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Swans come close to Tigers

The undefeated start to the Rochester Tigers' season continued on Saturday.

LUKE MCMANUS December 16, 2013 4:22am

Echuca South players celebrate after Keith Chalmers captures a wicket.


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Rochester Tigers captain Grant Wachter’s dream of an unblemished start to the 2013-14 season came to fruition after winning a hard-fought contest against Echuca South on Saturday.

Wachter will rest easy during the Christmas break knowing his side’s unbeaten run remained intact following the Tigers’ 14-run victory in their one-day clash at Echuca South Oval.

Posting a competitive 184 runs first up, the Tigers were made to work hard for their spoils on a batsman’s paradise, eventually bowling the home side out for 170 with the final delivery of the day.

Once again it was the reigning premier’s top order which inflicted the bulk of the damage, with Brad Major (48), Adam Ward (44) and Darcy Geyer (47) adding impressive knocks to their ever-growing season run tallies.

The trio teamed up in partnerships worth 124 runs to help guide the Tigers to 4/159 before losing just the two wickets before the close of innings.

Each averaging more than 32 runs this season, Wachter said it was a luxury for his side to possess a top order capable of posting big scores.

Even in the absence of opener Matthew Stokes, the ‘‘depth and flexibility’’ of the Tigers outfit meant Wachter had plenty of options to choose from to help fill the void.

‘‘Over the last couple of seasons, Brad Major, Sean Williams and even Adam Ward has opened for us so they all know what’s required and can fill that spot,’’ he said.

‘‘(Our top four) have been really good this season. Building partnerships early on means blokes down the order can press on and really set us up for decent totals.

‘‘It was a decent total (on Saturday). We still had our work cut out for us but we knew it was more than competitive.’’

In reply, the Swans battled hard to keep their hopes alive but a steady stream of wickets by the Tigers restricted the home side’s capacity to build effective partnerships.

After losing opener Darcy Wilson and vice-captain Keith Chalmers cheaply, Mark Peterson (27) hung around to boost the score to 2/44 before he was trapped lbw, handing Wachter (4/42) his second wicket of the afternoon.

Fresh from his century last start, Swans wicket-keeper Justin Saker notched a superb half-century, scoring most of the runs in his 56-run stand with Hamish Lewis.

Coasting at 3/100, Echuca South looked the goods until the quick wickets of Lewis (17), Saker (58) and Michael McDowell (7) had the home side buckling under the improved bowling of the Tigers.

‘‘(Echuca South) went about it really well, they built their innings nicely,’’ Wachter said.

‘‘Only three wickets down at drinks, we knew they had the up to launch.

‘‘Our bowling was slightly down. We would bowl four or five dots in the over but it was a loose final ball which gifted them runs and released the pressure.

‘‘Except for (Brad) Major, he bowled really well.’’

Major (2/23) chimed in with his first wicket, providing Jake Wright catching practice to dismiss Lewis, before knocking over McDowell’s castle.

Ward (1/25) produced the key wicket of Saker.

Despite starts with the bat from Mitchell McMullan (16) and Marcus Roberts (17), the Swans’ momentum diminished on their way to finishing all out for 170 after 40 overs.

Rochester Tigers will now set their sights on their round eight clash with the undefeated Kyabram Fire Brigade.

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