By Steve Brown
THE VB Country Week series produced some highs and lows for the FTGDCA with the first team finishing fifth in Division 2 while the second side were within nine runs of winning the Division 3 pennant.
In Division 2 a new-look younger squad lost narrowly to Bairnsdale, easily accounted for Wangaratta and suffered poor losses to Hamilton and top team Murray Valley.
The standout player for the week was former Hawthorn Monash Uni and Casey South Melbourne opener, Ben Stallworthy (Johnson Park) with a highest score of 96.
In Division 3, the association’s second team was promoted from fourth division to remove the bye and took up the challenge despite a loss to West Gippsland on day one.
During the remaining three games, Dain Howe’s men successfully chased a target in excess of 200 to reach the final on Friday albeit against West Gippsland.
Highlights during the week were 16-year-old Jayden Bradbury’s (Ferntree Gully) 107 not out and Eildon Park’s leg spinner Cameron Cosstick taking 6/42, both against Yarra Valley.
The final (at Ormond) produced a cracker of a game, with the favourites West Gippsland dismissed in the 48th over for 235 with young Upwey fast bowler Sam Waters producing a superb 10-over spell for 3/23.
West Gippsland number four batsman Shane Dole produced a fighting 79 which proved the difference in the result.
As they had done in the previous three games, the Gully took up the challenge in their run chase only to fall nine runs short in the final over, dismissed for 226.
Cam Cosstick top-scored with 54 while leading WGCA spinner Dwayne Doig change the game with a spell of 4/9 ending with 4/29 from 10 overs.
Belgrave’s Ben Carnell was awarded player of the series in his first experience of country week.
In his acceptance speech, gracious West Gippsland captain Mark Cooper was full of praise for the FTGDCA.
“Dain, you have a great young side who pushed us all day. We really admire the way your team went about chasing those runs today and the way they played cricket.”
@BT Sport Sub Mail:Scores
Bairnsdale 8/207 (T. MacDonald 3/42, S. Bowen 2/42, B. Morris 3/33) d FTGDCA 7/192 (P. Dunlop 58*, J. Levell 24, T. Burgmann 24).
FTGDCA 7/245 (B. Stallworthy 96, T. Burgmann 70, D. Goodger 39) d Wangaratta 143 (B. Stallworthy 2/10).
Murray Valley 8/220 (D. Goodger 2/57) d FTGDCA 160 (B. Stallworthy 68, T. Burgmann 31).
Hamilton 8/253 (P. Salter 2/36, S. Colee 2/64) d FTGDCA 146 (J. Levell 26, B. Stallworthy 26, M. Black 33)
Player of the series: Ben Stallworthy.
West Gippsland 6/227 (D. Rundle 3/52, D. Carmen 2/32) d FTGDCA 9/149 (D. Rundle 31, J. Windross 31).
FTGDCA 5/223 (B. Carnell 76, J. Windross 34, D. Howe 61*) d Gisborne 9/214 (J. Bradbury 3/18, B. Carnell 2/42).
FTGDCA 7/248 (B. Carnell 27, W. Koster 76, S. Vozzo 69, L. Flynn 22*) d Colac 8/233 (S. Vozzo 2/45, B. Carnell 2/22, J. Bradbury 2/38)
FTGDCA 5/259 (B. Carnell 23, J. Bradbury 107*, D. Carmen 55, D.Howe 33) d Yarra Valley 203 (C. Cosstick 6/42, W. Koster 3/47).
Final: West Gippsland 235 (S. Dole 79, S. Waters 3/23, D.Rundle 2/49, J. Bradbury 2/21) d FTGDCA 226 (B. Carnell 40, J. Bradbury 25, D. Rundle 46, C. Cosstick 54, L. Flynn 24*, D. Doig 4/29).
Man of the match: S. Dole (WGCA).
Player of the series: Ben Carnell.