SOUTH WEST has its eyes set on Warrnambool Under 17 Country Week’s top prize after a glistening start to the tournament yesterday.
The Matt Boyle-coached side toppled reigning division one title winner Warrnambool Gold at Terang turf.
Boyle said the 19-run win was a confidence-booster.
“The boys are running redhot at the moment and they think they can take it all the way,” he said.
“Last year we had one win for the week but they were all bottom-age.
“This year it’s pretty much the same team plus a couple of new ones but with the extra year of division one under their belts makes all the difference.”
South West made 9-181, with opener Joel Moriaty (64) and Will Rowbottom (41 not out) leading the charge.
Boyle said it was a “well structured innings”.
Warrnambool Gold was gallant in reply.
Nick King (30) and Jack Clifford (28) helped it to 162.
Jack Osborne took 3-16 for South West and Jake Reed (2-22) almost snared a hat-trick after taking two wickets in the final over.
Warrnambool Blue overcame a sluggish start to record an opening day win.
The Andrew Bridge-coached side celebrated a 29-run triumph over West Wimmera at Jetty Flat.
Warrnambool Blue cobbled together 122 runs on the back of Riley Owen’s stabilising 29.
Matt Hoy (2-11) and Ben Rantall (2-6) did the damage with the ball, restricting the visitors to 93 in reply.
Bridge said he was pleased with Warrnambool Blue’s determination, which shone through as West Wimmera’s Nathan Sparling snared 5-20.
“I was happy to get the win,” he said.
“We would’ve liked (to score) 140 but as I said to the boys ‘keep bowling it up and don’t try and bowl short’.
“Pitch it up and let the wicket help.”
Bridge said early rain made the wicket difficult in the morning when Warrnambool Blue batted.
Owen, Rantall (21) and Harry Boyd (20) all got starts.
Bridge praised Owen for his innings.
“The wicket was fairly hard to play on and we lost Hugh McCluggage in the first over and after 12 overs we were 2-12 so he had to stay and work hard for them,” he said.
“He went out when we were 47.”
Bridge said Warrnambool Blue’s strong fielding effort complemented Hoy’s damaging bowling spell.
“Matt bowled right on line and length,” he said.
“He had four maidens in a row.”
Reigning division two title holder Grassmere enjoyed a strong start to its division one tilt, recording a 57-run win against Wimmera-Mallee at Davidson Oval.
James Gow (42) and Bradley Bell (31) played key roles as Grassmere set 8-160.
Wimmera-Mallee was skittled for 103 in reply.
Horsham Saints bowler Josh Carroll — one of three Horsham Cricket Association players drafted into the Grassmere line-up after it failed to send a team — was the only multiple wicket-taker, snaring 2-12.
Hamilton posted a 14-run win against Portland at Henty Park with skipper Tim Goodman instrumental.
Goodman made 57 as Hamilton posted 143.