A swashbuckling half-century from Ash Gray and a captain’s knock from Ben DeAraugo has guided the Bendigo District Cricket Association to a strong total against Goulburn Murray on day one of Melbourne Country Week.
After being sent into bat in overcast conditions at Greenvale, the BDCA posted 8-241 off 50 overs.
Openers Mitch Winter-Irving (6) and Rhys Irwin (3) fell cheaply, but the BDCA’s total kept ticking over thanks to wayward bowling by Goulburn Murray.
17 of the BDCA’s first 30 runs came from wides and Goulburn Murray eventually bowled 27 wides for the innings.
Number three Jake Klemm made a brisk 31 off 35 balls before he and Andrew Chalkley (7) fell in quick succession to leave the BDCA a precarious 4-74.
DeAruago and Gray set about their rescue mission in conservative style.
At the halfway mark the BDCA was 4-104, with Gray 19 off 34 balls and DeAraugo 11 off 35 balls.
Gray stepped up the pace with his next 42 runs coming off 32 balls.
The left-hander was caught for 61 off 66 balls, including four fours and three sixes.
His partnership with DeAraugo for the fifth wicket was worth 90 valuable runs.
DeAraugo was the glue that kept the innings together.
The skipper batted through until the 46th over where he fell one run short of a deserved half-century. His 49 came from 92 balls and included one boundary.
Scott Trollope added 25 off 36 balls late in the innings.
Spinner Alister McCann (3-35) was the pick of the Goulburn Murray bowlers.
In the other division two games, Wangaratta made 6-273 against Murray Valley, Shepparton was bowled out for 166 by Ballarat and Leongatha posted 258 against Latrobe Valley.
The highlight of early Provincial group action was a brilliant 164 by Warrnambool opening batsman Nick Butters.
Butters faced just 114 balls and hit 20 fours and six sixes. There was still 14 overs remaining when he was dismissed.
His amazing innings led Warrnambool to an imposing total of 9-357 against Geelong.
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