Taking games as deep as they can Wangaratta’s aim
LAST season Wangaratta Magpies won just one match, a final round victory over Delatite, but after a year of struggling the Magpies entered the 2018-19 season charged and hit the ground running.
After a gritty loss to City Colts in round one the Magpies then defeated Greta, Benalla and Delatite to triple their wins total from the previous season through the first four rounds of the new fixture.
Impressive bowling from Chris Oates, a number of nice knocks with the willow from Blair Carnegie and Cooper Matheson as well as Magpies’ captain Zac Guilfoyle engineering energy in the field and making sure the batsman is continually under pressure has Wangaratta poised for a big second half of the season.
The injection of Stephen Leitch and the return of Ben Talarico and Dylan Landgren has added much needed star power to the Magpies and has helped them get over the line in each of their three victories.
In the final round of play before Christmas the Magpies took it right up to Beechworth to fight out a draw.
Guilfoyle was understandably pleased with the perfor- mance of his side through the one-day fixture of the draw.
“To have three wins and a draw through the first half is great; it sets us up well to win more games in the back half of the year,” he said.
“Wins before Christmas are important because there are less matches after the break.
“As a group we are excited for twoday cricket to get started.
“We might not be able to bowl dynamite or score quick runs as well as some other sides, but if we can take games as deep as we can and stay in the contest right until the last over then who knows what will happen.”
Oates has taken 14 wickets this season as well as making 96 runs, and Matheson has made 161 runs with two half centuries to his name in the last month of cricket.
“Chris Oates has reminded me before every game that he is a wicket taker,” Guilfoyle said.
“With the pace of the pitches and outfields and with his slow-medium pace bowling he is fortunate to catch a few batsmen off guard; he is a genuine all-rounder.
“Cooper will tell anyone that listens that I challenge him the most, this season he has put together some nice innings for us; it is nice to see ability turn into results.
“I would like to see him hit at least double that for the season.
“Andrew Bowden is another; he’s a very calm player and he knows his job is to just bat for as long as he can.
“He has had his demons against Beechworth in the past so it was good to see him get to 40 on the weekend.”
After Christmas the Magpies host top of the table City Colts.
“The Colts are going well, they keep churning out the wins,” Guilfoyle said.
“It is a tough ask; they have a number of bats that can score quickly.
“We don’t have that luxury with the bat so slowing them down and applying a lot of pressure in the field to make the guys that haven’t made a lot of runs down the order more accountable will be the aim.”