Things are looking up for Cooma after it returned to the field on Saturday and upset Tongala in Goulburn Murray Cricket.DAMEN FRANCIS January 6, 2014 4:10am
Cooma batsman Sam Spicer helps Tongala wicketkeeper Victor Minaya to his feet during Cooma's shock win on Saturday.
A new year offered a fresh start and Cooma took the opportunity with both hands.
After a tough 2013 that reaped just two wins from 11 Goulburn Murray Cricket A-grade matches, Cooma captain Michael Hill was delighted to open a new calendar year with a surprise victory against Tongala on Saturday.
‘‘We had a couple of tough losses before the Christmas break and the morale was a bit low,’’ Hill said.
‘‘Blokes have been working really hard at the nets, we haven’t had any trouble at training we’ve been getting great numbers and blokes have been applying themselves, it just came down to a bit of experience and a bit of confidence in our own ability.
‘‘We had a couple of extra net sessions around Christmas time and we had a bit of a chat and set a few goals for the group and it was really pleasing that we could actually follow through on them and come through with a win.’’
Sent in to bat by Tongala skipper Andrew Good on its home turf, Cooma’s faltering batting line-up finally delivered a defendable total.
Hill (49) and Steve Barrett (38) took their team to 3-121 and with wickets in hand, posted 8-163.
Tongala, which was without key players Adam Nunn, Darin Ohlsen, Brendan McGrath and Jordan Souter, always had time on its side, but failed to bat in partnerships and was all out for 129 with eight overs to play.
Liam Barrett took a season best 4-19 as Hill’s men did enough with the ball.
‘‘We knew Tonny might be struggling with a couple of their key players out, which was helpful for us, but we had a good chat and everyone went out there with their purpose and achieved their goals, which went a long way towards us winning the game,’’ Hill said.
‘‘It was a pretty flat deck, but if you bowled in the right areas it was pretty hard to score, so we thought 150 would be defendable and to get 160 was fantastic.
‘‘We tried a couple of different things this week, we gave Will Jackson the new ball and he went quite well, then we tried to let Liam free up a little bit. He’s been bowling well, but hasn’t come through with the wickets, so we put him on at first change and it reaped rewards for him.
‘‘Tongala’s run rate was quite high throughout the day, which was disappointing, but at key times we were able to get a couple of wickets at regular intervals and keep them down.’’
Tongala remains in premiership contention, but once again showed its fragility, much to Good’s disappointment.
‘‘We were short a fair few players, but we should still have been able to get those runs,’’ Good said.
‘‘We got off to a pretty good start with the ball. They were fairly slow, but they had wickets in hand, so they could throw the bat a little bit towards the end and get to 160.
‘‘The last game before Christmas against Moama we started really well and let them off the hook and it was similar yesterday, in that we let them off the hook and let them get too many runs.
‘‘They’re games we expect to win.’’
While a top three finish and a home final was once the aim, Tongala — currently fourth — is now simply targeting a spot in the top six.
Elsewhere in round eight, Kyabram Fire Brigade’s unbeaten start to the season was brought to an end by reigning premier Rochester Tigers at Windridge Oval.
Chasing the home side’s 5-179, the Flames made a solid start through openers Daniel Kent (48) and Joe Taylor (34) and first drop Tyrone Isitt (30), but collapsed to finish their 40 overs at 9-172.
The Tigers are one of two undefeated teams, along with Echuca, which saw off neighbour Echuca South by eight wickets at Victoria Park Oval.
Bamawm-Lockington United remained in the finals hunt with a 79-run win against Stanhope to keep pace with sixth-placed Rochester United, which knocked off Moama by four wickets in a low-scoring affair at Moama Oval.
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