A BRILLIANT seven-wicket haul from Rhys Irwin led White Hills to a thrilling eight-run win over Strathfieldsaye in the Bendigo District Cricket Association on Saturday.
Irwin snared a match-winning 7-46 off 22.4 overs as the Jets were bowled out for 121 in reply to White Hills' 129 at Tannery Lane.
The victory keeps early-season surprise packet White Hills undefeated after three rounds.
Irwin reaped the rewards for his consistent line and length all innings, with his seven wickets made up of four catches by wicket-keeper Brayden Stepien and three bowled.
Only Glenn Roulston (8-63) and Kevin Foreman (7-44) have better bowling figures by a White Hills player since 2000.
Irwin dismissed David Farley (2) and Hamish Schumacher (1) late on day one, before removing Ben Devanny (28), Xavier Crone (1), George Baker (0), Jack Stubbs (12) and Justin Hargreaves (0) on Saturday.
Having started the day 2-45, the Jets were immediately on the backfoot when they lost five quick wickets to crash to 7-66.
Top-scorer Cory Devanny (45 n.o.) and Stubbs batted the Jets back in with a chance with a 46-run stand for the eighth wicket.
But after Stubbs was dismissed with the score on 112, the Jets were out soon after for 121 in the 58th over.
While Irwin was the star with his seven-for, veteran Roulston provided good support with 2-7 off 9.3 overs.
White Hills batted for 20 overs in their second innings, scoring 2-91, with Jack Hebron (57 n.o.) making an unbeaten half-century.
• A Travis King century was the highlight of Strathdale-Maristians' 137-run win over Bendigo at Bendigo District RSL Oval.
King batted all day, showing his class with an unbeaten 119 as the Suns answered the Goers' 145 with 4-282 to remain unbeaten against Bendigo in their past 18 games.
King's century was his third in his past 11 innings dating back to round 10 last season.
The left-handed opener was given a life when dropped on 48 and made the most of the let-off.
He faced 259 balls and smacked 14 boundaries during his knock, which is the BDCA's highest score this season after three rounds.
King shared in partnerships of 62 with opener Cameron Taylor (38 off 58, five fours), 94 for the third wicket with captain Linton Jacobs (47 off 102, seven fours) and 118 for the fourth wicket with Ben DeAraugo (52 off 99, eight fours).
DeAraugo's 52 was his second half-century of the season as his strong form with the bat continued. He was dismissed on the final ball of the match by Alex Pearson (1-56).
Nathan Fitzpatrick (2-37) was the only multiple wicket-taker for the winless Goers.
• Liam Smith spun Golden Square to a 104-run win over its bogey side of last season, Huntly-North Epsom.
Defending its score of 9-283 at MyJet Oval, unbeaten Golden Square dismissed the Power for 179, with left-arm spinner Smith bagging 5-31 off 19 overs.
It was Smith's first five-wicket haul in the BDCA, with four of his victims top-six batsmen, including Brodie McRae (21), who he superbly caught and bowled one-handed.
Luke Baird (3-38) again impressed with the ball for Golden Square and now has eight wickets for the season, while Scott Johnson was at his economical best with 1-30 off 22 overs, including 10 maidens.
Captain Tim Wood had a good day in the field, claiming three catches.
The Huntly-North Epsom run-chase got off to a solid start with a 64-run opening stand between Michael Hanson and captain Linc McRae.
However, once Hanson was run out, Golden Square dominated the rest of the day as Power wickets tumbled regularly, including the last three for just five runs.
Hanson top-scored for the Power with 43, including six boundaries, while Linc McRae (27) and Brodie McRae were the only other players to make more than 20.
• Eaglehawk improved to 3-0 and kept Kangaroo Flat winless after recording a 62-run victory at Canterbury Park.
The game had been evenly poised for much of the second day, but the Hawks got away late from Kangaroo Flat, answering the Roos' 9-231 with 8-293.
Andrew Smith and Aaron Monro produced a match-winning sixth-wicket partnership of 108, taking the score from 6-162 to 270.
Smith top-scored with 60 off 70 balls (seven fours), while Monro, who has already proven to be a valuable acquisition with bat and ball for the Hawks, made 50 off 59 (seven fours).
The Hawks had plenty of contributors with the bat, with seven of the eight batsmen dismissed making double figures.
Matt White (38 off 81) and Cameron McGlashan (37 off 120), who went out in the final over before tea after being promoted to No.3, were the next best scorers behind Smith and Monro.
It was tough going early for the Hawks as the Roos - led by captain Adam Burns - kept the pressure on with the ball.
With the Roos applying the screws, the Hawks took 30 overs to score their first 50 runs, but the runs began to flow, with their next 50 taking 17 overs.
Tim Robertson (2-59) and Chris Barber (2-43) took two wickets each for the Roos, while Burns - who conceded just 21 runs off his first 18 overs - finished with 1-41 off 20.
• Sandhurst blew the chance to end Bendigo United's stranglehold of dominance over it, losing by 38 runs at Harry Trott Oval.
Set 220 to win their first game of the season, young openers Isaac Conway and first-gamer Sebastian Greene gave the Dragons a strong platform.
They put on 76 for the first wicket, but the dismissal of Greene (21 off 123, four fours) sparked a collapse as the momentum swung back to the Redbacks.
From 0-76, the Dragons lost 4-9 to fall to 4-85, with Greene, Shane Robinson (0), top-scorer Conway (51 off 146, six fours) and captain Craig Howard (0) the quick wickets to fall.
And from there it was an uphill battle for the Dragons, who were bowled out for 181 with 46 balls still to spare and will be rueing the one that got away.
Star Bendigo United recruit Ben Gunn stepped up in the absence of key bowlers Nick Crawford and Marcus Smalley to take his first BDCA five-wicket bag.
Gunn jagged 5-46 off 24 overs, with one of his wickets Andrew Sheehan (18), who was well caught in the outfield by Alex Culvenor.
Gunn also dismissed Conway and Howard during the Dragons' top-order collapse.
Miggy Podosky followed up his career-best 44 with the bat the previous week with 4-56 off 27.2 overs, including 13 maidens, while captain Leigh McDermott (1-22), Culvenor (0-14) and Alex Sutton (0-13) conceded just 49 runs off a combined 28 overs.