Footscray has continued on its winning way in Premier Cricket, notching up its fifth straight victory with a well-paced chase against Ringwood on Sunday.
Ringwood came into the round as the only unbeaten side, so the game shaped as a tough test for the Dogs.
But while they struggled to take wickets, their batsmen stood up to grab the win with seven balls to spare.
With Ringwood forced to play its home games at Bayswater Reserve while its ground is being redeveloped, it was a different environment for both sides, but Rams openers, Ian Holland and David King, made themselves at home at the crease.
The Ringwood stars threatened to bat the Dogs out of the game with twin centuries, their 210-run stand coming to an end when Hamish Winter-Irving (1-37) broke through Holland’s defences when he was 106. King was bowled soon after for 102.
But while it took the Dogs most of the innings to get the breakthroughs, coach Steve Chapman said he wasn’t unhappy with the final Ringwood score of 2-240.
“Those two lads are probably in the top half dozen players in the competition, and we probably kept them to 90 runs off the first 30 overs,” Chapman said.
“It makes it hard to strangle them when you don’t get a wicket, but I think they would have liked 15 to 20 more runs, so we were reasonably happy with how we bowled and fielded.”
In reply, Footscray’s openers set the tone for the innings with a run a ball 34-run stand before Greg Munro (25) departed. From there, the Dogs were able to maintain the required run rate throughout the rest of the innings. The top six Dogs batsmen all got starts, but it was Matthew Underwood (37), Dean Russ (56) and skipper Dylan Kight (68) who did the bulk of the damage as the Dogs completed the chase in the penultimate over to finish on 6-241.
With strong momentum building at the Kennel, Chapman said it was important to keep level heads ahead of a run of four T20 matches.
“I don’t think we would have chased down that a year ago,” he said.
“We’ve got some good sides coming up in the T20s, so we’re not looking too far ahead. I think St Kilda this week will have all their Test players in – [Bob] Quiney, [Peter] Handscomb, [Michael] Beer – so we’ll have to be right on our game.”