United on top

By Tyler Maher

Shepparton United has claimed hosting rights for Cricket Shepparton’s A-grade one-day final after finishing on top of the table.

United has taken the Haisman Shield by storm to start the season — losing just one match across its first six matches — and continued its great form with a 35-run win against Tatura at the weekend.

Most of United’s top order got a start with the bat — including Chris Rendina (32) and Hugh Conway (29) — but none was able to go on and get a big score.

It left the likes of Matt Barclay (22 not out) and Ethan McLaren (13 not out) to steer the home side to 9-169 at Princess Park with an unbeaten 10th-wicket partnership of 29.

‘‘It was a funny sort of a day, five or six of our top seven got to 15 (at least), so it was disappointing that no-one went on with it,’’ United captain Dwain Vidler said.

‘‘It was good that the blokes at the end, who haven’t had much of a bat this year, were able to put on 30-odd for the last wicket and get us up to a good score.’’

Aside from a big second-wicket partnership between Tatura’s Caiden Pratt (37) and stand-in skipper Michael Archer (41), United’s bowlers were able to put the squeeze on the visitors and dismiss them for 134 in the final over of the match.

‘‘A couple of good run outs from Sam Nash and Sam Kershaw really kick-started it for us and then we had a few leggies who bowled well to their younger bats at the end,’’ Vidler said.

‘‘I’m definitely really happy with the way we’ve gone about it, it’s been a good start.

‘‘Hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing.

‘‘We always said that you play half of the season’s games in the first six weeks, so it was important to start well, and being on top is a great start.’’

Steven Tate (3-21), Barclay (2-12) and Kershaw (2-19) turned the screws for United with the ball to help secure the win.

For Tatura, A-grade debutant Jarred Panther showcased his talents with 3-22 from nine overs to go with his 13 B-grade wickets in three matches to start the season.

Fellow first-gamer Nick Watt was impressive under pressure late in the day, finishing unbeaten on 16, while Blake Armstrong (2-17) also contributed heavily in the defeat.