Cricketers from the Goulburn District Cricket Association travelled to Yass on Sunday, to take part in the second round of the Stribley Shield competition.
Goulburn was determined to make amends for a nailbiting first round loss to Cootamundra, but those plans were thrown into turmoil when nearly half of the team turned out to be unavailable.
After contemplating an early forfeit, Goulburn managed to cobble together a side, nearly half of which was made up of second grade players from the GDCA.
With this taken into consideration, Goulburn bowled first and had Yass all out for 184, an imposing but achievable total on a Victoria Park wicket which got quicker and flatter as the day went on.
“We had five or six second graders that stepped up,” Goulburn captain Brad Smith said. “Full credit to them, I think they did well.”
Of the bowlers, Smith himself was the standout with 4-14 from 10 overs, but he singled out Matt Brown as having bowled “really well” for his 2-41.
Yass might have been bowled out for an even lower total, were it not for a stand of 107 between Tim Hazell (42) and Joe Cooke (72). Fortunately for the visitors, once that partnership was broken in the 35th over, wickets fell regularly and Yass collapsed to be all out for 184.
Goulburn’s chase began poorly when Jack Goodwin was bowled for a golden duck by Billy Bolger off the first ball of the innings.
The in-form Smith was next to fall which left Goulburn wobbling at 2-13.
Two more wickets fell in quick succession, which saw the visitors sitting precariously on 4-29 and facing a colossal defeat.
Yass captain Dave Field took time after the match to congratulate his opening bowlers, Bolger and Craig Irwin, for their opening spell which reaped four wickets and broke the game open for the home side.
“Our bowling was a lot better than it was at Wagga, there was a big difference,” Field said.
“I think that was our big difference today. Our first spell was really good.
“We thought if we could get a few early wickets it would make a big difference.”
Despite a dour rearguard from Bob Ings (21 off 87 deliveries), his batting partners struggled to prevent Yass from making regular breakthroughs, and Goulburn eventually fell to 9-104 (Ben Staples was unable to bat due to injury).
Although this loss essentially puts Goulburn out of the running for a place in the Stribley final, Smith said that the challenge for Goulburn was trying to field its best XI.
“It always depends with us, if we can get our best 11 on the park, we’ve won the Country Plate a couple of times which shows we’ve got some quality,” he said.