SANDHURST won its first game of the Bendigo District Cricket Association season on Saturday when it chased down White Hills’ 269 for the loss of just four wickets.
Set up by an opening partnership of 132 between century-maker Andrew Bourne and 15-year-old Isaac Conway, the Dragons posted 4-292, passing their target with two overs to spare at Weeroona Oval.
White Hills didn’t take its first wicket until the first over after tea as Conway and Bourne laid the foundation for the Dragons’ win.
In just his fourth first XI innings, Conway made the most of his opportunity to open the batting, scoring 56 off 159 balls (seven fours) before he was the first wicket to fall in the 55th over when he skied a sweep shot.
Bourne batted through until the 76th over as he posted his second century for the Dragons, making 108.
Bourne faced 242 balls and hit 14 boundaries and one six, with his innings ending when he was caught by Travis Colley at mid-wicket off Daniel Larke.
The game looked set to go down to the wire when the Dragons required 48 off the last 10 overs, but innings’ from captain Nick Scullie (66 n.o.), Shane Robinson (20) and Brenton Jones (19 n.o.) ensured Sandhurst passed its target.
Scullie – who started his innings in the 64th over with the Dragons 2-160 – faced just 62 balls in compiling his unbeaten 66, hitting eight boundaries.
Larke (2-53) was the only multiple wicket-taker for White Hills, which is yet to record a win ahead of a tough assignment against reigning premier Strathdale-Maristians next round.
● Bendigo United opening batsman Mark Di Fede made a stunning return to form as the Redbacks returned to their familiar position in the top four.
Having made a pair of ducks in his first two innings of the season, Di Fede put his ordinary start behind him as he scored his maiden first XI century for the Redbacks against Strathfieldsaye at Harry Trott Oval.
Di Fede made 109 as the Redbacks answered the Jets’ 205 with 8-271.
The left-hander spent 250 minutes at the crease, facing 104 balls and hitting 11 boundaries.
He was given a life when, on 34, Jets’ captain Ben Gunn put him down at gully.
Di Fede was the fifth wicket to fall with the score on 184 when caught in the covers by Andrew Stove off Ben Devanny (2-48).
Earlier, Di Fede put on 75 for the second wicket with Heath Behrens (30) that set the Redbacks on the path to victory.
The not out batsmen at stumps for the Redbacks were Joel Spry (43) and Miggy Podosky (21), who had put on 56 for the ninth wicket.
Podosky’s unbeaten 21 was his highest first XI score.
Justin Hargreaves toiled hard with the ball for the Jets, taking 3-44 off 19 overs as he claimed the scalps of Di Fede, Behrens – who again got out after getting a start – and Harry Donegan (13).
● Huntly-North Epsom moved into third position on the ladder after dominating with the ball against Kangaroo Flat.
Chasing the Power’s 280 at Dower Park, Kangaroo Flat was dismissed for just 113 in reply.
The Roos were on the backfoot from the outset after openers Josh Newlan (4) and Mitch Collins (0) were both dismissed inside the opening two overs.
Runs were hard to come by for the Roos before tea.
By the tea break the Power had bowled 53 overs and conceded just 71 runs, while also picking up five wickets.
Those 53 overs before tea included 23 maidens.
Among the bowlers who had the clamps on the Roos before tea were Brett Elvey, whose first 17 overs cost just 13 runs.
Tim Robertson – whose first four scoring shots after tea were all boundaries before he was dismissed by Elvey – top-scored for the Roos with 48.
Kangaroo Flat had six batsmen dismissed for less than five.
Spinner Nick Roebuck returned the fine figures of 4-29 off 20 overs for the Power, while Elvey finished with 3-35 off 22.
The victory was the Power’s first over Kangaroo Flat.
● Golden Square maintained top position on the ladder with its win over Bendigo at Wade Street.
However, the Goers showed plenty of fight with the bat, even if the margin was 174 runs.
Starting the day 2-16 in reply to Square’s 3-324, the Goers batted for a further 65 overs in making 150.
The Goers having to bat for a second time was looking like a formality when they had slumped to 7-98 just before tea.
However, a gritty 37 from 15-year-old Nathan Fitzpatrick – his highest first XI score – helped the Goers’ last three wickets combine for 52 runs and stave off any chances of an outright loss.
Earlier, veteran Mark Ryan top-scored for the Goers with 41.
Left-arm quick Darren Clutton claimed 4-57 off 22 overs for Square, while James Pietromonaco also bowled well, taking 2-25 off 15 overs.
Meanwhile, in the second XI clash, 12-year-old Sam Elliott scored 72 for Bendigo in a thrilling game in which Golden Square won by three runs.