Bendigo Country Week glory for MVCA

By Tyler Maher

Murray Valley Cricket Association covered itself in division one Bendigo Country Week glory on Friday at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Adam De Cicco and his charges put in a comprehensive performance against Gisborne District Cricket Association to snare success for the second time in three seasons.

MVCA has battled for supremacy in each of the past four top tier deciders in the representative competition, facing local rival Goulburn Murray Cricket in the first three but only defeating it in 2018.

Last year's loss especially served to drive De Cicco's group, providing the nucleus for the 130-run win against Gisborne.

“I think last year really did hurt us,” De Cicco said.

“We had beaten them pretty comfortably in the first game of the week and then lost to them in the final.

“We wanted to make sure of it this year.”

Although MVCA was not matched against GMC in the final this time around, the will to put in a superior team showing remained.

Individual efforts from Wian Van Zyl - who clubbed 17 boundaries during a knock of 125 from 105 deliveries - and Sam Dorsey (5-31) were the highlights of yesterday's action, but every player who De Cicco sent to either the batting or bowling crease delivered for their team.

It left Gisborne with barely a sniff of victory for the entire clash and gave MVCA plenty of cause for celebration.

“I think it really was a whole team effort throughout the whole week,” De Cicco said.

“(Van Zyl) did his thing that he always does, he wasn't having a great week but it all came together in the final.”

Andrew Hogan (48), Riley Gow (33 from 19) and Brad Todd (30) were among the strong supporting cast to Van Zyl's innings - during which he sent six balls sailing over the rope - while De Cicco (2-33), Saranjit Kalsi (1-26), James Tierney (1-31) and Hogan (1-33) all snared wickets alongside Dorsey.

Like GMC, MVCA will not be tackling Melbourne Country Week this season, but instead fielded a Colts squad in division two at the Bendigo tournament - an initiative De Cicco applauded.

“I think it was a great thing for the league to do,” he said.

“The boys learned a lot from the week and it will be good for them and good for the league moving forward.

“They were here supporting us as well so it was great to have them around.”

● Earlier in the week, Matt Jaensch put on a bowling clinic for MVCA to set it up for success.

MVCA won against GMC on day one, taking a comfortable six-wicket victory after a strong bowling display.

After sending GMC in, MVCA went about tearing its opposition apart and dismissing it for 106.

Jaensch took 4-21 in a destructive spell, but he was not the only bowler to impress, with De Cicco (3-10) and Tierney (2-18) also finding some scalps.

Daniel Coombs had top scored for GMC with 22.

Batting, MVCA lost Van Zyl and Kieran Andrew for ducks, but cruised past that, with Dorsey (50 not out) and Todd (28) getting the job done.

MVCA went 2-0 on Tuesday, chasing down a big total against Wangaratta District.

Batting first, WDCA made 7-201 from its 50 overs, despite the best efforts of an in-form Jaensch, who picked up another 3-20.

MVCA got 37 at the top of the order from Van Zyl, but it was Jonty Tubb (59 not out) and De Cicco (29 not out) that got the side across the line with four wickets and four overs to spare.

GMC also had a good win second-up, smacking 6-286 off its 50 overs against Grassmere with Angus Martin leading the way.

Martin pounded an unbeaten 77 runs from 61 balls, including four sixes, with Matt Hinks (64) and Jesse Barker (47) also scoring freely.

Grassmere was skittled for 145 in response, with Luke Du Plooy's 3-28 the pick of the bowling figures.

MVCA made it three wins on the trot on Wednesday by helping itself to an 87-run win against Grassmere.

Batting first, it posted 242 via another balanced batting display; Andrew made 58 not out, Dorsey made 55 and De Cicco made 31 as it took control of the game.

Grassmere put up somewhat of a fight, but was eventually taken apart, bowled out for 155 with Jaensch again the pick of the bowlers taking 3-19.

But it was another tough day for the GMC, coughing up 6-281 against Gisborne District.

GMC battled with the bat with Barker's 65 and Dylan Cuttriss’ 56 standing out, but it was eventually dismissed for 237

Thursday's clash between MVCA and Emu Valley was abandoned, while GMC finished its week with another defeat, making 6-152 against Wangaratta District, before losing by two wickets at the end of the clash.

Stephen Barrett (48), Coombs (32) and Du Plooy (24 not out) led the way with bat in hand for GMC before Fraser Cleary (4-23) and Du Plooy (2-12) did their best to restrict the opposition.

It eventually was to no avail though as Wangaratta reached the required total in the 41st over.

MVCA's division two side battled hard across the week, with the highlight an unbeaten century from Dean Edge in the lone victory of the campaign on Wednesday.

His stirring knock came from 109 deliveries and helped his side post 7-233 against Red Cliffs Cricket Association.

Jack Andrew (3-2), Aaron Harding and Ben Lukies (both 2-24) helped roll the opposition for 160 in reply.

Rory Knight (4-16), Lukies (2-15), Harding (2-18), Luke Quinn (35) and Hugh Hyde (27 from 86) provided individual highlights in round one, as did Lukies (3-10), Will Lavery (3-19), Quinn (43) and Andrew (21 from 62) in round two.

It put Lukies near the top of the table in the division two bowling ranks with seven wickets at seven, while Harding secured five at 12.8.

Edge (120 at 60) and Quinn (93 at 31) were in the top 10 on the batting ladder for the competition.