Bad start to GCL title defence

Liam Durkin

TRARALGON destroyed Sale-Maffra in the opening round of the Gippsland Cricket League senior men’s season.

The win not only solidified the Tornadoes’ credentials, but also put a serious dent in the Sharks’ hopes of making the semi-finals and going for three consecutive premierships.

Batting first at the Traralgon Showgrounds, opening batsmen Lee Stockdale and Jordan Gilmore set about getting the home side off to a strong start.

The Ex Students pair put on 39 for the opening wicket, with Gilmore, fresh from making 169 against Yarram the day before, the first to depart.

The dismissal brought Nathan Freitag to the crease, as he and Stockdale stamped their authority on the contest and plundered the Sale-Maffra attack to all parts of the ground.

Runs flowed for the Tornadoes as they had the game in cruise control, with Stockdale and Freitag doing as they pleased.

With the chance of a wicket appearing minimal, new Sharks captain Josh Davis was forced to set fields to try and stem the bleeding. Sale-Maffra used eight bowlers during its innings, eight of them aged under 19.

Stockdale and Freitag set a new second wicket partnership record for Traralgon of 150, surpassing the old record of 116 between Rob Wheildon and Kent Hammond in 2006.

Freitag eventually walked off with 86 next to his name, while Stockdale was the last man out after notching 102. The century capped off a prolific weekend for the Tornadoes captain, who also took a five-wicket haul for Ex Students on Saturday.

A few wickets tumbled toward the end of the innings as Traralgon searched for quick runs, with Sale-Maffra able to take some consolation wickets. The Tornadoes concluded their innings at compulsory close with 7-227 on the board.

Leg spinner Jake Wynd (2-24) and Rohan Diamond (2-27) were the multiple wicket takers for the Sharks, while Davis was tidy in the circumstances with 0-30 from seven overs.

The Sale-Maffra innings began disastrously and only got worse, as the batting effort became a train wreck. The gap between the two sides was probably best displayed when Sale-Maffra fell to 2-4, as opposed to Traralgon, which had 189 on the board by the time it lost its second wicket.

The Tornadoes decided to open with the spin of Michael Warne, and the GCL veteran delivered, claiming the first two wickets.

Sale-Maffra’s top order capitulated, and when they fell to 5-44 the game was pretty well done and dusted.

Ewan Williams ripped through the Sharks’ middle order, and finished with figures of 5-30.

No Sale-Maffra batsman made it past 16, and the team found itself with not much respectability on the scoreboard when it was bundled out for 97.

Warne finished with 2-22 from 10 overs with three maidens, while Adam Brady took 2-18 from nine.

The win was the Tornadoes’ second in succession against Sale-Maffra, after they also topped them last season.

Given the comprehensiveness of its win, Traralgon looks all-but certain to have qualified for the semi-finals, while Sale-Maffra will need to inflict Bairnsdale with a big defeat in its next pool match.

WARRAGUL defeated Latrobe Valley with a controlled run chase at Hallora.

Latrobe Valley got off to a strong start and had 50 on the board in the first eight overs. Newly-promoted opening batsman Rhys Holdsworth crashed 11 fours during his innings, which was made up entirely of boundaries and singles, as he made 50 from 43 balls.

First drop Liam Maynard got a start with 28, but Warragul was able to stay in the match with back-to-back wickets in the 19th and 20th over.

Youngster Ben Zomer batted his way through the latter stages of the innings with the tail, and scored an important 41 to get Latrobe Valley to a defendable total of 173. Jackson Noonan provided some late fireworks, sending a maximum sailing over the fence from number 11.

Wickets were shared among the Warragul bowlers, with Cameron McPhan (2-21), Natsai M’Shangwe (2-23), Yashan Samarasinghe (2-32) chipping in.

Skipper Sam Batson also took two wickets, to go with his haul of 7-15 for Western Park the previous day.

Despite the loss of an early wicket, Warragul batted through the majority of its innings without a great deal of risk, and passed the required total in the 44th over for the loss of only two wickets.

Jack Armour spent some quality time out in the middle, batting the entire Warragul innings to remain unbeaten on 62. Armour combined with Samarasinghe in a 95-run partnership for the second wicket.

Samarasinghe and McPhan did most of the attacking, with the former making 55 from 69 balls and the latter 38 from 43.

The Latrobe Valley bowlers did their best to try and entice some edges, but the Warragul batsmen could not be moved.

Noonan and Tim Webster went for less than 15 runs in their opening spells, with Noonan keeping things economical with final figures of 1-30 from 10 overs with three maidens.

THE under 18s saw the opposite to the seniors, with Sale-Maffra and Latrobe Valley victorious.

Batting first at College Oval, the Sharks posted 131, with Tom Wrigglesworth top-scoring on 44. Matt Barry (3-31), Kaleb Pearce (2-21) and Darion Duncan (2-28) led the way with the ball for Traralgon.

Traralgon got to 2-46 in reply, but lost 8-24 in the finish to be all for 70. Ethan Albrecht took 4-12 and Wrigglesworth completed a good all round game by claiming 3-9.

Latrobe Valley was able to defend its score of 150. Nathan Wheildon scored a determined 54, while bowling honours for Warragul went to Nick Caddy (2-13) and Matt Garner (2-24).

The Wilddogs appeared to be in control at 5-120, but the match was turned on its head when Riley White was reintroduced for his second spell.

White took the final five wickets on his way to figures of 5-17 to reduce Warragul to 136.

Jacob Carnes also found success with the ball, taking 2-14. Brayden Notman and Matt Jones each made 25 for Warragul.

SALE-MAFFRA had a big win over Latrobe in round two of the women’s competition.

The Sharks compiled 6-250 from their 40 overs, with Teagan Fairbrother scoring an unbeaten half century.

Other to get amongst the runs were Tilly Pendergast (31), Megen Wrigglesworth (30 not out), Abby Wrigglesworth (30 not out) and Delwyn Ahern (27).

Latrobe was never in the hunt in reply, and was bowled out for 52.

Matilda Berns was the leading wicker taker for the Sharks with 2-8.

Bairnsdale was too good for Centrals at Meerlieu.

Sent in to bat, Bairnsdale amassed 7-210, with Steph Barnett and Beckie Stevens retiring on 52 and 50 respectively.

Centrals was bowled out for 127, with Kayla Hayles claiming 3-16 for the home side.