Crick­eters can hold heads high

Euroa Gazette - - SPORTS - By WILL MUR­RAY

DE­SPITE Euroa’s first 11 fin­ish­ing Satur­day’s game as losers on first in­nings, there was much to be proud of fol­low­ing their ef­fort in week two against Cen­tral Park/St Bren­dan’s.

The side came into the week­end’s play hav­ing al­ready sur­ren­dered the six points, how­ever were hope­ful of get­ting some­thing out of the match­per­haps even some points via a good sec­ond in­nings per­for­mance.

They would be with­out their cap­tain Brad Glee­son, which meant be­ing down both an open­ing bowler and con­sis­tent mid­dle- or­der bats­man.

Con­versely, Cen­tral Park wel­comed back their open­ing bowler and bats­man, Jor­dan McGre­gor, who would prove a de­ci­sive ad­di­tion.

With both sides dis­missed last week, the day be­gan as though a one- dayer, al­beit with the Mag­pies al­ready 30 runs be­hind.

The cru­cial fac­tors for both teams in avoid­ing a sec­ond in­nings de­feat were both runs and to spend some time at the crease- some­thing nei­ther could man­age the week prior.

Cen­tral Park be­gan well, see­ing off the new ball and bat­ting with pa­tience and tech­nique that Euroa would look to em­u­late.

Los­ing just the one wicket in the first ses­sion, CP’s two young- guns bat­ted their way to a com­mand­ing po­si­tion, giv­ing few real chances.

The two oc­cu­pied the crease for over 30 overs, with opener Jor­dan McGre­gor pass­ing 50 be­fore Euroa fi­nally snared the sec­ond and fi­nal wicket of part­ner Con­nor Hayes for a well- made 39.

This al­lowed the Tigers’ next bats­man the free­dom to come in swing­ing, adding a fur­ther 40 runs be­fore the tea break, at which point the cap­tain chose to de­clare.

This left Euroa a nasty run-chase of 185 to win- or more re­al­is­ti­cal­lytwo hours to sur­vive.

Cen­tral Park 2- 158 de­clared, with McGre­gor fin­ish­ing 71 n.o.

It must be said there was noth­ing overly wrong with the bowl­ing ef­fort Euroa put in. In fact, they showed con­sid­er­able dis­ci­pline in re­strict­ing the scor­ing to a lit­tle over three runs per over.

The CP bats­men were sim­ply very good, and took full ad­van­tage of some grassed chances.

Euroa needed to mount a strong bat­ting per­for­mance to re­gain some con­fi­dence go­ing into the end- of- year break.

Corey Robins, who had strug­gled to find runs lead­ing up to this point, proved to be the rock around which Euroa could build a score.

With open­ing part­ner Mitch Glee­son bowled in the third over, and first- drop Rod­ney Jones play­ing a pull- shot off the cue- end of the bat to mid- wicket, Euroa looked des­tined for an­other col­lapse.

When Lin­ton Col­clough, who had looked very solid and com­fort­able against the CP bowlers was skit­tled by a short ball that rolled along the ground, it re­ally didn’t look like the Mag­pies’ day.

How­ever, Robins was joined by James Lloyd, who had also been short of runs in re­cent weeks, and the pair stead­ied.

By ‘stead­ied’, I mean they blasted their way to an 80- run part­ner­ship off con­sid­er­ably less de­liv­er­ies, tak­ing Euroa from a po­si­tion of real vul­ner­a­bil­ity, to the point where the 180- run tar­get looked achiev­able.

How­ever, in the pur­suit of more quick runs, both would go in quick suc­ces­sion with lit­tle more than half an hour to play.

Corey Robins fin­ish­ing on 32 con­fi­dence- boost­ing runs, and James Lloyd a com­mand­ing 55.

It was left to Lu­cas Paul and An­drew Cros­bie to see out the re­main­ing time, with the game even­tu­ally draw­ing to an anti- cli­mac­tic end.

Euroa 6- 134, 50 runs short of sec­ond in­nings points.

The loss leaves Euroa around mid- ta­ble head­ing into the break, but with a three week­end rest, the side is con­fi­dent it can make a charge to­ward the top in 2017.

QUICK RE­SPONSE: Lin­ton Col­clough swiftly moved in to scoop up this ball.

STRONG BOWL­ING: Will Mur­ray kept pres­sure on the bats­men dur­ing Satur­day’s dif­fi­cult match against Cen­tral Park/St Bren­dan’s.

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