Tocumwal’s Murray Valley Cricket Association Premier Division side’s season started with a four wicket loss to Nathalia on Saturday.
After a tough week off the field, the Bloods were right in the contest but ultimately fell short of a first up win.
Winning the toss, the Bloods batted first on their home deck. With hardly a run on the board, Daniel Hibberd (64) was struck by a spitting bouncer from Adam Jorgensen (2/30 off nine) but the opener stayed at the crease.
A couple of early wickets had the Bloods in strife and at 4/44 Tocumwal were in tough spot.
Hibberd kept the scoreboard rolling though. With James Balcombe (10) the pair added 44 for the fifth wicket in a vital middle order stand.
When Balcombe was caught behind, debutant Tom Oliver (two) ensured no immediate collapse, combining with Hibberd to eat into the overs.
Conditions were tricky but the Bloods kept trying.
When Hibberd was out with the score 109 it was certainly not enough runs to be assured of a win.
Skipper Chris Shaw (11) pushed hard late with Tocumwal eventually all out in the last over for 124.
Needing to bowl well, the Bloods started superbly with the opening pair of Andrew Arthur (2/39 off seven) and Shaw (2/18 off seven) causing the Nathalia top order grief.
Four quick wickets had the hosts right in the game but the classy pair of Luke Quinn (63 not out) and Ash Quinn (15 retired hurt) were in no mood to concede easily.
The pair began to chip away at the meagre total but some tight bowling from debutant Rahul Thakur and spinner Andrew Lean at least put the pressure on.
Ash Quinn retired hurt on 15 after an ankle injury forced him from the field and the Bloods smelt an opportunity.
When Luke Quinn skied one to mid-off, the hosts held their collective breath but the catch hit the turf and handed ascendency to the visitors.
The third debutant for the Bloods, Angus Bouchier (1/6 off three), bowled three quality overs earning praise from the Nathalia skipper before claiming his first Premier wicket with a catch by fellow youngster Oliver.
Christina Roberts (1/6 off two) also snared a wicket late but the Purples eventually ticked past the target to record the win.
The Bloods travel to Cobram for round two, facing the reigning premiers on Saturday. The Division One Bloods fell 31 runs short of victory on Saturday, with Nathalia getting the win.
Batting first the Purples posted a testing 8/178 from their 40 overs.
For the Bloods, Aaron Macfadyen (3/29 off eight), Paul Mangion (2/11 off four) and Spencer Dines (2/33 off eight) led the way with the ball.
An opening partnership of 22 got Toc off to a good start before Rod Meloury (12) was bowled.
Brandon Meloury (22) and Macfadyen (66 not out) then combined for a 53 run partnership to give the Bloods a real sniff. MacFadyen pounded four ‘fours’ and two ‘sixes’ in his unbeaten knock.
The Bloods kept grinding away despite wickets falling at regular intervals. Macfadyen held it together but with the wickets falling at the other end there Bloods were ultimately all out short of the target.
Division One host Barooga on Saturday.