GREATER Illawarra Zone's Country Championships debut has started on the wrong foot, with the side suffering a five-wicket defeat to ACT Southern Districts at Hayden Drexel Oval on Friday.
Sent in to bat, Greater Illawarra, featuring Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens’ Daniel Gleeson, Nate Jones and Blake Munilla, lost wickets at regular intervals, with the team struggling to establish partnerships as they were bowled out for 152.
Coach Grant Tilling concedes the side fell 50 runs short of a defendable target, with many players falling to loose shots.
Opener Graeme Batty's Country Championships experience shone through as he made 75 not out, however he was forced to watch on as all 10 of his batting partners were dismissed.
“Graeme stood up and carried his bat, but the other batsmen didn't grind things out like he did," Tilling said.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got a young side and we'll learn a lot from today.”
The side was in with a chance midway through the second innings, with three Jamie Fleming wickets helping to reduce ACT Southern Districts to 5/69.
That was where the wickets ended, however, with Scott Murn and Josh Watling combining to steer their team home with an unbroken 85-run partnership.
“Our spinners bowled really well, Jamie Fleming was great. It definitely justified our decision to play four spinners,” Tilling said
“But at the back end we just struggled to build pressure and let them off the hook.”
Greater Illawarra face another challenge on Saturday, when they face a Newcastle side that defeated Riverina by 152 runs.