JUST pleased to be playing his role in the side is how the Bendigo District Cricket Association's leading run-scorer describes his first four rounds of the season.
Strathdale-Maristians' James Barri is the form batsman of the competition with 305 runs at an average of 76.2.
While happy with the way he has started his season, more importantly for Barri is how the Suns have performed.
Through four rounds the Suns are the only undefeated team in the BDCA and in their familiar position at the top of the ladder.
No.4 batsman Barri has been integral to the Suns' flying start, with his stellar form rewarded last Saturday when he scored his maiden first XI century in his side's win over Huntly North at Bell Oval.
"I just go out and play cricket every week and for me, team success is first and anything else beyond that is a bonus," Barri said this week.
"It was good to get my first ton last weekend, but the most important thing is the team got the win... I just played my role."
MAIDEN TON SCORED UNDER PRESSURE
Barri produced his innings of 109 having started it at a time when the Suns were under pressure.
Chasing Huntly North's 263, the Power had resumed day two at 1-43.
That quickly became 2-43 when Daniel Clohesy was dismissed second ball of the day, bringing Barri to the crease.
Soon after the Suns were 3-51 when Grant Waldron was caught and bowled by Sandun Ranathunga and the pressure was on the home side.
But Barri remained cool and calm and with his 109 the backbone of the innings, the Suns turned what had been their precarious 3-51 into a final score of 9-368 - the BDCA's highest since December of 2019.
"It frees you up to play your shots when you've got the depth we have in both our batting and bowling line-ups," Barri said.
"Myself and Jack (Neylon) knuckled down for a while to start to build the innings back up and then knowing you've still got the likes of James Vlaeminck, Ben DeAraugo and Sam Johnston to come allows you to play your shots a bit more."
Barri spent 194 balls at the crease and struck 12 boundaries and one six, while he brought up his ton with a shot through cover for two.
The 20-year-old's 109 followed on from scores of 90 (v Golden Square), 80 v (Eaglehawk) and 26 (v Bendigo United) in the first three rounds.
BUILDING ON LAST SEASON
Barri's hot start to 2023-24 continues on from what was his breakout season last year when he made 441 runs and earned his first Melbourne Country Week selection for the BDCA.
"I went to every pre-season we had, whereas last year our pre-season was interrupted quite a bit by the weather and we were limited in what we could do," Barri said.
"We got most sessions in this year, so it was good to be able to put that work in going into the season.
"As a team, it's a good feeling being 4-0, but we're just taking it a week at a time and, hopefully, we can continue winning."
Clearly, it has been a seamless adjustment back to the two-day format for Barri following three seasons of the BDCA playing all one-day games.
The return to the two-day format has given Barri - and all the other top-order batsmen in the competition - the opportunity to build into their innings and spend extended time at the crease.
Barri has faced 487 balls already this season for his 305 runs.
Such is the batting power at the Suns, following Barri's 109 Strathdale-Maristians' team of last round that beat the Power had seven players in it who all now have BDCA first XI centuries - captain Cameron Taylor (11), Ben DeAraugo (5), Grant Waldron (4), Jack Neylon (4), Daniel Clohesy (2), James Vlaeminck and Barri (1).
And that number would have been eight had Sam Johnston scored just one more run the day he was dismissed for 99 against Kangaroo Flat in round 13 of the 2017-18 season.
Barri's scintillating form with the bat recently earned him a call-up for the BDCA's new Goulburn Valley Bush Bash League franchise - the Sporties Spitfires.
Barri made 10 while also taking 2-41 with the ball as the Spitfires beat the Hurley Hotel Hounds in their season-opener at Dower Park on November 19.
The Spitfires' next game is against the SRP Mud Dogs at Shepparton's Deakin Reserve from 2pm on Sunday, December 10.
Strathdale-Maristians takes on White Hills at Bell Oval in round five of the BDCA season starting this Saturday.