Grassmere's unbeaten start to Country Week 

GRASSMERE snared a down-to-the-wire win against Red Cliffs yesterday, extending its Bendigo Country Week winning streak to three.

It will enter its final division three preliminary round against Grampians today undefeated.

Grassmere secured a thrilling 15-run win in the final over when it dismissed Red Cliffs for 218 with four balls to spare.

Red Cliffs was 6-208 when century-maker Shannon Bowen (114) fell victim to Braden Hotker and from there the Red Cliffs wickets fell quickly.

Bowen had catapulted Red Cliffs into a winning position after coming in at number five when Red Cliffs was on 3-39. 

Purnim paceman Luke Ryan said Bowen’s dismissal swung the momentum Grassmere’s way.

“It was a very tight finish,” he said.

“It was a good contest. When their two batsmen set in it was looking touch-and-go but cricket’s a funny game.

“Once we got one (wicket) we got another and tied them down.”

Ryan took 5-79 to be the pick of the Grassmere bowlers.

“It was all right,” he said of his spell. “They were trying conditions. The pitch didn’t have much in it so you had to work hard.”

Grassmere batted first and resurrected its innings after a sluggish start.

It was struggling at 7-127 before a lower order revival took it to 9-233.

Murray Habel’s 53 made it back-to-back half centuries for the Hawkesdale stalwart.

Jason Elliott (51 not out), Brett Tory (49) and Braden Hotker (39) chimed in with important runs.

Ryan said it was a hard total to defend on a small field.

“To be honest I thought we were 40 or 50 runs short of what we needed because the ground was small and it had a fast outfield,” he said.

“The bowlers did a good job in the end.”

Ryan said Grassmere was thrilled with its unbeaten start to its Country Week campaign and was eager to add another scalp to its list today.

“It is great. The boys have gelled well together,” he said. “Everyone has done their job.” 

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