ECHUCA and Moama are locked in an enthralling battle to play in Goulburn Murray Cricket’s finals after the opening day’s play of the last home-and-away round on Saturday.
Echuca, currently holding fourth spot, dismissed second-placed Tongala for just 118 while Moama had its sights on a maximum points win against Echuca South, which it may need to play finals.
Tongala capitulated in 69.4 overs against Echuca at Echuca’s Victoria Park oval with opener Jamie Garde’s 31 and Callum Clayton’s 22 at number seven the best contributions in a sorry Tongala scoreline.
The Tongala bowlers will need to be on song this Saturday to give their side a chance of salvaging a win to hold second spot as Rochester, currently in third spot, would make it interesting if it gets maximum points against Bamawm Lockington United.
Moama will also be seeking an outright win this Saturday against Echuca South in the hope of snatching an eleventh hour finals spot.
Anthony McMahon was the wrecker with the ball for Moama, taking 5/9 off 9.2 overs, as South fell for 95 in 62.2 overs.
In reply Moama had wiped 55 off its run chase with openers Brad Jones (24) and Alastair McCann (25) to resume the innings this Saturday and give itself a chance to secure maximum points – and the chance to play finals.
■ Ladder leader Kyabram Fire Brigade ended up with a respectable score of 241 against Cooma, but it was an innings that had its moments.
A last-wicket stand between Tom Holman and Shannon O’Brien put the icing on the Flames’ batting cake, which has got the side into a sound position in the game.
Holman dominated the tailend stand with an innings-high 40, with six fours and a six, which followed a late-order boost to the tally from Jayden Rosin, who made 35.
The Flames didn’t start well, losing openers Justin Elliott — a century maker the previous week — for one, and Marx De Villiers for 14.
The reliable Dale Shaw with 37, skipper Danny Kent (29), Ben Langley (22) and Jake Gascoyne (21) all got starts but Cooma was able to dismiss two of the Brigade’s best batsmen, Paul Newman and Matt Mattingley, cheaply so there were still plenty of positives in the Flames’ effort.
■ Rochester allrounder Vidhor Radav almost single-handedly engineered a first-innings lead for his team in its clash with Bamawm Lockington United.
Opening the bowling he took 5/23 off 14 overs and then followed up with an unbeaten 42 as Rochester reached 3/101 and a position to push for maximum points this Saturday.
Radav and the reliable Dylan Cuttriss, with an unbeaten 28, added an unbroken 46 runs for the fourth wicket, which they will attempt to build on.
Ladder leader Ky Fire Brigade dished out a commanding win against third-placed Northerners on the back of some top efforts with bat and ball.
Brett Andison with 64 off 71 balls and Jarrod Chapman with 31 put on 56 for the opening stand. Then Ryan Thomson with 65 off 68 balls with five fours and two sixes and Corey Carver with 25 boosted the Flames’ score to 4/212.
Charlie Barnett then did the finishing-off work with the ball for the Flames with an innings-wrecking 6/18 off 18 overs, which restricted United to 8/158.
■ Girgarre was out for just 71 in 22.4 overs in its clash with Stanhope, who made hard work of its run chase, losing six wickets before hitting the front.
Craig Emmett’s 31 and Tom Hepburn’s timely 22 got Stanhope over the line.
Ben Avis was one of only two Girgarre batsmen to reach double figures.
■ Cooma kept itself in finals reckoning with a big win over Echuca South.
With Aaron Hayes and Andrew Ciavarella posting half centuries and Justin Wickham contributing 43, Cooma posted 9/210.
Then Sam Barbagallo stepped up with the ball to take 5/14 off eight overs to help bundle South out for 79 in 27 overs.
■ Alex Williams starred with both ball and bat for Tongala in a solid win over Echuca.
Williams took 3/12 in helping restrict Echuca to 8/133 and then made 44 opening the innings as Tongala covered its rival’s score in 28 overs.
■ In the other games Moama kept itself in the finals fight with a win over Rochester Blue while second-placed Rochester Gold won on forfeit from BLU.
Third-positioned Echuca had the better of second-placed Rushworth in their clash at Echuca.
Rushworth was restricted to 9/102 off its 40 overs with Jack McMillan’s 32 and Kade Dearing’s 28 the best contributions.
Echuca lost just four batsmen in securing the win in 22 overs.
■ Kyabram Fire Brigade had a big win over Echuca Green with Rikki Bush, who scored a half century, and Scott Hearn with 40 showing the way with the bat for the winners.
They helped the Flames post 8/194 and in reply Green was restricted to 3/94.
■ Veteran opener Roger French with 30 and Russ Napier 22 were the only Cooma batsmen to reach double figures against Rochester who lost just two wickets in securing the win.
■ Stanhope never seriously challenged BLU’s 9/231, reaching 8/136 in reply, with Anthony Newman’s 26 the top score for the losers.
■ In the other games Moama was too good for Echuca South while Girgarre won on forfeit from Northern United.
Rushworth had an easy win over Echuca to keep its final hopes alive.
Harley Nancarrow with a half century and Peter Francis with 34 helped Rushworth reach 7/194. Then with Brett Pateman picking up 3/1 with the ball, Echuca came up well short in its run chase, restricted to 7/109.
■ Top side Fire Brigade lost only one wicket covering Cooma’s score of 6/119.
Openers Jordan Northausen and Bohden Learmonth, each with 35, put on 47 for the opening stand and then Learmonth shared an unbeaten second-wicket stand with Sam Vick, who top scored with 46.
Blake McAuliffe (32) and Darcy Backway (23) were Cooma’s top run makers.
■ Tongala came up short chasing Ky Fire Brigade White’s score of 113, dismissed for 96 in 26.4 overs.
Opener Miller Griffiths’ half century for the Flames proved the difference between the two sides.
■ Moama scored a vital win over BLU to stay in the battle for fourth spot.