COOMA has left the door to the top four in Goulburn Murray Cricket ajar after a shock loss to Echuca last Saturday.
Despite a loss to top side Rochester United, Tongala remains in the finals race as a result of Cooma’s loss.
Cooma batsmen capitulated in alarming fashion chasing Echuca’s gettable score of 8/141.
The first seven Cooma batsmen failed to make it to double figures and at one stage it was an embarrassing 8/33 before youngster Elma Palma (10) and Mitch Barrett with 22 at number 10 prevented a complete batting rout.
In Echuca’s innings, Mitch and Drew Barrett both picked up two wickets and Ethan Palma-Ludeman, Brad Power and Will Jackson one each.
Cooma has a date with second-placed Moama in the game starting this Saturday, while Tongala gets a chance to sneak into the top four when it hosts battler Stanhope.
In the final round, Tongala plays Rochester Tigers while Cooma meets Stanhope, so fourth spot could go down to the wire.
■Tongala bowlers restricted Rochester United to 9/144 to provide a chance for an upset win, but its batsmen were bundled out for just 71 in 36.3 overs.
At one stage, United, batting first, was 2/12 but with Dylan Cuttriss showing the way with 40 it recovered to get a competitive score on the board.
Blake Campbell, Ryley Cowley, Lucas Hughes, Elijah Gillie and Darin Ohlsen all picked up a wicket for Tongala.
Blake Campbell was the only Tongala batsman to offer resistance to the United attack with his contribution of 34 — almost half the team’s runs — the only double-figure score in a feeble scoreline.
■Fire Brigade’s batsmen were in form against Rochester Tigers to stay in the race for a top-two berth come finals time.
Despite losing star opener Paul Newman for a rare duck, other top order batsmen in Sam Kershaw, Anthony Andronaco and star new recruit Michael Mattingly came to the fore to help The Flames pile on 3/246.
Andronaco made a dashing, unbeaten 80 with five fours and three sixes and Mattingly scored 58 not out in a fourth wicket stand that yielded 135 runs.
This came after Sam Kershaw with 46 and Henry Charlton with 29 steadied the ship after Newman’s early departure.
Then the Charlton-led attack skittled the Tigers batsmen for just 71 in 24 overs.
Charlton picked up 3/18 off 8.2 overs and was well supported by Mattingly with 2/11 off five overs and Jack Donnell with 2/1 off one over.
■Stanhope fell to Echuca South, who gave itself a chance of climbing off the bottom of the ladder with the win.
Batting first, Echuca made 148, with Nav Gill, Steve Hall and Manindergit Singh all picking up two wickets for Stanhope.
Stanhope’s batsmen came up 20 runs short in their run chase, despite a promising opening stand of 38 by Singh (26) and Gill (17).
But once they went, only Craig Emmett (26), Mick Coad (23) and Matt Evans made it to double figures as Stanhope was bowled out in 44 overs. The wrecker with the ball for South was Jack Duggan, who picked up 5/30 off seven overs.
■The BLU v Moama game was washed out.
COOMA has been awarded the vital premiership points from Saturday’s B grade round in which its game against Fire Brigade was washed out.
Fire Brigade failed to cover its wicket on Friday night and under the rules forfeits the game.
The win enabled Cooma to replace Tongala on percentage in the top four.
Tongala was no match for Rochester United, bundled out for just 67 in reply to the visitors’ 5/197.
Only opener Rhys Behrens (16) and the reliable Clayton Thompson with 28 stood up as five of their Tongala teammates fell for ducks.
■Moama lost only two wickets covering Girgarre’s score of 8/99.
Only two Girgarre batsmen, opener George Hanmer with 21 and Rhys Febey with 24 reached double figures.
Hanmer completed a good day by taking the only two Moama wickets to fall.
■Rochester Tigers and Northern United were the other winners on the day, accounting for Echuca and Echuca South respectively.
There was a bye for the C and D graders for the holiday break.
- Gus Underwood