BENDIGO and White Hills have wonderful opportunities to score upset wins in the Bendigo District Cricket Association.
Leading into the season the Goers and Demons were expected to fill the bottom two rungs of the BDCA first XI ladder.
After strong performances on Saturday they’re in with a chance of toppling two of last year’s finalists.
Bendigo compiled 260 against Huntly-North Epsom at Atkins Street.
Skipper Marcus McKern (52), veteran Mark Ryan (49) and youngster Alex Pearson (35) led the way in a consistent performance with the bat.
Sam Johnston was once the Power’s best bowler, taking 4-52 off 25 overs.
Spinner Nick Roebuck (2-55) and teenager Klaus Nannestad (1-22) also bowled well.
White Hills restricted Bendigo United to 9-222 off 85 overs.
The Demons bowled with great discipline as the Redbacks struggled to put together any large partnerships.
Skipper Leigh McDermott (50) and Heath Behrens (40) batted well, but they received little support from the rest of the top seven.
It was only an unbeaten 48 from number eight Joel Spry that lifted the Redbacks over the 200 mark.
Opening bowler Travis Colley claimed 4-55 on a good day for the Demons.
Reigning premier Strathdale-Maristians is in a strong position against Sandhurst at Bell Oval.
The Suns overcame a slow start to make 317.
The home side was 2-70 off 38 overs at tea before Craig Howard and recruit Adrian Pappin sparked the Suns’ innings with some big hitting.
Howard and Pappin put on 70 for the fifth wicket in six overs.
Pappin smashed 39 off 25 balls before holing out.
Howard continued on to make 94 off 115 balls before being caught on the fence.
The veteran left-hander hit four sixes and eight fours in his two-hour stay at the crease.
Earlier, Dom Taylor faced 120 balls for his 49 runs.
Opening bowler Quinton Bentley was outstanding for Sandhurst, claiming 6-95 off 25 overs.
His first spell was 2-5 off nine overs, including the prized wicket of opening batsman Travis King.
Sandhurst’s cause wasn’t helped by a hamstring injury to first-change bowler Steve Becker.
At Canterbury Park, Kangaroo Flat had the better of day one against Eaglehawk, but the Roos did let the home side off the hook.
After winning the toss and batting, Eaglehawk slumped to 4-45.
Matt White (51) and Andrew Smith (32) set about rebuilding the Hawks’ innings, but they still looked to set for a low score when they lost their seventh wicket with the score on 125.
However, the Hawks’ youngest player Cam McGlashan and oldest player Shane Taylor gave their side some hope with some sensible batting in the late overs.
McGlashan made 24 and Taylor 42 not out, which included a 45-run unbeaten stand for the 10th wicket with Richard Tibbett (12 not out) as the Hawks clawed their way to 9-227.
The Roos shared the wickets with Liam Jones (3-71), Adam Burns (2-49) and Tim Robertson (2-53) all bowling more than 20 overs.
Golden Square veteran Scott Johnson made his second-consecutive half-century to lead Golden Square to 8-256 against Strathfieldsaye.
After making 86 in round one, Johnson was run out for 81 in the final over.
Young gun Alex Code made a well-compiled 66 for the Dogs and was involved in an 87-run first-wicket stand with Max Grant (36).
Spinner Liam Smith was the most successful bowler for the Jets, taking 4-82 off his 21 overs.