Geraldton make it two from two in perfect start to senior country week

Michael RobertsMidwest Times
Jay O'Brien made 62 after Geraldton won the toss and batted first in Perth.
Camera IconJay O'Brien made 62 after Geraldton won the toss and batted first in Perth. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times/South Western Times

Geraldton have made the perfect start in their quest to come away with an elusive country week championship after convincing wins in the first two rounds of competition in Perth this week.

The A-section team started the tournament with a classy 79-run victory over Busselton-Margaret River on Sunday, and backed that up on Monday after they beat Esperance by a comfortable 73 runs.

Winning the toss and batting first at Stevens Reserve on Monday, Geraldton posted a competitive 8/211 from their 60 overs.

Bluff Point product Jay O’Brien was the star with the bat at number three, top-scoring with a patient 62 from 121 balls.

A rapid-fire 51 from number seven Sam Crouch, which included eight boundaries, was a crucial knock to get Geraldton past 200.

Wanderers young gun Alex Solomon was also important in the death overs, smashing 24 from 22 deliveries.

A score above 250 might have been on the cards if Geraldton hadn’t lost wickets at regular intervals.

In reply, Esperance made a promising start, with their openers ticking the scoreboard along to reach 0/48 in the 13th over.

The usually lethal combination of opening fast bowlers Ringo McKenna and Tom Forsyth couldn’t find the breakthrough, but kept it tight at both ends.

Captain Jai Russell threw the ball to wily veteran Clint Yeates for a change of pace, and his slow-mediums ended up doing the trick immediately.

In his first over, Yeates had Esperance’s Callum Crawford caught and bowled for 17.

And Geraldton were soon on a team hat-trick when Russell had Esperance’s second opener Jamie Norwood stumped by wicketkeeper Kade Gillingham for 30.

Yeates was turning back the clock when he had another caught and bowled the next over to see Esperance crumble to 3/57.

Wickets then continued to fall at regular intervals as Esperance were all out for 138 in the 47 over.

Yeates finished with 3/34 from his 11 overs, while McKenna and Russell snagged two wickets a piece.

A tougher test awaits Geraldton’s As on Wednesday when they face Peel at College Park to play off for a spot in Thursday’s semifinal.

Geraldton's under-14s are all smiles after winning the country week grand final against Albany.
Camera IconGeraldton's under-14s are all smiles after winning the country week grand final against Albany. Credit: Supplied

Meanwhile, Geraldton’s next generation of cricketing stars have come back from Perth champions after a nailbiting win in this year’s under-14a country week grand final.

Chasing 117 for victory against a strong Albany side, Geraldton’s youngsters chased down the total at College Park with just two wickets remaining as lower order batter Ace Maver hit the winning runs.

Coach Brad Annison praised his team’s fielding performance in the grand final decider.

“Early on in the tournament their fielding was quite poor but they just lifted and turned that around to their credit,” he said.

“We bowled very well and put them under a lot of pressure. They all bowled in the right spots and took all their catches.”

Telling his team the 117 from Albany was very gettable, Annison’s plan was simply to bat out the full 50 overs.

“It was tight the whole way,” he said.

“We lost wickets consistently through the game. Our guys in the lower order really stood up and got us across the line in the end.

“The last few guys knuckled down and made some runs.

“For them to stand up when it really counted was brilliant.”

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