Gold digs in as wickets rain down

WARRNAMBOOL Gold has all but booked its spot in the semi-finals of Warrnambool Country Week after routing Wimmera-Mallee for just 12.

Ball dominated bat in spectacular fashion as Gold successfully defeated a meagre total of 44 to win by 32 runs at a slow Reid Oval yesterday.

All up, 20 wickets fell for just 56 runs in a remarkable match of under 17 representative cricket.

Gold thought its hopes were gone after its top order collapsed to be 5-14 but the tail wagged to lift the score to 44 off 28 overs.

Sundries contributed nine to the total while Joe Medew-Ewen top scored with seven. Nick Atkins and Alex Sheridan each took three wickets.

But what seemed like a regulation run chase for Wimmera-Mallee soon turned into a memorable day for Warrnambool Gold thanks to Connor Richardson.

Connor collected 4-2 from six overs with five maidens and Josh Lock took 3-0 from two overs. Wimmera-Mallee was 3-2, 5-9 and lost its last five wickets with the score on 12. Its innings lasted 13 overs.

Gold batted again and reached 3-61 before rain forced a premature end to the match.

Gold coach John Houston said he watched the match in disbelief.

He said the pitch played a smaller role than what people would expect from such a bowler-dominated contest.

“When you’ve got 10 bowled and two LBW it’s an easy target to say there might’ve been something in the pitch,” he said.

“But I think it was just as much bad shot selection and good, tight bowling. It was a combination of the three things. I don’t think you can blame the wicket entirely.

“Some guys were guilty of playing across the line and bowlers bowled really well.”

The pool A contest at Reid Oval was the sole day two match to finish with a result.

West Wimmera was in control of its match before rain allowed Horsham to salvage a draw at Jetty Flat.

In pool B, Riley Owen (64 not out) and Otto Opperman (85) shared in a 149-run stand as Warrnambool Blue posted 6-186 against Hamilton at Avery’s Paddock.

Hamilton was 3-61 in reply when umpires called off play.

Portland was 3-95 chasing 117 against South West but also had to settle for a draw.

South West coach Matt Boyle said the washout kept his boys’ semi-final hopes alive after defeat on day one.

“We got away with murder in broad daylight — unbelieveable,” he said.

“They kept wanting to get out and bad. There was a stage the umpires came and got us and by the time we got out there it was pouring rain.

“From then on it kept raining.”

Meanwhile, in division two, Casterton had 4-186 on the board and Warrnambool was 4-89 in reply in another draw at J. J. Colledge Oval.

And opening batsman Sam Melican smashed a blazing 136 for Grassmere against South West at Allansford.

Grassmere posted 6-245 and had limited South West to 2-61. Coach Wayne Hansford said  Sam was a delight to watch.

“What can you say about it, it was pretty classy,” he said. “He opened but watched an early collapse and batted through and pretty much went on from there.

“He didn’t let the pressure faze him and he picked the right ball. It was a great knock.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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