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Cricket: Big test looms for Romsey

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ROMSEY’S goal of a top-two finish in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup competition will be tested in the next month as the Redbacks prepare to face the top three sides in a series of two-day matches.

The Redbacks returned from the mid-season break with a close eight-run loss to Sunbury United on January 7 but regained their winning form at the weekend with a win at home against Wallan.

Romsey skipper Ben Way elected to bat after winning the toss but his side was quickly set on the back foot as Chris Burkett, Nathan Hoy, Matthew Milne, Taylor Stevenson and Corey Day fell for only 22 combined runs.

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It was left to Way, batting at number five, and Adam Frost at seven to save the innings, which they did with gusto.

Way batted steadily throughout the day to finish unbeaten on 134, belting nine fours and six sixes along the way.

But while his own performance was outstanding, Way was quick to praise Frost, whose 92 runs came in only 90 balls and included 13 fours and a six.

“Frosty really led the way. He got his runs really quickly and I played a supporting role for the last few overs,” Way said.

“I think his highest score in the McIntyre Cup was in the high 30s before the weekend, so to get 92 off 90 balls after coming in at 5/20 is a bloody good effort.”

Wallan veteran Steve Bell was the Magpies’ most effective bowler with 3/49 and Todd Keenan was economical with 1/26, but despite the team’s early success with the ball, Romsey managed to post 6/268 from its 45 overs.

The visitors started their run chase well, reaching 86 without loss when Romsey paceman Louis Moor broke through for the crucial wicket of Wallan opener Kieran Atkin, who scored 56 runs.

Spencer Whittingham, 42, and Bryan Vance, 35, continued to score runs, but after they were removed by Chris Marienfeld and Frost respectively, the Magpies’ middle order appeared vulnerable.

“With chases, if you can stick with it and eventually get a couple of breakthroughs, the run rate pressure builds and that’s what happened towards the last nine or 10 overs,” Way said.

“They lost a couple of wickets and then we got hold of their new batsmen when they had to start scoring from ball one.”

Wallan’s innings ended at 9/204 after Cameron Osmond was forced to retire, giving Romsey a crucial win.

“It was important for us to win, especially because they’d beaten us earlier in the year,” Way said.

“The next three games are the three teams above us, so we’ll find out where we are leading into finals.

“Gisborne have been winning their games quite comfortably, so we’re hoping we can stick with them and put some pressure on them.

“[The two-day format] suits us to a tee. We’re a two-day team and all of our players can’t wait to play two-day cricket.”

Way also lauded the play of Romsey’s Johnstone Shield side, which pulled off a thrilling one-run win against Kilmore on Saturday.

The Redbacks won the toss and batted, setting a score of 139 on the back of 49 runs from Matthew Richardson and 21 each from Matthew Burkett and Cameron Armstrong.

Kilmore opener Kevin Craddock got the Blues’ run chase off to a good start with 42 runs, but with the exception of skipper Josh Buttler, 29, and Ben Dawson, 21, the middle order and tail end struggled to generate runs.

Kilmore had three wickets in hand and needed only four runs for victory, but the wickets of Tim Hanson, Josh Buttler and his father Brett – the latter two to Romsey bowler Daniel Paterson – ended the chase with an over to spare.

In the McIntyre Cup, Romsey will host Gisborne and Wallan will host Bacchush Marsh in two-day matches commencing this weekend, while Romsey and Kilmore will be on the road to Bacchus Marsh and Sunbury United respectively in one-day Johnstone Shield games.

Seymour District

Tallarook showed it remains a force to be reckoned with in the Seymour District Cricket Association A Grade competition, knocking off Broadford at Tallarook Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

Josh Rudge’s unbeaten 78 set the tone for the home side after it won the toss and batted, with Lachie Watts adding a handy 39 as the Rook finished 5/155.

James Jones was the sole Broadford bowler to claim multiple wickets, finishing with a stellar 3/16 from nine overs.

The Broadford run chase started well, with Gareth Sharp scoring 53, but outside of Mitch Collier, 18, the rest of the line-up struggled to generate runs.

Broadford was bowled out for 130, with Watts’ 4/18 a standout bowling performance for Tallarook.

The other match was lopsided, with Seymour never threatening to chase down Eastern Hill’s total of 2/208.

Seymour was bowled out for 114 in reply as the Eagles remained undefeated in their premiership defence.

This weekend Eastern Hill will host Tallarook, while Seymour travels to take on Yea Tigers, and Broadford has a bye.

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