The Bush Blues have begun the defence of their national country championship in style, thumping Western Australia and then beating Victoria in Twenty20 clashes on day one of the tournament at Shepparton, Victoria.
Captained by South Tamworth veteran Tom Groth, NSW Country restricted WA to 9-84 in a morning match, then passed the total in the 16th over with six wickets down.
Groth’s South Tamworth teammate, fast bowler Tom O’Neill, did not play. He did, however, play in the afternoon defeat of Victoria, although he bowled only one over and conceded 13 runs, after opening the attack.
The Bush Blues made 7-152, then dismissed Victoria for 132. Caleb Ziebell (38), Graeme Batty (31) and Adam Taylor (27) top-scored.
Taylor (5-18) and Adrian Chad (3-17) were the chief destroyers .
Against Western Australia, NSW won the toss and Groth elected to bowl.
WA lost both openers, Zane Marwick and Thomas Buchanan, with only 11 runs on the board.
Taylor claimed both wickets.
When Cameron Suidgeest removed No.3 Bevan Bennell for one run, WA had slumped to 3-12.
The wickets fell to regularly for WA to get into a groove, with Aaron Burrage (29-ball 19) and Timothy Hutchison (16-ball 12) the top-scorers.
Three Bush Blues snared two wickets each – Taylor (2-6 off two overs), Suidgeest (2-9 off three overs) and Blair Lindsay (2-17 off four).
Bush Blues openers Batty (3) and Alec Baldwin (2) did not last long.
But No.3 and top-scorer Caleb Ziebell (32-ball 30) and No.4 Taylor (16-ball 14) steadied the ship somewhat, before Taylor fell with the score on 36.
Patrick Butler claimed 3-19 off four overs for Western Australia.
NSW Country play South Australia Country in a T20 encounter on Friday. The forecast maximum is 45 degrees Celsius.
Victoria Country beat South Australia by seven wickets in the other T20 match played on Thursday.