Wickets prove costly for South West hopes

SETTING THE PACE: Jye McLaughlin made 47 opening the batting for South West against Murray Valley on Wednesday. Picture: Morgan HancockA WIN in its final match against Hamilton is “non-negotiable” for South West, according to batsmen Jye McLaughlin.
Nanjing Night Net

The Camperdown cricketer said his side will be looking to finish Melbourne Country Week on a high after a 51-run loss at the hands of a powerful Murray Valley unit on Wednesday.

“(We’re after) a win –it’s non-negotiable,” McLaughlin said.

“We’re going out to win and win heavy.

“We’re safe out of the relegation zone. They’re a neighbouring association, too, so there’ll be a bit of a rivalry there.”

McLaughlin top-scored for South West in its loss to Murray Valley at Altona, making 47 runs at the top of the order.

But with “too many” wickets falling in the first half of the innings, an imposing target of 234 was out of reach.

“We lost an early one and then went pretty hard at the ball,” McLaughlin said.

“We wanted to have a go at a couple of quick bowlers. We just lost a few too many wickets in the first 20 overs, but the pitch played really well.

“I was lucky to get away with a few. It was a pretty big ground, so it was easy (to find space for shots).”

The near half-century was a good return for McLaughlin, who is playing his first Melbourne Country Week in 10 years.

The 27-year-old made just one run against Ferntree Gully on Monday in what he labelled an “aberration” of a match for the whole team and sat outon Tuesday, before coming in at the top of the order on Wednesday.

Leaders Todd Lamont (35) and Jeff Rosolin (32) tried to play a saving hand for the second time in as many days, putting together a defiant 48-run sixth-wicket partnership.

Johno Benallack made an unbeaten 25 coming in at number nine as South West mustered a respectable, if unsuccessful, 182.

“We lost the game, but there was a bit of a positive to it,” South West team manager Travis Brown said of the group’s batting depth.

“Jeff and Todd batted well again – Todd hit three big sixes in a row just after the 34-over mark (and we thought the game might turn in our favour).”

Earlier in the day, Murray Valley’s openers got off to a strong start, with Michael Mitchell and Adam Wiffen both making 52, before a change of pace in South West’s bowling attack elicited the breakthrough.

Spinner Matty Bignell came on and, after cramping up the opening pair, claimed both scalps, finishing with 2-37 off 10 overs.

Angus Uwland was also impressive opening the bowling, claiming 1-30 off 10.

Lachie Wareham and Tyler Schafer will come into the side for Thursday’s match, while Josh Barr (unavailable) will be one of two to sit out.

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