Gippsland Goannas down Essendon

Gippsland Goannas had a change of venue for their match against the Essendon Over-60 Cricket Club after rain on the turf wicket at Walter Street Reserve, Ascot Vale, was deemed unfit and the game transferred to Ormond Park.

Winning the toss on a cool, overcast day Goannas skipper Val Popov decided to bat first and sent Ian Gibson and Fred Debono to the crease.

Debono was bowled for five in the sixth over, leaving the Goannas at 1/11.

The ‘find of the season’ Ray Smith joined Gibson and they took the score to 45 in the 16th over when Smith was caught for 21.

That knock was followed by a brief appearance from Kevin Lanigan, on his way to represent Victoria in a game against the South Australian Over-60s in Mount Gambier.

Neil Meredith entered the fray and the scoring rate immediately increased.

By drinks the Goannas were 3/68, as a cross breeze made scoring runs difficult.

Meredith retired with 43 from 32 balls, while Gibson’s careful innings was highlighted by his first ever six with the Goannas and he also retired for 42.

Murray Moore and Popov knocked the ball around until the latter was caught for 10, bringing Gordon Cowling to the crease, who promptly hit his first ball over the ropes.

Moore retired at 40 and Kelvin Bond (6) and Cowling (12) took the score to 4/185 at the end of the 40th over.

As the Essendon batsmen commenced their innings, Cowling and Moore took the new ball.

Three of the first four overs were maidens as the Essendon bats defended stoutly.

There was a run out in the ninth over after a good throw from Moore to keeper Gibson and the score was 1/18.

Meredith and Bond replaced the opening bowlers and they also kept the scoring rate down as Essendon reached drinks at 1/67.

Arthur Pritchard, the Essendon captain, retired for 41 (49 balls) and Wayne Stokes, the opening bat and also Victorian State player, eventually retired for 40 after 85 balls.

Popov swung his bowlers around, with Meredith, the openers, and Bond all returning to the crease as well as Debono, Graeme Freshwater, Phill Higgins and Bob Duljas rolling the arm over.

Essendon’s bats did look to threaten the Goannas’ score and were eventually held to 3 /156 from their 40 overs.

The Goannas now have a week off and their final game for the season will be a home outing at Inverloch on 26 February against the Hobson’s Bay Over-60s.

Meanwhile, Gibson, Smith and Cowling will be joining Lanigan on State representative duty in the coming weeks.

The trio will take to the pitch against Tasmania on Tuesday 21, February at Harry Trott Oval, Albert Park.