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OWN the game when you have the opportunity to do so in the middle.
That was one of the messages reiterated by Bendigo District Cricket Association coach Shane Koop in the wake of last Sunday’s Kenmac Shield defeat to Gisborne.
The match was one of two warm-up games for the BDCA’s Melbourne Country Week squad and couldn’t have started any more disastrously – Bendigo reeling at 7-13 with Joel Murphy (1), Sam Johnston (1), Jake Klemm (3), Anthony West (0), Jack Neylon (1), Ryan Hartley (1) and Andrew Chalkley (3) all dismissed and facing just 67 balls between them at North Bendigo.
“Gisborne had a West Indian (Recordo Gordon) and a Sri Lankan (Madushanka Ekanayaka) opening bowler who both bowled really fast and with some fairly challenging lengths,” Koop said on Thursday.
“There was a bit of variable bounce and not too long in we were 7-13 against some really good bowling.”
From 7-13 the experienced pair of skipper Ben DeAraugo (49) and Adam Burns (22) – preparing for his 16th Country Week campaign – battled valiantly in putting on 69 for the eighth wicket and helping Bendigo to a tally of 95, which almost proved a winning total.
Gisborne scraped over the line by two wickets, reaching 8-96 to complete a game where 18 wickets fell for just 191 runs.
Johnston (3-24) and Dylan Klemm (3-23) took three wickets apiece for Bendigo.
“From a batting point of view, we focused after the game on the fact we’re going to get some wickets in Melbourne that are going to be potentially under-prepared because they are midweek tracks, so it was good preparation for that,” Koop said.
“We spoke about the boys sticking to the gameplan, batting for the team and that when you’re out in the middle representing the association to own the game and focus on that with your approach and shot selection.
“There were plenty of learnings we took out of the game with our batting. I was really pleased with the bowling given we almost won the game.”
The BDCA’s next game will be against Ballarat in Ballarat on February 10.
Melbourne Country Week begins on Monday, February 18, with Bendigo again competing in division two.
Bendigo plays Yarra Valley at Greenvale on day one.
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