GOULBURN Murray Cricket fell just 38 runs short of a Melbourne Country Week grand final berth on Thursday.
A strong 65 from Kyabram Fire Brigade’s Sam Kershaw wasn’t quite enough as the representative team lost its division three semi-final to Central Gippsland Cricket Association.
It was a disappointing end to a strong week of cricket from the side.
It began on Monday against Ferntree Gully and District Cricket Association Colts.
On a deck that didn’t offer much to the bowlers, Moama’s Darcy Elliott and Rochester United’s Sean Williams were both able to take two wickets, but an unbeaten 81 from Niraj DeSilva guided Ferntree to a total 262 when the innings came to a close.
The GMC side showcased some of the best batsmen that the competition has to offer, with the opening pair of Kyabram Fire Brigade’s Paul Newman and Rochester United’s Jordan Garrett forming one of the most formidable partnerships to play in Country Week.
The two took to the run chase with ease, producing a 201-run opening partnership.
Newman was the first man to go, dismissed for 93, with GMC only requiring a further 62 runs to take the opening match.
Moama’s Layton McCann joined Garrett, but could only add one to the total.
But the day belonged to Garrett, who notched the first century for GMC’s campaign, scoring 108 before his dismissal.
Brayden McGregor (23), Anthony Andronaco (13 not out) and Jayden Rosin (3) were able to chase down the remaining runs with relative ease, GMC reaching the target in 41.1 overs.
The side turned their attentions to day two and a showdown with Warragul and District Cricket Association.
On this occasion, the bowlers had a major impact, cleaning up Warragul for 182.
The leader with the ball was Layton McCann, taking 3/23.
Jayden Rosin also contributed two wickets, while Shannon O’Brien, Sean Williams and Alister McCann took a pole each.
Despite making 93 the day before, Paul Newman played like a man who had missed out.
He smashed 16 4’s and six 6’s on his way to an unbeaten 122, as GMC used just 25.2 overs to easily chase down the total and head into day three undefeated.
Seymour District Cricket Association awaited in the third match, as did a change in the line-up, with Newman departing the line-up with a tournament average of 215.
Bowling first, GMC’s attack once again put the game in their grasp early.
The bowlers restricted Seymour to 7/165 from their 50 overs, an average of just three and a half an over.
It was again a solid contribution from the entire attack, with Alister McCann and Brad Power both claiming two wickets a piece.
Jordan McGregor, Sean Williams and Cameron Sharp each took a wicket.
Replacing Newman at the top of the order, Henry Charlton made a solid contribution of 38, before Kershaw and Layton McCann brought the side home.
Kershaw’s 43 and McCann’s 59 put majority of the runs on the board allowing the rest of the line-up to chase down the remaining runs in 42.3 overs to put the side into the semi-final.
Central Gippsland Cricket Association would be the opponents and once again, GMC found itself in the field to start off.
The bowlers ended up taking every wicket, keeping Gippsland to a respectable 246.
Darcy Elliott was the star for GMC, taking 4/35 in a very strong individual performance.
The batting innings didn’t start well, with Henry Charlton out for a duck in the first over.
Brayden McGregor contributed well with 44, while Kershaw made his 65 to get the side to within striking distance.
Unfortunately, they side ran out of batsmen.
With 23 balls to go, GMC were all out for 208, ending their Melbourne Country Week campaign just shy of a grand final berth.