Country week: Geraldton ends cricket carnival with 27-run win over Bunbury to finish third overall

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton wicket-keeper Jeremy Bedford and Bunbury batsman Bradman May in their round one clash.
Camera IconGeraldton wicket-keeper Jeremy Bedford and Bunbury batsman Bradman May in their round one clash. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Geraldton A’s ended its 2024 Cricket Country Week series last Friday with a 27-run win over Bunbury, finishing third in the tournament.

In truth, the game was a parody of country week as it was a T20 on a synthetic College Park pitch and Bunbury didn’t want to be there and hammed it up.

To be fair, both teams lost semifinals the day before, so rather than competing for A-section honours, they were contesting the damp squib of finishing third rather than fourth.

But Geraldton opener Jeremy Bedford, who kept wicket brilliantly throughout, hit 63 to take his tour tally to 207 at 41.40, while Clayton Bruce-Cherry’s 3-28 gave him eight wickets at 11.25.

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Jai Russell lead the A-side to a third place finish.
Camera IconJai Russell lead the A-side to a third place finish. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Geraldton’s semifinal at Charles Veryard Reserve on Thursday was won by Albany, who went on to claim their 16th premiership, the most of any association, against Eastern Goldfields.

Geraldton batted first on a worn wicket and made only 105 despite the work of Henry Anderson (44 not out) and lost by eight wickets.

Making enough runs was again an issue for Geraldton, with Anderson and Bruce-Cherry, who scored 101 and 106 respectively, the only batters aside from Bedford to top 100 in five games.

With the ball, Jay O’Brien, Bruce-Cherry, Mitch Thompson, Damien King and Ringo McKenna averaged 15.40 or less, while Kodi Giltrow showed promise.

“We were a batsman short and the man many regard as country week’s best 60-over batsman (Zane Marwick) wasn’t available, but all teams were missing players,” Geraldton captain Jai Russell said.

“Our bowling was reasonably good; we had options and didn’t concede over 200 once, while Giltrow is an 18-year-old leg spinner so his best cricket is likely 10 years away.

“Bruce-Cherry was our heartbeat in the field and has a knack of taking wickets but would have loved more runs after getting starts most games.”

Russell again saw a need for imported players to bolster local cricket.

“We definitely need them — Albany had five and other associations had a minimum of one very good one,” he said.

“Be great to see Bluff Point and Chapman Valley-Northampton sign quality cricketers who also play country week, but we only play 12 50-over games over six months in a harsh environment.

“Geraldton just doesn’t seem an attractive place for an overseas cricketer.”

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