Rivergum’s bowlers go on the attack

Kyl Ewart. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Rivergum inflicted some revenge on Bundoora Park in the North Metro Cricket Association Jika Shield.

Having lost to Bundoora Park early in the season, the Kookas were keen to ensure it didn’t happen a second time.

With first innings points in the bag after day one, the Kookas continued to attack on Saturday to claim the full 10 points and the outright win.

Kookas captain-coach Gary Bell said there was a fair bit of motivation heading into the game.

“Last time we played them, we were the better side but didn’t execute the last over like we should have,” Bell said.

“It was one of the most disappointing losses we had in a while from our own behalf.”

The Kookas resumed at 8-205 on Saturday, with a first innings lead of 143.

They batted for just two overs, adding nine runs for the loss of one wicket, declaring at 9-216.

Bell said while they could have declared overnight, they were keen to bat for a couple of hours and try and unsettle Bundoora Park.

It seemed to work, with the Kookas getting a wicket in the first over.

Bundoora Park fought hard in its second innings, but was bowled out for 120.

Bell was full of praise for his bowling attack.

“It was some of the best cricket I’ve seen us play the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“To take 20 wickets in A-grade is a tough effort. Every bowling change worked and every bowler looked dangerous immediately.

“It was some high quality bowling, especially to bowl them out for 62.”

Daniel Young took three wickets on Saturday for the Kookas, while Corey Atlis took two.

Bell said while the bowlers did a really good job, wicketkeeper Paul Unkles was just as important.

He took seven catches and was involved in two run-outs.

“We didn’t realise until the last partnership that he had a chance to be involved in every dismissal,” Bell said.

“He’s been doing his job brilliantly. He hasn’t had much chance to bat yet.

“He’s enjoying being an important player behind the stumps and took some great catches.”

Bell said a fielder being involved in so many dismissals is believed to be a club record.

Rivergum’s Matthew Perri. Picture Shawn Smits.

Photo Gallery: Rivergum vs Bundoora Park 

The win, combined with other Jika Shield results, means the Kookas move to second on the ladder, two points behind Holy Trinity.

This week they face arch rivals Rosebank on day one of a two-day clash.

Like Bundoora Park, Rosebank got an early win against the Kookas.

Bell said a win this round would put them in a good spot heading into the Christmas break.

“It’ll be another good challenge,” he said.

“They lift to play us and we look to lift when we play them.

“If we bowl the way we have in the last two matches, we’re very confident.”

Before then, the Kookas have the Northern Region T20 elimination final against Lower Eltham.

Bell said it would be a different challenge.

“We’ve won three times and always finished high on the ladder, so we got to bowl first in those matches and had home ground advantage. It’ll be a bit different with having to set a total.”