2/91 after the 32nd over.
However, a middle-order collapse of four quick wickets triggered by the Stones’ Barry Johnson (2/12) and executed by two brilliant run-outs, saw Iona limp (in more ways than one) to 7/114 after its 40 overs.
Top-order contributions by John King (20), Ian Walker (27 rtd), Don Everitt (25 rtd) and Robinson (26 rtd) gave the Rolling Stones immediate ascendancy during their run chase, losing only two wickets before surpassing Iona’s total in the 34th over.
Davey (1/15), Ryan (1/18) and Neville Gorman (1/11) all claimed one wicket apiece for Iona.
■ On Tuesday — day two of the tournament — Gippsland recorded a narrow victory against the Rolling Stones at Victoria Park.
Posting 121 runs from their allocated 40 overs, thanks largely to Ian Rowland (28), Ian Walker (22) and Peter Whitworth (20), the Stones failed to nullify Gippsland’s run chase and were eventually defeated with five overs left on the scoresheet.
Fresh from his tournament-high figures of 4/8 with the ball, Graeme Freshwater (25 rtd) combined brilliantly with opening partner Ian Gibson (25 rtd) to provide the perfect springboard for Gippsland.
Despite consecutive wickets falling, the Goannas kept their cool underneath the afternoon sun to end the contest on 8/123.
Bill Johnson was the seventh bowler used by the Stones and almost proved the match winner, taking 3/11 from his fours overs, while Greg Johnson (2/13) claimed two scalps from his full allocation.
Earlier, along with Freshwater’s superb figures, Ian Fletcher (2/24), Fred Debono (2/18) and Kelvin Bond (2/2) shared the bulk of the damage.
■ In the second game on Tuesday, Victoria Country defeated Ioana comfortably at Moama oval.
Victoria Country had an array of retirees (with the bat) which lifted the home side to a commanding 224-run scoreline after the first innings.
Six batsmen, including Bill McGrath (25 rtd), Ross Davey (26 rtd), B Wright (25), John Costello (25 rtd), Bill Johnson (25 rtd) and Steve Hando (25 rtd), all reached the milestone.
Ron McLeod (1/38) was the sole wicket taker for Iona.
In reply, Iona never looked in contention, losing a flurry of wickets to 5/49 at the halfway mark of the innings to eventually run out of overs, finishing on 112.
An unbeaten knock of 39 from Bill Best was the shining light for Iona as Victoria Country’s bowlers took control from the outset.
Jim Geltch (2/14) and Keith Longridge (2/15) were the pick of the bowlers, while Longridge also caused a run-out.
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