Back on right track

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

Barooga has recovered from a slow start in the Murray Valley Cricket Association Premier Division to be a mid-table side at the break.

Losses in rounds one, two and five (along with a round three bye) meant the team had just one win to its name late in November.

But the side has staged a remarkable comeback since then — winning the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds consecutively to be 4-3 at the holiday break.

The most recent win came in a two-dayer against Tocumwal in which Justin Maley starred with the ball, taking 5/27 in the first innings, and 3/40 in the second.

That restricted the visitors to just 108 all out off 46 overs.

In response, Barooga declared on 6/171 off 35 overs, with a big contribution coming from young gun Riley Gow (63).

In the preseason Barooga president Wes Sutton said Gow and Jordy Anthony would be the players to watch for the campaign ahead.

Gow came from the junior ranks and Anthony, another youngster, moved from Jerilderie for a crack at senior cricket.

And while Anthony was yet to live up to expectations with the ball, Gow has surpassed the president’s glowing preseason remarks.

The youngster has a high score of 63 and averages a touch under 30 with the bat. And with the ball, he has been no less impressive, taking 11 wickets and has a season’s best figures of 4/24.

The other new Barooga signing was Trent Batchelor, who has been sublime with the willow.

From six matches, Batchelor has recorded a high score of 141 not out, and 241 runs in total; going at an average of a click under 50 every time he walks out to the crease.

After the break, when cricket is back on January 12, Barooga travels away to the Deniliquin Rhinos for the first two-day match.

Three two-day matches await following that Deniliquin game; before finals get under way from March 9.

Barooga president Wes Sutton said the slow start was due to a couple of injuries to key players early on.

‘‘Justin Maley and Kale Watkins were out injured for a fair bit of the first few games, so that affected us,’’ he said.

‘‘We never really had a team never at full strength until recently. One of the three games we lost could have gone either way so to have recovered to 4-3 at the break they’ve done well.

‘‘They’ve worked hard to turn it around basically. There have been a few individual efforts at times, Justin made an 80 and a 5-fer, and Riley has had a couple of good innings with bat and ball,’’ he said.