A BRILLIANT half-century from all-rounder Andrew Smith paved the way for Eaglehawk to open its Bendigo District Cricket Association season with a strong victory.
The Borough, widely-tipped to be the big improvers this summer, proved too good for Sandhurst at J.L. King Weeroona Oval.
After being sent into bat by Sandhurst skipper Nick Scullie, Eaglehawk overcame the early loss of captain Jason Abbott (2) to post a strong total of 5-229 off 45 overs.
Smith was the star of the show, smashing 78 off 74 balls including eight sixes and two fours.
Former Sandhurst captain Anthony West enjoyed his time at the crease against his former club, making 48, while veteran Matt White chipped in with an unbeaten 41.
In reply, Sandhurst openers Shane Robinson (59) and Nick Scullie (45) made a solid, but slow start.
With wickets in hand the Dragons were a chance to reel in the Borough’s score.
However, the middle-order failed to fire and it was only some solid late batting from Brenton Jones (37 not out) which lifted Sandhurst to within 19 runs of Eaglehawk’s total.
Teenager Cam McGlashan claimed three wickets for the Borough, while recruit Jake Wright impressed in his first game, taking 1-29 off nine overs.
Reigning premier Strathdale-Maristians proved too strong for Bendigo United in a rematch of last year’s grand final.
Injury-prone opening batsman Travis King showed his class for the Suns with a brilliant 87 to set up his side’s total of 5-235.
The left-hander was robbed of a century when he was run out at the bowler’s end after a straight drive from Linton Jacobs clipped the hand of BUCC paceman Miggy Podosky and went back on to the stumps.
King was the mainstay of a 76-run opening partnership with Cam Taylor (37) and a 113-run second wicket partnership with Jacobs (57).
Bendigo United never looked like troubling the Suns’ target.
Heath Behrens top scored with 30 in a disappointing total of 9-153.
Suns’ spin twins Craig Howard and Dom Taylor bowled tightly and took two wickets each.
Golden Square survived a scare against the young White Hills’ line-up.
The Bulldogs looked to have more than enough runs on the board when they posted 4-202 on the back of fine half-centuries to Scott Johnson (74 not out) and Jason Johnson (76).
In reply, the Demons looked in all sorts of trouble at 3-57.
But Daniel Larke (45) and skipper Aaron Monro (27) lifted their hopes.
Some lusty hitting from Brad Chitty (32 not out) gave the Demons a sniff of an upset victory, but they eventually fell 12 runs short.
Youngster Scott Woodman and speedster Darren Clutton bowled well for the Square.
Strathfieldsaye scored a hard-fought seven-run win over Huntly-North Epsom at Tannery Lane.
Skipper Ben Gunn (52) got his side off to a flying start, while veteran Greg Lyon (41 not out) batted well in the closing overs to lift the Jets to 6-194.
The Power were put on the back foot early when openers Linc McRae and Ryan Grundy were dismissed cheaply.
A 78-run stand for the third wicket between Brodie McRae (58) and Josh Collinson (33) put the power back on track. But they lost 4-12 in the middle overs to lose their way.
Sam Johnston made 36 in the late overs, but it wasn’t enough to get the Power over the line and they were dismissed for 187 on the last ball of the day.
Ben Devanny was the pick of the Jets’ bowlers taking 3-27.
Captain Adam Burns slammed 85 to lead Kangaroo Flat to a 30-run win over Bendigo at Dower Park.
Burns and old-timer Brad Orton (44) put on 95 for the fourth wicket to ensure the Roos had a competitive total of 7-200.
Mark Ryan took three wickets for the Goers.
Opening bowler Brent Hamblin (3-39) ripped through the Bendigo top-order to all but seal the points for the Roos.
Bendigo slumped to 4-22 and then 8-81 before tailenders Scott Dole (52) and Brett Andrews (28) added some respectability to the Goers’ score.
Medium-pacer Liam Jones took 3-23 for the Roos.