Be­nalla loses to GV ri­val

Benalla Ensign - - Benalla Ensign - By Gre­gor Mac­tag­gart

Be­nalla and Dis­trict Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion was un­able to over­come its Goul­burn Val­ley ri­val on the first day of Mel­bourne Coun­try Week, go­ing down to Shep­par­ton by 46 runs.

Be­nalla skip­per An­drew Startin won the toss at Green­vale Re­serve and elected to bat first on a wicket that looked con­ducive for bat­ting.

Opener Dean Shaw came out fir­ing for Be­nalla, hit­ting 34 of the first 35 runs scored be­fore be­ing bowled by Josh Thurston.

The Tatura bowler struck again just 10 runs later when An­drew Ire­land caught Startin (5) to leave Be­nalla 2-45.

Shortly af­ter, it was 3-45 when Ja­son Ib­bot­son sent the stub­born Ni­cholas Ab­ley (6) on his way.

Sam Hazell and Dale Ma­son led the fight­back, putting on 32 for the fourth wicket un­til Ib­bot­son con­jured a dou­ble-strike.

He trapped Ma­son lbw for 17, then sent James Cousins back to the pav­il­ion first ball to be on a hat-trick and Be­nalla tee­ter­ing at 5-77.

Hazell found a will­ing ally in Lach­lan Christo­pher, with the two putting on 76, be­fore Hazell be­came Dwain Vi­dler’s first vic­tim for 52.

All-rounder Matthew Stevenson built on that mo­men­tum, hit­ting four sixes in a sparkling un­beaten 32 that saw him lift Be­nalla to a com­pet­i­tive 6-191 from 50 overs.

Christo­pher fin­ished not out.

Ib­bot­son was Shep­par­ton’s star with the ball, tak­ing 3-12 in a fine ni­neover spell.

Thurston (2-36) im­pressed and Vi­dler fin­ished with 1-20.

Shep­par­ton’s chase en­dured a dou­ble hic­cup on 27 as open­ers Bren­dan Scott (12) and Felix Odell (13) fell within balls of each other.

Bray­den Tracey’s dis­missal for 10 had Shep­par­ton in a pre­car­i­ous spot at 3-47, but the Old Stu­dents pair­ing of Nick Breslin and Daniel Coombs stead­ied the ship.

Breslin scored eight bound­aries in a valu­able 50 from 52 de­liv­er­ies be­fore he was dis­missed by the wily Cousins.

Ben Reece (24) played an im­por­tant cameo as skip­per Coombs con­tin­ued to lead from the front.

What was 5-122 reached 6-195 as Coombs and teenager An­thony An­dronaco set­tled nerves and en­sured a Shep­par­ton victory.

Coombs reached 62 prior to his de­par­ture, leav­ing An­dronaco and An­drew Ire­land at the crease when the win­ning runs were scored.

An­dronaco, 16, scored an un­beaten 52 from 60 de­liv­er­ies and Shep­par­ton fin­ished 7-237.

Be­nalla con­tin­ued its Mel­bourne Coun­try Week cam­paign against Wan­garatta yes­ter­day, and will to­day meet Cen­tral Gipp­s­land at Noble Park Re­serve.

On Thurs­day the BDCA side will come up against Goul­burn Mur­ray and fi­nals will be played on Fri­day be­tween the qual­i­fy­ing sides.

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