The grand final rematch between Boisdale-Briagolong and Bundalaguah saw the Bulls secure the points in the opening round of Sale-Maffra Cricket Association, largely because of a strong top order batting display.
Winning the toss, the Saints elected to bat first and built a few small partnerships as the innings progressed. Jonathan Beech made 26 opening the batting, while Todd Mann scored 27 after gaining a promotion to bat at number four. Mann's usual no-nonsense approach to batting was on display as he cracked three fours and a six during his 23 ball stay.
Down the order, Liam Hurst and Jonathan Outhard contributed with knocks of 26 and 32 respectively, to see Boisdale-Briagolong close at 7-151 after their allotted overs.
The Saints would have felt confident they had a competitive score on the board, but Bundalaguah was able to get home with relative ease, passing the required total with seven overs to spare.
Jason Langshaw and Nathan Hibbins put on 75 for the opening wicket, with Langshaw's 25 setting a good platform. Hibbins was able to go on with the job, and scored at virtually a run-a-ball, with 82 from 90 balls.
Hibbins provided some highlights with three towering sixes, to see Bundalaguah win by seven wickets. Shaun May was the best performing bowler for Boisdale-Briagolong, taking 2-23.
It was hit-out-or-get-out at College Oval, as Collegians and Longford batsman sent the ball to all parts of the ground during an entertaining match.
Both teams scored at more than six runs an over, as more than 500 runs were scored on a pitch that appeared to be more concrete than turf.
Longford gave Collegians the opportunity to bat first and may have been regretting the decision as Collegians cruised to 1-118.
Stand-in captain Matt Foster scored 27 opening the batting, and looked good before falling leg before wicket. Foster and Adrian Burgiel put on 110 for the second wicket, with Burgiel completely bullying the Longford attack as the match went on.
In his first game for his new club, Burgiel whacked 129, with 16 fours and three sixes thrown in for good measure.
Nick Grainger and Isaac Love joined the party, chipping in with scores of 32 and 28. Collegians eventually closed at 8-303, with Andrew Tyson (3-41) and Seth Westley (2-55) the best bowlers for Longford.
Starring down the barrel of a heavy defeat, the Lizards ended up making a good fist of the run chase, and showed they will be a much improved team from last season. Longford ended up scoring over 200, with Richard Bell scoring a fine 82 batting at first drop. Maculley Lawrenson made 27 in his first game for Longford after transferring from Heyfield, while Sam Smith made 25, as did pool shark Ash Vogt. Youngster Charlie Morrison took 3-31 for Collegians, and was his side's best with the ball.
MAFFRA and Rosedale-Kilmany played out a competitive match, with the Eagles getting home by 39 runs. Batting first, Maffra kept wickets in hand and made 3-227 from their allotted overs. Maffra captain Josh Davis led from the front, scoring an unbeaten century to put his team in the drivers seat. Jack Egan also contributed runs, remaining unbeaten on 54, along with Brett Lanigan, who made 32.
In reply, the Warriors finished at 7-188, with just one non-conversion from a batsman in the top six proving costly. Michael Walters top scored with 72, whilst three other players frustratingly fell to scores in the 20s. Rohan Diamond (24), Hayden Glover (25) and Brad Scott (24) were all made to rue what might have been.
David Griffiths (3-35) and Josh Beaumont (2-13) were the pick of the bowlers for Maffra.
A DIABOLICAL performance with the bat from Stratford saw it shot out for just 81 against Sale.
After bowling the Swans out for 149, the Redbacks collapsed spectacularly to see the game conclude with 11 overs to spare. Sale batsman Rohan Blandford (25), Nathan Massey (33) and Brad Jones (33) did the bulk of the scoring for Sale, as Stratford captain Jack Rietschel proved to be the main threat with the ball, taking 3-35. Others to chip in with wickets were Bohdi Walker (2-37) and Dylan Bolton (2-32).
A disciplined bowling and fielding attack from Sale ensured the Swans got the job done. Sale only recorded one extra against its name, as all five bowlers used got wickets. Brad Jones took 3-17, and Ben Howes was deadly, delivering eight overs, three maidens and grabbing 2-16. Spinner and new recruit Daniel Croft also picked up 2-14.
Lewis Bolton was the only Stratford player to make a mark on the scorebook with 24.