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Towns make winning start to Geraldton men’s cricket title defence with win against Sporties

Towns made an “iffy” if winning start in their Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket League title defence against Sportsmans on Saturday.

The Wonthella pitch was bowler-friendly, and two scores of 18 per side were the highest.

Sportsmans, sent in by Towns captain Sam Crouch, made 73, and Towns replied with 119.

Graeme Barndon (16) opened for Sporties and batted sensibly but had little assistance aside from putting on 27 with Kip Allen.

Brady Collins (5-12) was the wrecker and recruit Brian Downing (2-22), a left-arm seamer, also shone. The fielding highlight was a smart Jay Comben stumping off Collins to end Jarrod Jupp’s stay.

Towns lost six wickets in the chase and might have been in more trouble but for Comben (18) and Callum Marquis. Simon Evans and Jai Russell (18 not out) got them home.

“It was definitely a bowler’s deck — it held up like it was a bit wet but also a product of underprepared batters,” Crouch said.

“Collins bowled a treat, was doing too much for some and Downing was good.”

Ex-Towns paceman Ethan Johnson (4-31) was the best of the Sportsmans attack with support from Jupp (2-27) and at the end, veteran spinner Dan Welsh (2-14).

Wanderers beat Bluff Point at Muir Park on a pitch that offered a more even contest.

New Bluff Point captain Brendan Millar won the toss and bowled and fine work from Carl Shilling (3-47) and Mitch McAuliffe (2-31) reduced Wanderers to 6-79 despite Alex Solomon (42).

Then Digby Gallop (52) and Ian Oglesby (67) added 106 vital runs to propel Wanderers to 8-220 despite Brett Marendaz (3-34).

The Pointers were brave in the chase even as the required rate ballooned with runs from Sam Millett (20), Aaron Joss (26) and Jay O’Brien (16).

But Oglesby (3-42) and Solomon (3-48) ensured Bluff Point would be denied as they fell to 7-75.

In perhaps a good sign, the Pointers rallied thanks to Shilling (68) and Marendaz (15). Their last three wickets added 112 to end with 187.

“Solomon batted really well and got us off nicely before we fell in a hole,” Wanderers captain Kade Gillingham said. “Then we had a great innings from young Gallop, who is only 15.”

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