A BOWLING masterclass from Dylan Cuttriss has led Rochester United to its seventh straight win of the Goulburn Murray Cricket season.
In just his second game of the season, the gun opening bowler tore through Echuca’s top-order as United easily defended its total of 223.
Resuming the day at 9/223, the United innings was quickly wrapped up as Matt Hinks bowled tail-ender Mark McFarlane.
But disaster struck early for the visitors as experienced Echuca batsman Brendan Prendergast was caught behind off Cuttriss’ bowling, four balls into the innings without scoring.
Adam Jones and Hinks dug in, barely keeping the scoreboard ticking over as they tried to see off the new ball.
Between them they scored just 13 runs in 70 balls, before a double strike for Cuttriss. He bowled them both in quick succession to send the Echuca chase into disarray at 3/19.
It would take a serious fightback to get into the game, the fourth-wicket partnership between Echuca captain Shaun Hon and Simon Maddox vital to the side’s hopes.
They added a patient 24 but it wouldn’t last as Sean Williams got in on the act, Hon caught for nine to leave his side 4/43.
And as it looked as if Maddox and Chris Hinks were starting to find their feet, Cuttriss struck again. Maddox was trapped leg before while Hinks was caught to round out his five-wicket haul.
Williams took over to clean up the tail with four wickets of his own including that of Charlie Hinks who fought his way to 24.
Echuca eventually was bowled out for 115, more than 100 runs short.
The result kept United undefeated and a top the league, yet still just one game clear of similarly talented Moama.
The sides will square off next weekend in the first day of a two-day clash in what could easily be a grand final preview.
■MOAMA proved too strong for the Rochester Tigers, wrapping up a comfortable first-innings win even after a rain-interrupted day one.
The Tigers resumed at 4/36 and had to go without unavailable not out batsman Adam Ward. But captain Jake Wright stood up with a strong 42 including seven fours.
Travis Gillin was also important in building a total with 31 not out, but the Tigers’ lower-order couldn’t handle the bowling of Ben Docking.
He had Wright caught before adding the cheap wickets of Jake Toll (4), Adam McPhee (4) and Mitch Crawford (0), finishing the innings with an impressive 5/31 from 11 overs.
The Tigers were bowled out for 128 and wouldn’t have liked their chances of defending the total against Moama’s talented batting.
They took the important wickets of Ben Docking (12) and Layton McCann (16) fairly cheaply but Anthony McMahon proved dangerous at the other end with a strong 53.
He had help from Brayden McGregor (31), with Kirk Teasdale’s 26 not out seeing Moama across the line four wickets to spare.
It batted on, eventually finishing 47 overs at 6/158.
It proved a massive blow to the Tigers’ hopes of pushing towards finals, now three wins back from fourth spot on the ladder.
■BAMAWM-LOCKINGTON United couldn’t chase down Stanhope’s 165 in Saturday’s clash.
Essentially a one-dayer after the first day of play was washed out, BLU sent in its opponent who started well through Matthew Evans (28) and Daryl Harrison (23).
But Alex Heaton was the star of the show with 54, driving his side towards the competitive total.
Cameron Sharp was the best of the BLU bowlers with 3/24.
And United was on the back foot early as the top order was torn apart by Nav Gill and Cameron Smith, at one stage languishing at 4/19.
Greg Pearse led the fightback with an unbeaten 53 but he lacked support, BLU eventually bowled out for 131.
■COOMA took the points against Echuca South after bowling the winless side out for 117.
Having been set 8/252, South struggled for start to finish with only Joseph Hamilton (48*) providing serious resistance.
Michael Hill and Mitch Barrett each took three as Cooma cruised to the win. It started a second innings and was 5/81 when play ended.
■TONGALA pulled off another thrilling win to make it five straight victories and move into the GMC top four.
It bowled Kyabram Fire Brigade out for 130, a strong fightback from the Flames after being 7/69.
It was a closely-contested chase, Tonny getting across the line with three overs and two wickets to spare, Jayden Tucker having led the way with 36.