Rochester keep their premiership defence alive

By Brayden May

ROCHESTER'S Goulburn Murray Cricket premiership defence remains alive, but only just.

Two wins against Bamawm-Lockington United and Echuca South on the weekend saw Rochy replace Cooma in the top four, after the latter lost its two matches to Tongala and Kyabram Fire Brigade.

“It's been an up-and-down season so it's very pleasing to reach the finals,” captain Sean Williams said.

“Everyone is really excited for what is ahead and I think it will be a great experience for our younger guys.”

In a thrilling end to their two-day contest against BLU on Saturday, the defending premiers were forced to fight off Greg Pearse's stunning 135-run knock to edge out their opponents by just eight runs.

Star all-rounder Dylan Cuttriss proved pivotal in the contest, taking four middle order wickets to help put his side in a strong position, following his 42-run performance a week earlier.

When BLU's Jeremy Felmingham was dismissed for a duck, leaving his side at 8-186, the game appeared to be well and truly over.

However, Tom Morris provided great resistance in the lower order alongside opener Pearse before he was eventually dismissed as his side trailed by 23 runs.

“I thought we bowled exceptionally well,” Williams said.

“The pitch definitely favoured batting which made it difficult at times. But our guys continued to stick to their line and length and got the reward they deserved.”

On Sunday against South, Rochester found themselves in early trouble after winning the toss and electing to bat as Waugh George and Sean Williams were dismissed to leave their side reeling at 2-13.

But Angus Martin and Cuttriss came to their side's rescue with unbeaten knocks of 83 and 87 respectively to guide Rochester to 4-235 from their 45 overs.

South never looked like troubling Rochester in their run chase, despite a promising 42-run innings from opener Josh Novoselek.

Williams and George were able to bounce back from their poor performance with the bat to lead their side to victory, taking three wickets apiece.

Rochester will now face off against Moama in a two-day sem- final starting on Saturday at Moama Recreation Reserve.

“We're going to need a contribution from everyone if we're going to win,” Williams said.

“But I'm confident our best is good enough to really test Moama.”

Meanwhile, Rochester's under 14s team will aim to chase down Echuca White's total of 4-162 on Thursday on day two of their respective grand final.