Moama well placed for top spot in Goulburn Murray Cricket

By Andrew Johnston

MOAMA is in the box seat to take top spot in Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade after a strong showing on Saturday.

Moama is a strong chance to claim honours against Echuca, while brilliant bowling from Rochester has all but confirmed a loss for Kyabram Fire Brigade.

If results fall as expected, Moama will jump ahead of the Flames to the top of the ladder.

●CAPTAIN Jack Russell was the chief destroyer for his Magpies on Saturday afternoon at Victoria Park.

Russell claimed 6/33 off 14.2 overs, including three maidens, as Echuca was dismissed for 121 in the 62nd over.

It was Echuca's lower order who put up a fight to get their team to a respectable total however.

When Kobyn James was dismissed by Russell, Echuca was in serious trouble at 7/63.

But the final three batsmen, as well as number six Simon Maddox, would all score double figures, adding a further 58 before the side was cleaned up.

Echuca fought back with the ball late in the day. Charlie Hinks claimed 2/3 from seven overs, including five maidens, to leave the visitors in a nervous position of 2/17.

●KYABRAM Fire Brigade's stranglehold on top spot could be undone by its biggest rival.

Rochester - still building its premiership defence - made a statement on Saturday by extinguishing the Flames for just 82.

Daniel Kent provided 21 and Kaine Herbert 17, but the remaining nine batsmen could not pass single figures.

With the ball, Angus Martin and Fraser Cleary both claimed three wickets for Rochy, while captain Sean Williams took two.

Kyabram would last less than 49 overs, giving Rochester a considerable portion of batting to close out day one.

Young gun Waugh George played a patient innings to finish unbeaten on 28 off 80 balls, as Rochester closed play 3/51 off 28, trailing by just 31 runs.

●TONGALA's Darin Ohlsen contributed half of his side's runs on Saturday afternoon, as the Blues made their way to a solid total of 207 against BLU.

Ohlsen came within balls of carrying his bat, lasting 284 minutes while scoring 105 runs including 10 boundaries.

It was performance the team desperately needed, with 46 from Elijah Gillie the only other score of note.

The remaining members of the team would all score 10 runs or less, with BLU's Shannon Bish leading the charge with the ball in claiming 4/21.

●A FOURTH half-century for the season from Josh Novoselek, paired with strong performances from Mitchell Stephens and Luke Thompson, may not have been enough to guide Echuca South to a match-winning position against Cooma.

However, two early wickets in response has kept the game in the balance.

After an early wicket fell in South's innings, Novoselek and Stephens combined for a 65-run partnership before Novoselek was stumped.

Thompson came to the crease, with the team adding another 17 before Stephens departed.

From there Thompson could only try and stem the bleeding as his fellow batsmen collapsed around him - the next seven combing for one run - South bowled out for 126 in the 58th over.

But early strikes from the South bowlers swung the match back on an even footing.

Cooma batted 19 overs, closing play at 2/32, still 94 runs behind.