Cats need ‘bounce’ after starting slow

STEAMING IN: Mark Freijah bowls for East Belmont.

Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake

Geelong Cricket Club was slow to get out of the blocks last weekend with a final-over loss to Camberwell at home.

Bating first at home, the Cats got good starts from most of their top order but in the end the lack of someone going on to post a really big total cost them.

Hayden Butterworth (57*) top scored at number 6 going at almost a run a ball. But Tom Jackson (45), Josh McDonald (37) and Eamonn Vines (33) all failed to capitalise as the side could only manage 255 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Camberwell was cruising at 0/97 before the introduction of Joel Blain (4/45) turned the game on its head as he dismissed the Magpies’ top four batsmen.

Andrew Vine (2/43) took the other two wickets to fall but a lack of penetration from the rest of the attack allowed the visitors to inch toward victory and eventually claim it with two balls to spare.

Tomorrow the Cats simply must bounce back when they host Casey-South Melbourne in another one-day game because wins at this time of year are crucial in setting up a season.

Geelong Cricket Association also got started last week with some cracking games in division one.

Newtown & Chilwell fell over the line against reigning premier East Belmont in a low-scoring affair, number 11 Jackson Davis hitting the winning runs off the very last ball of the game.

Earlier veteran Mark Freijah (26) celebrated his return to the East Belmont First XI by top-scoring, while Andrew Baars (24) was the only other score of note in the Lions’ low score of 127.

For the Two Blues, George Chisolm (3/11) was the pick of the bowlers, while Sam Allen (3/22) was also impressive.

At 6/53, the game looked beyond Newtown & Chilwell but some middle-order resistance from Tim Hosking (20) got things back on track before youngster Joe Nagle (30*) showed great composure to steer his side home by the absolute narrowest of margins.

The Two Blues will take on neighbour St Josephs tomorrow in a game that they will start favourites in, knowing a win could really set their season up nicely.

Selections: Bell Post Hill v LARA, NORTH GEELONG v Leopold, NEWTOWN & CHILWELL v St Josephs, South Barwon v EAST BELMONT, Murgheboluc v GROVEDALE.

In division two, Highton shocked everyone when it soundly beat Geelong City in their one-day clash.

Batting first, the Heat made a competitive 8/189 with Brandon Ross (38) top scoring at the top of the order and Alistair Ross (31) and Jack Elliott (29) ensuring the good start wasn’t wasted.

City opened up with star duo Richie Oliver (2) and Pat Richards (50) but Highton struck a massive blow early with recruit Nathan McCoach snaring the big wicket of Oliver.

Luke Inglis (39) helped steady the Sharks’ ship, and at 4/133 they looked like cruising to victory.

But the Highton bowlers stood firm and in a fine tam effort dismissed their visitors for 170. Four of the bowlers took two wickets each in an even spread.

Highton will look consolidate the win with an away game against Torquay tomorrow, which will be another tough but surmountable test.

Selections: GEELONG CITY v St Peters, Torquay v HIGHTON, MODEWARRE v Manifold Heights, Bell Park v MARSHALL.

And in division three, Lethbridge hit the ground running with a fine win against Bannockburn.

Bannockburn batted first and posted a very healthy 7/218 on the back of Daniel Davies’ 99 from just 144 balls.

Lethbridge showed why it well and truly belong at this level though as its batters methodically went about casing the target with a series of partnerships.

Brent Donaldson (47) was the rock at the top of the order, while Toby Spiller (52*) guided the team home in style.

Lethbridge travels to Corio tomorrow and the adjustment to turf cricket will be paramount if it’s to really be a contender in this division.

Selections: St Albans Breakwater v ALEXANDER THOMSON, Corio v LETHBRIDGE, Waurn Ponds Deakin v BANNOCKBURN, GEELONG WEST v Thomson, NEWCOMB & DISTRICT v Guild Saints.

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