Bacchus Marsh played a steady game to kick off its Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup season with a win.

The Bulls, who played finals last season, had a composed innings with the bat, before some patience with the ball to seal the win against Woodend.

New captain-coach Ben Robertson, who returned to the club after a season off, said it was a positive way to start the club’s campaign.

“With the batting, we had a plan before we went out there,” he said.

“It was about saving wickets in the first half of the innings, with the mindset to go harder in the second half.

“We put the score on the board and something for our bowlers to bowl at. We thought maybe we were 10-20 runs short, but at the start of the day I would have been happy with 150.”

The Bulls made 4-151. Dennis O’Loughlin top scored on 35 runs.

Woodend started its innings well and looked in control at 1-63.

The loss of three quick wickets turned things in favour of the Bulls. Robertson said they steadied and it worked in their favour.

“We thought it was slipping away from us. We slowed things down and got it back on our terms,” he said.

A second collapse was still to come for Woodend, which lost the last six wickets for 14 runs to be all out for 106.

Jared Taylor and O’Loughlin took three wickets apiece for the Bulls, as they shared the wickets around.

Robertson said it was a real team performance that got the job done.

The new coach said the opportunity to be captain-coach at the club he’s spent plenty of years at was what attracted him to return to cricket after stepping away last year.

Robertson is one of two major recruiting coups for the Bulls, with James Lidgett the other.

Lidgett played premier cricket with Essendon and previously captained Greenvale Kangaroos.

Robertson said Lidgett, who lives in Bacchus Marsh, wanted a year off premier cricket.

“It’s obviously a big coup for the club,” he said. “He’s slotted in nicely and having somebody of his calibre in the field was really good. He was a calm head and someone I can lean on.”

Madushanka Ekanayake, who was the competition’s leading wicket taker last season, has also returned.

Robertson, who said finals was the aim, said there would be improvement from some other players who have come through the ranks.

Meanwhile in other matches, it was a tough start for reigning premiers Gisborne against Diggers Rest Bulla. The Burras made 106 in their innings, with Sumanjan Fernando the only player to really get going making 40.

Adrian Barbour took three wickets for the Dragons. In reply the Dragons were bowled out for just 83.

Nathan Crosland, in his debut for the Burras, took three wickets.

Riddell, Rupertswood and Sunbury were the other winners.