Benalla loses to GV rival
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.