CHASING a third consecutive Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade premiership, Rochester United’s season so far has been flawless.
Nine wins and no losses so far this season, it has taken its customary position at the top of the ladder, despite playing without some of its title-winning players from last campaign.
Englishman Jordan Garrett has more than filled the void left by any missing players. The opener has performed consistently with 391 runs in A grade at an average of 43.4 — the highlight a masterful 120 to guide United to a game-winning total against Moama.
Sean Williams bounced around the batting order last season but has made a position in the top-order his own, with 262 runs at 52.4.
Tim Rasmussen’s unbeaten 79 was another batting highlight for United this season.
With the ball, again Williams has been strong with 15 wickets at 10.3, the fifth-highest wicket tally in A grade.
But the balance of the bowling line-up has been important. Mark McFarlane (13 wickets), Angus Martin (nine) and Myles Wade (eight) have all contributed well, as has Dylan Cuttriss with seven wickets in just three games.
The 9-0 record hasn’t come without scares though, particularly in the round three nail-biter against rival Kyabram Fire Brigade.
United set the Brigade 9/191, and needed a late surge of 4/17 with the ball to hang on for a four-run win.
And its test versus second-placed Moama was another close contest, United needing Garrett and Hamish Hoopell to contribute 160 of the 214 runs combined before a tidy bowling performance sealed an 18-run win.
United will face winless Bamawm-Lockington United when play resumes on January 6, with two-dayers against Tongala, Fire Brigade and Echuca South to round out the regular season.
■IT’S been an up and down campaign for the Rochester Tigers, and they spent the Christmas break two games back from finals contention.
Consecutive wins heading to the break kept the season alive, a demolishing performance against Echuca South where the Tigers won with 34 overs to spare a highlight of the season so far.
But a four-game losing streak between rounds four and seven, including losses to Echuca and Tongala, badly damaged finals chances.
Adam Ward’s brilliant 108 against BLU was the best knock of the season so far, Ward one of the Tigers’ best with 254 runs and 11 wickets.
Skipper Jake Wright has been the pick of the batsmen with 289 runs, while Irish import Richie Forrest has been strong with 197.
Leslie Collins has starred with the ball, taking 14 wickets at a quality average of 13.2. He’s taken a wicket in every game the team has played.
Kevin Gillin has been strong too, 4/15 in round one the highlight of his 10 wickets.
The Tigers could make up ground on top-four rivals in their first game back from Christmas against Cooma, before facing Fire Brigade, BLU and Tongala.