WARRNAMBOOL’S two most experienced representative players, veterans Ben Boyd and Brett Eldridge, were standouts in yesterday’s Melbourne Country Week grand final loss.
Boyd capped a rewarding week with 5-32 off 10 overs, giving him 13 wickets at an average of nine from four matches while Eldridge’s unbeaten 96 off 120 balls, including 10 fours, completed a stunning individual tournament. He finished with 277 runs at an average of 138.5 from four innings. Boyd was disappointed his side had been unable to end a Melbourne Country Week drought and win promotion back into the elite provincial grade for next year.
“It’s (the mood is) all a bit down,” he said.
The 35-year-old paceman, who battled a side-strain before Christmas, said the loss only added to his motivation to return next year should his form warrant selection.
Boyd said he had bowled 60 overs in five weeks since Christmas as he regained form and fitness for the campaign. “I had confidence coming down here. I’ve been bowling well enough but I haven’t got the wickets.” That changed this week. He took five yesterday, including two in consecutive balls to close out the innings but it was his ability coming on in the middle of the innings to remove established batsmen that made him such a valuable commodity.
Not for the first time this week, he claimed the scalps of two top-order batsmen, stemming the flow of runs before coming back to restrict the momentum at the death.
Eldridge, like Boyd, is determined to extend his Country Week career beyond his 12th campaign. At 31, he was Warrnambool’s most productive batsman despite an illness-ravaged build-up to the season.