IT IS the two-time defending Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade premier for a reason.
Rochester United has conquered all challengers in the last three seasons and took another victim on Saturday in Rochester, with an 18-run win against its nearest-ranked rival Moama.
It was a reminder United remains the best team in the competition, but Moama wouldn’t be too disheartened with an impressive performance despite some of its stars having an off day.
But it was a new United star, Englishman Jordan Garrett, who stole the show.
He took apart the visitors with a magnificent century. Fresh off an even 100 last time out in a Twenty20, he made it two in two games with a near run-a-ball 120 including 11 fours and four sixes.
He lost Corey Windridge early for 12, but had help from skipper Tim Bubb who although didn’t score much did manage to hold up an end with five runs from 37 balls.
United lost Liam Ringin and Brodan Evans for ducks but Garrett found a worthy partner in Hamish Hoopell who got in on the act with a quick-fire 40.
Hoopell fell with the score at 5/169, but Garrett pushed on to make his ton before eventually being undone by Jordan McGregor.
United scrapped to some late runs, batting out 45 overs to finish 8/214.
Moama opened with Ben Docking and captain Paul Henry, a sixth different opening batting partnership of the season.
It didn’t work out, with Docking run out for two. Further disaster struck quickly, with run machine Layton McCann bowled first ball by Ringin.
It left the visitors 2/3 and in a massive hole.
Brayden McGregor combined with Henry to settle the innings, the pair adding 52 before the captain was caught for 31. McGregor was caught too four runs later, Moama again in big trouble at 5/49.
It answered with Joel Murphy (30) and Teasdale (37), but United got on top.
Moama was bowled out for 196 with only eight balls left.
Five of six United bowlers took wickets, Jake Perry the best with a tidy 2/33 from nine overs.
Rochester now has breathing room at the top of ladder, two games clear of Moama in second.
■A STRONG top-order batting display led the Rochester Tigers to their first win since round three.
A win that kept slim finals chances alive, they proved too strong for Stanhope after making 197 with the bat.
Attacking intent was shown from the start as Jake Wright smashed 28 runs from 16 balls, opening partner Brandon Byrne continuing on to 48.
The Tigers’ was Richie Forrest though. He entered at 1/41 and wouldn’t depart until 8/196.
Travis Gillin chipped in with 24, Spencer Cleary the not out batsman on 11 when bowled out.
Stanhope’s chase started well but the Tiger bowlers lifted to have it struggling at 6/87.
Jake Toll and Leslie Collins each took two wickets, before under 16s player Adam McPhee rattled off the last four wickets to end the Stanhope resistance at 143.
McPhee finished with sensational figures of 4/9.
■BAMAWM-LOCKINGTON United played out a remarkable tie with Echuca South on Saturday.
BLU made 8/155 from its 45 overs, led by James McPhee (43), Greg Pearse (37) and Paul Colbert (31).
But despite having wickets in hand, South couldn’t get the win. Danny Lolicato guided the chase with an unbeaten 50 but didn’t get help, ending 6/155.
Cameron Sharp was the best of the BLU bowlers with a tidy 3/20 from nine overs.
■IN the other games, Kyabram Fire Brigade knocked off Echuca by five wickets while Cooma ended Tongala’s winning streak at five games with a 32-run victory.
■IN Sunday’s GMC Twenty20 semi-finals, Rochester United was thrashed by eventual champion Leitchville-Gunbower.
Set 102 by LG for victory, United never looked comfortable with the bat while crashing to 52 all out.
Jordan Garrett top scored with 17 but Sam Colvin stole the show with four wickets.
LG went on to beat Moama in the final by nine runs.