Flying start at Country Week

TRARALGON and Central Gippsland made winning starts to their Melbourne Country Week cricket campaigns in provincial and division three respectively on Monday.

The Tornados toppled Murray Valley by 29 runs as spinners Michael Warne (2/22) and Brad Wadlan (3/33) squeezed the life out of the run chase.

Traralgon posted a competitive 6/191 batting first on the back of a solid opening knock of 58 by Jason Macfarlane.

Contributions from Greg Munro (18), Sam Marks (27), Ben Julin (21) and Brad Knowles (39) pushed the score along despite a mini collapse of 3/3 in the middle overs.

Murray could only muster 8/162 from its 50 overs in the face of a miserly Traralgon attack.

Ross Whelpdale was the other impact bowler with 2/27 from nine overs.

GCL grand finalist Central Gippsland made a big statement in round one in the form of a thumping seven-wicket drubbing of Warragul.

Canadian import Riyaz Pathan had Warragul in a spin with 4/12 from his 10 overs and, complemented by Mitch Cowell’s 3/21, knocked its western rival over for 99.

Central Gippsland then posted a mammoth 7/278 in response driven by James Blaser’s 74 and Mark Cukier’s 50 not out.

There was to be no repeat of last year’s upset over Geelong for Traralgon, rolled for 96 in pursuit of 231.

A century to Richard Oliver backed up by a spell of 5/10 by Brad Hauenstein buried the Tornados.

Central Gippsland made it two from two on Tuesday with victory over Goulburn Murray.

After dismissing Murray for 127 Central Gippsland passed the target six wickets down with Rob Phoenix (43) and Mark Cukier at the crease.

Traralgon’s third round match against Bendigo was abandoned on Wednesday, while Central Gippsland suffered its first loss of the carnival to Yarra Valley in a twenty20 clash.

The carnival’s fourth round will be staged today with Traralgon to tackle Sale-Maffra and Central Gippsland set to face Wangaratta.