Mag­pies’ grind

Tak­ing games as deep as they can Wangaratta’s aim

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Sport - BY CAM POT­TER cpot­[email protected]­me­

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.”

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