FOLLOWING a solid batting performance last week, Bendigo will now turn to its bowlers today to deliver the Goers their first win of the Bendigo District Cricket Association season.
The Goers will defend their score of 260 against Huntly-North Epsom at Atkins Street on the second day of round two.
While 260 has the Goers – last season’s wooden-spooners – right in the game, coach Max Taylor believes it’s only a par score at the batsman-friendly Atkins Street.
“We’re certainly not getting carrried away with that score, and we know we’ll have to do everything right to defend it,” Taylor said yesterday.
“Overall, as I said to the boys after last week, if someone had said before the day that we’d make that score I would have taken it, but being only four wickets down at tea, we probably should have got somewhere around 300.
“We didn’t get there, but I still think we did a good job to get to where we did.
“Last year we hardly batted out all our overs, but we only fell one short last week, so that was pleasing.”
Also pleasing for Taylor was the spread of contributions throughout the Goers innings.
Seven players – captain Marcus McKern (52), Mark Ryan (49), Alex Pearson (35), Mitchell Blackman (25), Michael Winzar (22), Brett Andrews (22) and Glenn Franzi (20) – made at least 20.
It was a much improved effort on round one against Kangaroo Flat when the Goers only had four players make double figures and were one stage 8-81 before clawing their way to 170.
While the Goers were beaten in round one by Kangaroo Flat, Huntly-North Epsom – a finalist last season – is also coming off an opening round defeat to Strathfieldsaye when the Power were beaten by seven runs.
● At Bell Oval, Sandhurst faces the biggest run-chase of the day after two-time reigning premier Strathdale-Maristians last week blasted 317.
It’s a challenging target, but not one that daunts new Dragons skipper Nick Scullie.
“Last year the strongest part of our game was chasing runs, so we’ll be focussing on that,” Scullie said.
“At Bell Oval it’s a smaller ground, so the target is a bit exaggerated compared to bigger grounds, so we’ll have a positive attitude towards our batting and try to take the game by the scruff of the neck early.
“Our middle-order has probably been the weakest part of our batting, so we’ll be looking for someone through there to stand up and take a bit of heat off the rest of the side.”
The Dragons will need a more consistent effort with the bat than last round against Eaglehawk.
Aside from Shane Robinson (59), Scullie (45) and Brenton Jones (37 n.o.), no other Sandhurst batsman made more than 15 against the Hawks in round one.
The Suns’ 317 last week was anchored by 94 from Craig Howard, while Quinton Bentley was outstanding with the ball for Sandhurst, claiming 6-95, including the wickets of three of Strathdale’s top-four batsmen in compulsive nicker Travis King (12), James Smith (3) and Dom Taylor (49).
● White Hills has an opportunity to record a rare win over Bendigo United.
The young Demons last week restricted the Redbacks – who find themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting on the bottom of the ladder – to 9-222 at Scott Street.
White Hills, who have beaten the Redbacks just once in their past 12 meetings, will be hoping to make a better start to its innings than Bendigo United did last week when the Redbacks lost opener Mark Di Fede off the first ball of the day when he was caught at cover by Gavin Bowles off the bowling of Travis Colley, who finished with 4-55 off 20 overs.
● Eaglehawk has set Kangaroo Flat a target of 228 at Canterbury Park.
The Hawks made 9-227 last week after the Roos let the home side off the hook.
Eaglehawk had been 7-125, but contributions from Matt White (51), along with lower-order batsmen Cameron McGlashan (24), Shane Taylor (42 n.o.) and Richard Tibbett (12 n.o.) lifted the Hawks past 220.
“It was a fairly hard grind all day last week, so we were fairly happy to get that score in the end,” said Hawks captain Jason Abbott, who made 30 opening the batting.
“It wasn’t a traditional sort of day where you make 250 or 280 and lose wickets at the end... we really grinded it out, so I was very happy with the way we went about it with the bat.
“Kangaroo Flat’s bowling was really disciplined, so if we can match their discipline and take regular wickets then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
The Hawks will be without new bowler Jake Wright, who is overseas.
After beating Sandhurst in round one, a win today would give the Hawks a 2-0 start to the season, which would be vastly different to the past two years when Eaglehawk has been slow out of the blocks.
Kangaroo Flat is also gunning for its second win to open the season.
● Golden Square will defend its score of 8-256 against Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane.
Golden Square’s 256 was anchored by 66 from young opener Alex Code and 81 from the evergreen Scott Johnson, who is averaging 155 after two innings.
“It’s always good to have runs on the board, but with the way the conditions are at Strathfieldsaye... the track is dead and the ground is really quick, so I think our score is probably 20 or 30 short of where we were hoping to get to after the start we got,” Golden Square captain Grant Connelly said.
“But with close to 260 on the board, they’ve got to get them.
“The boys understand what they’ve got to do with the ball, so hopefully, they can bowl well and get the job done.”
● Follow today’s score updates on twitter @ lukewestaddy