The Murray Valley Melbourne Country Week train rolled on without a hitch yesterday, continuing its impressive unbeaten form.
The division two powerhouse looks almost invincible heading into today’s final preliminary round against the floundering Shepparton side.
South West was the unfortunate round three victim, feeling the wrath of a Murray side intent on going to any length for bonus points on its quest to avenge a still fresh Bendigo Country Week final loss.
Openers Michael Mitchell (Waaia) and Adam Wiffen (Cobram) continue to lay strong platforms for Murray Valley’s middle order to capitalise on, each scoring 52.
Nathalia’s Luke Carter (61 not out from 62 deliveries) then took up the running and, along with Barooga’s Riyaad Henry (35 not out from 32 balls), put together an unbroken partnership of 70 to see Murray Valley to 5-233 from its allotted 50 overs.
Regular wickets remained the theme of Murray Valley’s bowling, with South West’s inability to put partnerships together in the chase highlighted by only one of more than 27 runs.
Nathalia pair Liam Evans and Luke Quinn proved the most dangerous bowlers, taking 3-27 and 3-17 respectively to bowl South West out for 182.
For the second straight match Murray then forced its opponents back into the field for minimal overs, rubbing salt into the wound with 0-19 from three overs to complete a 70-run victory.
In division three, Goulburn Murray also remains undefeated after defending a small total against Wangaratta yesterday.
Fire Brigade freak Paul Newman top scored for Goulburn with 44 as it was bowled out for just 146, while Mark Watt (Fire Brigade) and Todd Murphy (Moama) each chipped in with 24.
A strong bowling performance had Wangaratta perish for 134 on the last ball of its 50 overs for an important win.
Fire Brigade’s Alex Woodland led the attack with three wickets.
Unbeaten Murray Valley and Goulburn Murray will need to win today to be assured of a hotly contested finals spot.
Goulburn Murray will play Colac, while Murray Valley’s clash with Shepparton will have plenty of feeling as the latter looks to stave off relegation.