FERNTREE Gully upstaged Bendigo Bank Country Week power Murray Valley on the opening day of the carnival yesterday.
Murray Valley went into the first round clash at the QEO having won 20 Country Week games in a row, including four-straight grand finals.
But there was to be no 21st victory for Murray Valley after Ferntree Gully opening batsman Jayden Bradbury steered his side home with a fine unbeaten 88.
Ferntree Gully, which lost last year’s division one grand final to Murray Valley, looked in deep trouble when it slumped to 5-85 chasing Murray Valley’s total of 9-174.
But an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 99 between Bradbury and Adam Dobb (40 not out) clinched the points for Ferntree Gully.
Skipper Shaun Downie and all-rounder Luke Carter were the pick of Murray Valley’s bowlers taking two wickets each.
Earlier in the day, Murray Valley’s top-order all made starts, but no batsman was able to push on a nd get a big score.
Ben Mansell (33), Carter (32) and Stewart Thompson (26) top scored against a disciplined Ferntree Gully attack.
Mohammed Furrukh did the most damage with the ball, claiming 4-38 off 15 overs.
Gisborne started its division one campaign in fine style, outclassing Castlemaine.
Last year’s division two premiers made light work of chasing down Castlemaine’s total of 224.
Gisborne number three batsman Kieran Atkin was the difference between the two teams.
He strode to the crease with the score at 1-11 and a little more than two hours later he left with 151 runs to his name.
Atkin pounded the bowling attack to all parts of the Castlemaine ground as he led Gisborne to a massive total of 7-305.
He was supported by opener Adam Johnston (54) and skipper Warren Else (44). Else had an outstanding all-round game, having taken 6-45 with the ball earlier in the day.
His haul included the key wicket of Castlemaine captain Matt Kile for 54.
Brett Cole (42) and John Watson (39) also batted well for Castlemaine.
Goulburn Murray showed it has premiership credentials when it thrashed Benalla yesterday.
Goulburn Murray, which was formed this year after the merger of the Kyabram and Campaspe associations, won by 146 runs at Rochester.
Opening batsman Brendan Prendergast (64) was the mainstay of Goulburn’s Murray’s total of 6-225.
Former Bendigo representative Michael Hill made 37 at number three.
In reply, Benalla never looked like challenging the GM total.
Jack Egan (25) and Matt Holmes (21) were the only Benalla batsman to pass 10 as their side crumbled to be all out for 79.
Adam Ward claimed 3-10 from eight overs for GM.