Livingstone stars for Riddell

Riddell's Matthew Livingstone tore through Sunbury. Picture Shawn Smits.

Some Matthew Livingstone magic led Riddell to its second straight victory in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup.

Livingstone ripped through Sunbury’s top and middle order to turn an even contest on its head.

The Roar started well chasing 9-295 and had plenty of wickets in the shed to attack the target at 1-78 nearing tea.

Enter Livingstone. In a brilliant spell either side of tea, he took five wickets as the Roar crumbled to 6-91.

Bombers captain-coach Mick Allen said Livingstone’s spell turned the game in their favour and it was good to see his effort rewarded.

“He bowled his heart out,” Allen said. “In the 15 minutes before tea, he took three wickets and it changed the whole game. He’s one of the unluckiest bowlers I’ve seen, especially last year.

“We bowled tight and the run rate continued to increase and put more pressure on them. Once it got to six runs an over, it got really hard.”

The Roar never recovered and were bowled out for 117, with Justin Nelson top scoring with 40.

The win is the Bombers’ second straight to start the season – a stark contrast to last season, in which they struggled early.

It is a positive sign for a side that looks very different to the one that claimed the minor premiership.

Youth is the direction the Bombers are taking early in the season – one they want to persist with.

Allen said the playing status of some of the more experienced players remained unknown. Among those not playing at this stage are Heath Wadden, Jack Baker, Brendan Alger, Matthew Darby and Elliott Artingstoll.

“We had four young kids in round one and two were still in the side in round two, with two out for school cricket,” Allen said.

“Samuel Dempsey is 15, Harry Fisher is 14, Alex Ryan is 17 and Ben Radford is 16 – there’s some good talent there.

“We want to push them through and give them opportunities. If the others come back, that is a bonus. We’re giving opportunities to the guys who have done the hard work in the pre-season.”

Despite the changes, Allen thinks the Bombers will have enough talent to be in the mix come finals, with improved batting the key.

With two scores of in excess of 200, the Bombers have done that well early. Haydn Ross and Allen have both hit centuries already.

“We need to bat more time,” he said. “Last season we had a good side but we couldn’t bat time.

“We need to bat out of the overs.”

Bacchus Marsh, Woodend, Sunbury United and Gisborne were the other winners on Saturday.