Bendigo cricketers made a bright start to the Victorian Premier Cricket season on the weekend.
In the men's competition, former White Hills wicket-keeper/bstamsn Brayden Stepien blasted a half-century for Carlton, while the highlight of the women's competition was Tayla Vlaeminck's four wickets for Plenty Valley.
After a breakthrough season at first XI level last summer, Stepien made a fine start on Saturday with 57 off 70 balls in Carlton's first-up win over Footscray-Edgewater.
Stepien opened the batting and hit seven boundaries. Strathfieldsaye's Xavier Crone came in late in the Blues’ innings and blasted a six in his quickfire 10 not out.
Crone took the new ball for the Blues and finished with figures of 0-26 off eight overs.
Sandhurst premiership player Todd Murphy made his first XI debut for St Kilda and made eight not out in the Saints' three-run win over Prahran.
Huntly-North Epsom's Ryan Hartley made two not out for Prahran and took two catches behind the stumps.
Bendigo's James Seymour and Sandhurst duo Liam Bowe and Isaac Conway played first XI in Essendon's loss to Fitzroy-Doncaster.
Seymour opened the batting and made 42, while Bowe had figures of 2-51 off 10 overs. Conway took two catches behind the stumps and made two with the bat.
In lower grades, Bendigo United teenager Bradman Constable made eight on debut for Greenvale’s second XI.
Bendigo’s James Ryan compiled 16 in Essendon second XI’s win over Fitzroy-Doncaster, while Strathdale’s Andrew Chalkley made a duck for Monash Tigers.
Bendigo’s Sam Brewin wasn’t required to bat in Melbourne’s 10-wicket win over Geelong.
In the third XI, Bendigo’s Xavier Ryan made seven with the bat and took three catches in Essendon’s one-wicket victory.
In round one of women's Premier Cricket, Plenty Valley had three Bendigo players in its thrilling seven-run win over Essendon Maribyrnong Park.
After being part of the Australian women's T20 squad last week, Tayla Vlaeminck returned to action with a match-winning performance.
The opening bowler took 4-23, including the key wickets of Essendon's star trio Elyse Villani, Molly Strano and Georgia Wareham. Essendon was dimissed for 120 after Plenty Valley made 127. Kangaroo Flat's Jasmine Nevins made 12 not out for Plenty Valley, while White Hills' Letesha Bawden made two.
In round two of Premier Cricket action, the men play one-day games on Saturday, while the women play one-day matches on Sunday.