If Clayton Holmes is not the most valuable player in the BDCA six rounds into the season, he's certainly the most influential.
The Bendigo United skipper has made a brilliant start to the summer with bat and ball, culminating with a breathtaking 84 off 39 balls in the win over White Hills on Saturday.
The brutality of the innings was like a Grade Six student playing against Grade Three students at school during lunch break.
"Last week I tried to hit one out of the park in the first over which I didn't need to do, so I was trying to be more composed this week,'' Holmes said of his innings.
"It was just a case of seeing the ball and playing each ball on its merits. I was lucky that I got a few away out of the screws.
"You know cricket, it was one of those days. On another day I mightn't have gotten away with it."
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While Holmes was quick to play down the knock, Redbacks' veteran Miggy Podosky said he'd never seen hitting like it in his long career at Harry Trott Oval.
"I was talking with Leigh McDermott on the day and we were lucky enough to play with Matt Pinniger and Heath Behrens and they played some brilliant innings, but they didn't bat like that,'' Podosky said.
"It was awesome to watch. He was in such good form that if the ball was in his zone he was going to go after it.
"He backs himself, so he was always going to take the bowlers on, but he took his game to another level."
Holmes has made 242 runs in six hits and picked up seven wickets with the ball at an economy rate of 3.7.
He's been the key figure behind the Redbacks' 5-1 start to the summer.
"We're sitting well, but that doesn't mean much by the time we play again after Christmas,'' Holmes said.
"I've seen it before where teams rest on what they've done before Christmas and all of a sudden they drop a couple of games and they're back in the pack.
"Our focus, particularly with a young group, is to get the best out of everybody.
"First-up after Christmas we play Strathdale-Maristians (January 8) and I'm looking forward to it.
"They're the benchmark of the competition and, as a competitor, you want to measure yourself against the best teams.
"The young boys are licking their lips to have a crack at them."
Holmes said he was relishing the opportunity to lead the Redbacks' young group.
"I find the younger guys really want to learn and get better,'' Holmes said.
"They're enthusiastic, they want to improve and they want the team to do well.
"Sometimes when you get a young team they worry about their individual performances, but every player in our team has a role to play and they're lapping up that challenge.
"I've got some great people around me in Jake Thrum and Steve Barrett as vice-captains and Miggy (Podosky) as a senior player as well.
"I might have captain next to my name, but it's a team effort and we're really enjoying how it's working for us so far."
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