Echuca proved too strong for Fire Brigade, winning the Goulburn Murray Cricket B grade title on the weekend.By Zach Hubber
Echuca Cricket Club claimed its fourth premiership from six divisions yesterday when the B grade side won the Goulburn Murray Cricket title.
The side proved too strong for Fire Brigade to clinch the premiership at Echuca South Recreation Reserve.
Echuca completed its 80 overs on day one to be 6/187, before returning on day two and outing the Flames for 92.
Man of the match Jason Carlile dominated with the ball yesterday, taking 5/3 off 15.5 overs, including 12 maidens.
Echuca captain Jon Varcoe, who starred with the bat on day one against his old side, said he was proud of what his players had achieved.
‘‘It’s a terrific effort by everyone to get the result that we did in a tight finals series,’’ he said.
Echuca won the toss and decided to bat, with Declan Hancock and James McQuillan putting on 47 runs for the opening partnership before Hancock (14) was dismissed by Chris Boylan (1/28).
Steve Tonkin (20) made a solid start but fell victim to Matt Finn (1/13) as McQuillan went on to post his third half-century.
His two and a half hours at the crease came to an end when Nathan O’Donnell claimed his first scalp, triggering a collapse in the Echuca ranks.
Todd Ramage (2) and Corey Needs (0) barely troubled the scorers as the home side stumbled to 5/114.
A 41-run partnership between Kyle Manley (22) and Varcoe (42 not out) put Echuca back on track, with Steve Plumridge (25 not out) also firing at number eight.
Day one was not without controversy as play was delayed late in the day due to bad light, much to the displeasure of many in the Fire Brigade camp.
Varcoe said his side’s deep batting list came to the fore when called on.
‘‘We lost three of four wickets not long after tea and had to craft out a score,’’ he said.
‘‘Steve Plumridge came in at the end and hit a few quick runs, which got us to a par score.’’
Echuca set the tone yesterday when Carlile had Michael Mott out for a duck on the fifth ball of the day.
Fellow opener Ricky Busch (13) was the next to go when he was caught off a McQuillan (3/36) delivery and the Flames were in trouble at 2/14.
The wickets tumbled consistently as the Echuca bowlers kept to their instructions, dismissing the likes of Corey Carver (6), Finn (11) and Mick Perella (15).
With the top order depleted, Carlile took it upon himself to clean up the tail as he snared the final three wickets of the day.
Josh Preston and Plumridge each took a wicket as the Flames folded to be all out for 92 in the 46th over.
‘‘We’ve just been trying to bowl tight and bowl good lengths,’’ Varcoe said.
‘‘The guys stuck to that task really well. We had plans for a few of their players, which we carried out quite well.’’
The Echuca captain praised the performance of Carlile in particular, who registered his third five-wicket haul of the season.
‘‘He’s amazing,’’ Varcoe said.
‘‘He’s a fantastic bowler who very rarely goes for runs.
‘‘He’s very disciplined with his line and length. We’re very lucky to have him in our team.’’
Fire Brigade captain Boylan was disappointed with the result.
‘‘I thought we bowled well, but then they got away from us at the end,’’ he said.
‘‘We thought we if could bat out the 80 overs we’d have a good chance. We made that score in the previous two games against them.
‘‘But they bowled really well (yesterday) and things just didn’t go our way.’’
Boylan said the side would take away many positives from the season and was looking forward to establishing a stronger side next season.
As for the bad light scenario, Varcoe said Echuca requested the umpires pause the match due to bad light.
‘‘The pine trees down at one end there (were) getting pretty dark, so it was hard to see the ball,’’ he said.
‘‘The light improved and we continued the game.’’
Boylan said it definitely became dark at one stage.
‘‘The umpires stopped the game for bad light, then went on to say it was about to rain,’’ he said.
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