No Craig Howard, no Taylor Beard – no worries for BDCA reigning premier Sandhurst.
Despite missing two of ther star players, the Dragons landed the first blow against their potential premiership contender when they won by three runs in a thrilling round one clash at North Bendigo.
Sandhurst appeared to have the points in the bag when Bendigo slumped to 9-158 in reply to the Dragons’ total of 199.
Bendigo tailenders Jack Belsar and Kane Goldsworthy had other ideas.
The duo dug in and gave the Goers a sniff of victory when they required 12 runs off the final 12 balls.
Sandhurst young gun Nick Gladman produced a fine penultimate over. The quick only conceded one run, leaving Bendigo requiring 11 runs off the final over.
Will Keck kept his nerve for Sandhurst and the game came down to Goldsworthy needing a six off the final ball to win the game.
All he could manage was two runs to long-off and the Dragons celebrated a three-run win.
Earlier in the day, Sandhurst’s Sri Lankan recruit Shasheen Fernando showed his class with a well-compiled 46 off 79 balls to lead the Dragons to 199.
A quickfire 31 off 24 balls by Ash Gray and 26 off 37 balls by new opener Joel Murphy were the other highlights for the Dragons.
Bendigo leg-spinner Tom Hart had figures of 4-48 off five overs.
Five of Bendigo’s top six batsmen reached double-figures, but none could go and post a big score.
Alex Pearson threatened to take the game away from Sandhurst when he blasted 49 off 56 balls, including three sixes.
Skipper Nathan Fitzpatrick made 32 in his first game back with the club.
Spinner Sam Sperling (3-33 off nine overs) was Sandhurst’s best bowler.
The Dragons and Goers play each other again in round two.
White Hills started the season with a strong win over Bendigo United at Harry Trott Oval.
The Demons recovered from a horror start with the bat to post 221 off their 45 overs.
At 3-13 a score of 200-plus looked out of the quation, but skipper Mitch Winter-Irving changed the momentum of the game with a powerful 48 off 38 balls before he was well caught by Mark Di Fede.
His wicket sparked a middle-order collapse and the Redbacks were on top.
Teenager Ben Daley and Rhys Irwin produced the best partnership of the match. They added 65 for the seventh wicket before Daley fell for 41.
Irwin (42) and Jayden Sheean (34 not out) kept the momentum going and from 6-85 the Demons did a great job to finish 221 all out.
Miggy Podosky (4-41) was the standout bowler for the Redbacks.
The Redbacks made a brisk start to the run chase, but they lost wickets at regular intervals which stalled their momentum.
Tyson Templeton belted four sixes in his score of 32.
Irwin (3-28), Sheean (3-18) and Winter-Irving (2-33) capped fine all-round games for White Hills.
Strathdale-Marisitans scored a convincing win oer Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park.
The Suns’ bowlers set up the win when they dismissed the Borough for 140 in just 34.2 overs.
Leg-spinner Cam Taylor did the biul of the damage with 4-43 off eight overs. His spin partner James Vlaeminck chipped in with two wickets.
Eaglehawk skipper Cory Jacobs (58 off 77 balls) was the only Borough batsman to make more than 15.
In reply, Vlaeminck set the tone for the Suns with a quick 33 runs off 44 balls.
New Eaglehawk leg-spinner Russell Stockdale (2-32) and Jacobs put the clamps on the Suns through the middle over before Jack Neylon and Taylor ensured the visitors would cruise to victory with an unbeaten partnership of 73.
Taylor batted through the innings for 26 off 105 balls, while Neylon smashed four sixes and three fours in his 47 runs off 51 balls.
Strathfieldsaye caused the biggest upset of the round when it belted Kangaroo Flat at Dower Park.
The Jets’ Sri Lankan imports Savith Priyan and Chathura Damith showed they’ll be a force to be reckoned with, while Pat Felmingham produced a trademark innings at the top of the order.
Priyan and Damith’s bowling set up the Jets’ win.
From 0-51 the Roos fell to 9-130 off 45 overs.
Damith took 2-18 off nine overs and spinner Priyan claimed 2-23 off nine overs.
Leg-spinner Andrew Stove (2-21) picked up the key wicket of Dylan Gibson.
The Jets only needed 21.1 overs to secure victory thanks to Flemingham and Damith.
Flemingham got the ball rolling with a blistering 74 off 57 balls, including 12 fours. Damith finished the job with an unbeaten 43 off just 28 balls.
In the final game of the round, a brilliant Tim Wood century lifted Golden Square to an impressive eight-wicket win over Huntly-North Epsom.
The Bulldogs restricted the Power to 9-173 off 45 overs before Wood belted 110 to ensure Square coasted to victory.
Wood opened the batting with Jake Higgins (30) and the duo added 121 for the first wicket. Wood hit five sixes and nine fours in his sparkling knock.
Ben Gunn (20 not out) and Scott Woodman (six not out) were at the crease when the Dogs passed the total in the 34th over.
Earlier, Scott Trollope (3-17) and Luke Baird (1-19) were the pick of Square’s bowlers. First gamer Corey Van Aken claimed the prized wicket of Adam Ward for a duck in his first over.
Power skipper Elliott Massina (45) and recruit D.S. Wijemanna (67) added 115 for the third wicket.