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FOR the third time in its first four games Sandhurst has beaten one of last season’s BDCA finalists after digging deep to record a stirring win over Strathdale-Maristians on Saturday.
Not only did the Dragons successfully chase down the Suns’ 8-312, they did it having had their backs to the wall after frittering away a position of dominance at Bell Oval.
Despite the challenging target set by the Suns, the Dragons were on track to cruise to victory at 4-264 in the 63rd over and the runs flowing with ease.
However, the quick loss of four wickets for just 21 runs that left the Dragons 8-285 swung the momentum back the way of the Suns.
Yet unlike they have done so often over the past decade, the Suns were unable to land the knockout blow as Shane Robinson (23) and Joel Schneider (12) teamed together to lift the Dragons to victory and enhance Sandhurst’s status as the real deal in 2017-18.
From the precarious 8-285, the Dragons powered to a total of 9-370 and improved to 3-1, with their three scalps all finalists from last season in the Suns, Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk.
The bulked up Dragons’ batting line-up has cracked scores above 350 twice in its past four games, having also made 8-360 against Kangaroo Flat in round two.
Ten of the Dragons’ 11 batsmen scored at least 12, with recruit Sam de Silva leading the way with 86.
De Silva began his innings with the Dragons 1-14 after the early dismissal of Nayana Palamandadige (12) in the sixth over.
De Silva was involved in three stands of 50-plus during his innings – 52 for the third wicket with Todd Murphy (40), 58 for the fourth with skipper Craig Howard (34) and 96 for the fifth with Ash Gray (65).
Gray provided plenty of fireworks, with his 65 coming off just 54 balls and featuring 54 runs scored in sixes (five) and fours (six).
Left-hander Gray began his knock in the 52nd over with the score 168. By the 60th over the Dragons had progressed to 248.
There was also a late flurry of runs for the Dragons during the unbroken partnership of 47 between No.10 Will Keck (40 n.o.) and No.11 Nick Gladman (24 n.o.) as Sandhurst made the highest score against the Suns this century.
Having been wicket-less the first four rounds, Jacob DeAraugo (5-58 off 17) claimed a five-wicket haul for the Suns, including Robinson and Schneider, who he both caught and bowled.
• Kangaroo Flat captain Brent Hamblin took his second BDCA first XI hat-trick to lead the Roos’ rout of Huntly-North Epsom at Dower Park.
In a game where both sides had gone in with 1-2 records, the Power offered little resistance with the bat, capitulating for just 52 in 27 overs in reply to the Roos’ 237.
Hamblin followed up his unbeaten 71 on day one with 5-18 off 12 overs.
Hamblin’s spell included a hat-trick in his 11th over when he dismissed Cameron Moore (0, caught Jake Klemm at gully), Blake Hodgekiss (0, bowled) and Brett Elvey (0, lbw) in consecutive delivers.
Hamblin took a previous hat-trick against Bendigo during the 2013-14 season.
RELATED – HAMBLIN TAKES HAT-TRICK AGAINST BENDIGO
Only Harry Whittle (19) and Sandun Ranathunga (15) made more than six for the Power, who lost wickets with the score on 8, 8, 24, 28, 30, 42, 42, 42, 48 and 52, with their innings over just after 3pm.
“We had probably bowled fairly poorly in the first three rounds, which is something we’d been speaking about during the week,” Hamblin said.
“We really needed to fight with the ball… bowl dots and maidens and that’s what we were able to do to create pressure at both ends.”
The Roos sent the Power back in for a second innings in a bid for outright points and more of the same quickly followed as Huntly-North Epsom slumped to 3-17 in the 11th over.
However, Ranathunga (45 n.o.) and Josh Collinson (77 n.o.) ensured the Roos would have to settle for just first innings points in an unbroken partnership of 129 as the Power reached 3-146.
• Bendigo continued its best start to a season since 2000-01, remaining the only undefeated team following a 49-run win over White Hills.
Starting the day at 2-12 in reply to the Goers’ 231, the Demons were dismissed for 182 as Alex Pearson steered Bendigo to victory.
Pearson enjoyed his best day with the ball for the Goers with a bag of 6-55 off 23.1 overs.
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Among Pearson’s scalps was Demons’ skipper Mitch Winter-Irving, who had scored centuries against Bendigo the previous two seasons, but was caught behind for 13.
Goers’ off-spinner Kyle Humphrys was also influential with the ball, snaring 3-68 off 30 overs to continue his impressive start to the season for his new club.
Jayden Sheean spent 152 balls at the crease in compiling 50 for the Demons, with he and Ben Daley (31) starting the day well for White Hills as they advanced the score from the shaky 2-12 to 75 before Daley was dismissed.
• Golden Square improved to 3-1 with its comfortable win over Strathfieldsaye at home.
Chasing the Jets’ 185, Square resumed at 1-53 and piled on another 204 runs in just 37 overs before declaring at 6-257.
The declaration left Square with a lead of 72 and 48 overs to bowl at the Jets.
Square’s innings featured half-centuries to opener Kyle Chant (87) and night watchman Luke Baird, while captain Ben Gunn (34 off 25) – whose first four scoring shots were all fours – and Zane Keighran (44 off 28) combined for 78 off just 53 balls.
Michael Curtis (3-82 off 14) was the leading wicket-taker for the Jets, who closed the day at 3-99 in their second innings, with opener Greg Lyon finishing unbeaten on 37.
• As detailed HERE, reigning premier Eaglehawk won its first game of the season, smashing 404 in reply to Bendigo United’s 232 at Canterbury Park, with both of last season’s grand finalists now 1-3.
While the game will be best remembered for Jeremy Brown’s sublime 215 that set a new record for Eaglehawk in his ninth century for the club, it overshadowed a fine double from the Redbacks’ Chris Howgate, who produced a century (109) and five-wicket haul (5-75) in the same game.
Eaglehawk’s 404 – which featured 47 fours and 14 sixes – was the BDCA’s first score over 400 in the first XI since Huntly-North Epsom made 4-408 against Sandhurst in round four, 2012-13.
RELATED – JEREMY BROWN SMASHES 215 FOR EAGLEHAWK
Bendigo – 24
Golden Square – 18
Sandhurst – 18
White Hills – 12
Kangaroo Flat – 12
Strathdale-Maristians – 12
Huntly-North Epsom – 6
Eaglehawk – 6
Bendigo United – 6
Strathfieldsaye – 6
• ROUND FIVE
Bendigo United v Golden Square, Huntly-North Epsom v White Hills, Bendigo v Strathdale, Kangaroo Flat v Eaglehawk (QEO), Sandhurst v Strathfieldsaye.