By Nick Creely
A flurry of wickets and a storm looming for hours – it certainly wasn’t a day to be a batsman in the DDCA’s top tier on Saturday.
With just one team reaching the 200 mark across the grounds on day one, bowlers certainly had their way, no more so than down at Arch Brown Reserve.
The star-studded BERWICK elected to bat against HEINZ SOUTHERN DISTRICTS, and were immediately greeted by impeccable line and length from Cobra openers Kashuyla Weeraratne (3/65) and Michael ‘Slick’ Davies, who orchestrated the early wickets of Adam Watson (2) and Ryan Williamson (4).
Darren de Souza (21 off 145 balls) and Matt Chasemore (25 from 60) dug deep, putting on 29 runs in almost two hours, before Jackson Philipin (1/18) found the edge of Chasemore’s bat to leave the home side reeling at 3/37.
Despite a solid 25 to Jarrod Armitage, and cameos from skipper Jarrod Goodes (20) and Cory Bevan (24), Davies proved almost unplayable, snaring 6/33 from his 18 overs to roll the Bears for just 146.
And the Cobras are going to need Davies’ experience with the bat next week with James Wilcock (3/3) and Goodes (2/15) then tearing the visitors’ top order to shreds, leaving the Cobras 5/32 at stumps.
Prized batsmen Matt Cox (7 not out), Kaushyla Weeraratne (0 not out) and Davies will all bat for the visitors on day two.
Down at Casey Fields, CRANBOURNE and NORTH DANDENONG are evenly poised, with a tough and tight affair ensuring the clash will go deep into day two.
After Eagles skipper Lucas Ligt elected to bat, openers Cam Kelly (37) and Brandon Tyzzer (21) got the home side off to a strong 59 run start, with the pair playing in form seamers Gayantha Wijethilaka and Mitchel Minhas with ease.
But tweakers Mick De Kauwe (2/29), Asfan Thajudeen (3/38) and veteran David Bell (4/17) – who wound back the clock with a vintage display – got the game on their terms, and changed the game with 46 overs of immense pressure.
Despite Brayden Roscoe (18) holding his own in the middle order, and late cameos to Pardeep Boyal (20) and Jawed Hussaini (16), the Eagles were dismissed for just 150 off 79 pain staking overs.
But the Maroons ended the day in horrific fashion, with Syed Mehmood (0) falling in the only over of the day to Steve Miller to leave the visitors 1/0, still 151 runs short of victory.
BUCKLEY RIDGES were the only team to pile on the runs, with the Bucks slamming on 269 against HALLAM KALORA PARK at Hallam Reserve.
It was all Daniel ‘DJ’ Watson (57) in the early stages, with the champion batsman slamming seven boundaries and three sixes in very little time to give the Bucks the early jump.
But after Hawks bowler Jagveer Hayer (1/32) managed to trap Watson LBW, the home side fought their way back into the contest to take the vital scalps of Suren Ekanayake (25) and Susantha Pradeep (25) to leave the visitors 4/121.
In-form Kiwi recruit Greg Todd (88) steadied the ship superbly to anchor the middle innings, and combined with skipper Troy Aust (36), piled on a 90 run partnership to step back into command.
After threatening a score well above 300 at one stage, Will Whyte (5/67) and Thailvan Xavier (4/75) reeled the visitors back in with a superb spell to bowl them out for 269 in the final over of the day.
DINGLEY suffered a late stumble on day one against NARRE WARREN, but recovered swiftly to be in a commanding position down at Sweeney Reserve.
The Magpies had a bat, and it looked a disastrous decision after Daniel Orchard (3) and Jarrod Russell (5) lost their wickets early to leave the home side 2/13.
Some fight by Chamara Liyanaarachchi (15) and Bevan Radhakrishnan (7) saw the Magpies weather the storm briefly, but the brilliance of Dingoes spinner Dinuk Hettiarchchi (4/41 off 22 overs) saw the visitors skittle them for 139 off 55.2 overs.
Imran Laghmani (43) and Hussain Ali (40) were the only two to find some runs, after at one stage the Magpies looked like they’d score under 100.
The Dingoes were rocked late in the day by the wicket of star opener Matt Hague (0), who feathered a catch through to Magpies keeper Jake Cronin.
Down at Carroll Reserve, ST MARY’S are in the box seat after a dominant opening day against DANDENONG WEST.
After the Saints sent the Westers in to face the music, spin twins Kaushyla Gajasinghe (6/30) and Ruwantha Kellepotha (3/23) played the conditions perfectly, ending the visitors’ innings on just 102 in 72.3 overs.
The Saints are 1/10 at stumps.
In the final match of the day, SPRINGVALE SOUTH and MORDIALLOC are locked in a close battle, after the day came to a premature end due the storms.
The Bloods elected to bat down at Ben Kavanagh Reserve, and despite a swift start to openers Nathan King (20) and Liam Hamilton (10), the visitors lost two consecutive wickets to be 2/30.
Young gun Mitch Forsyth (24) dug deep, and combined with a more forceful knock by Steve Spoljaric (32), put the Bloods into a strong position.
However, with Chathura Athukorala now out of action, the Bloodhounds proved their depth is as deep as any club, with Stuart Squires (2/35), Jakob Woinarski (2/27), Ian Daniel (2/33) and Tim Wighton (1/49) leaving the visitors 7/162.
But lightning strikes, and the storms took over after the 59th over, bringing the day to a premature end.
Luckily for the Bloods, they will get the chance to bat into day two after falling just one ball short of technically playing out a day’s play and therefore an innings (according to DDCA rules), meaning the visitors will look to pile on the runs on day two to snuff out any chance of a victory for the home side.