South West flogged by Geelong in painful start to Melbourne Country Week

SOUTH West Cricket started Melbourne Country Week with much anticipation but finished day one having copped a belting.

The representative side was on the wrong end of a seven-wicket humbling against Geelong Cricket Association to open its provincial grade campaign.

South West made just 125 from 38.3 overs after losing the toss and batting first at Merv Hughes Oval in Footscray, with Ben Grinter top scoring with 41.

David Murphy (26), Steve Castle (20) and Travis Brown (14) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.

The collapse handed Geelong 61 overs to reach the target. They needed just 26 and powered on to be all out for 354 on the last ball of the day.

Chris Bambury was the main destroyer, posting 137 at second drop while three other Geelong batsmen passed 30.

Paceman Clinton Baker was the sole South West bowler to make inroads, taking 4-37 off 12 overs including three wickets when the match was still alive.

The loss has put South West on the back foot entering today’s clash against Leongatha and District Cricket Association at Kew.

Captain Brown last night conceded Geelong was “too good for us” but remained upbeat about the prospects for the rest of the week.

“Teams have been in worse positions than us. I said to the boys ‘yes, it’s disappointing but we’ve got to move on’,” he said.

“Tomorrow is a new day and anything can happen at Melbourne Country Week.”

Brown rued the fatal batting collapse in warm conditions. He said building partnerships and batting 50 overs were the major lessons from the day.

“We went in very confident, you’ve got to go in confident. They won the toss and put us in. That was surprising in itself. I would’ve batted,” he said. “We just didn’t get off to the best start. We consistently lost wickets the whole innings. We couldn’t get partnerships going and they bowled really well.

“There was a bit of middle-order resistance and they tried hard, they batted well, just not enough. The top order didn’t fire and it put too much pressure on the tail.”

The biggest positive from the day, and one of only a handful all up, was that South West took 10 wickets to claim crucial bonus points.

It is seventh of eight of teams in provincial grade. Two of its remaining three matches are also against winless sides after day one.

“We’re still positive, we’re still in a position to win games of cricket and that’s what we want to do,” Brown said.

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