A coming of age knock from Matthew Underwood and a disciplined team bowling performance delivered Footscray its fourth win of the Premier Cricket season at the weekend, comfortably accounting for Camberwell.
Underwood negotiated a damp wicket early in the day before flourishing late to score 81 off 115 balls as the Dogs posted 5-238, before rolling last season’s minor premiers for just 134.
Footscray coach Steve Chapman said Underwood’s knock was one of his best.
“He’s in a different class now, he’s turned himself into a fine young batsman,” Chapman said. “He’s always had the talent, but his shot selection is much better now, and the number of shots he has available has grown.
“I think he’s just turned 20 and has probably 40 Premier First XI games under his belt so he’s got a good base to grow from.
“He’s in the Victorian Futures League squad so he is getting noticed at a higher level.”
After losing Hayden Butterworth for just two early in their innings, the Dogs consolidated well and built healthy partnerships through the rest of the innings. Greg Munro posted 40 before he was stumped, and Dean Russ (51 off 66 balls) upped the scoring rate when he joined Underwood.
With the ball it was a solid team performance, with the top order of the Magpies struggling to capitalise on starts. Camberwell number 11 Will Walker was the top scorer with a late 23, but by then the game had passed the visitors by.
Wickets were evenly spread, with Timothy Buszard (3-38), Hamish Winter-Irving (2-26), Lucas Dredge (2-27) and Jack Sheppard (2-18) all playing their part.
“We thought 230-odd was a good score on that deck, and when we kept it tight early with the ball it forced Camberwell to come at us,” Chapman said.
“We’re at our best when that happens and oppositions have to force the pace, so that played into our hands a bit.”
Footscray will now travel to play unbeaten ladder leaders Ringwood this Sunday, with Chapman excited about the possibilities and challenges ahead.
“I said to the lads after the game that we’ve almost got a free swing at Ringwood this week,” he said.
“You look at the teams that you think will be in the eight, and we’ve already got a few wins against those teams so we can go to Ringwood with a bit of momentum and really go hard at them.
“We’re a good team in our own right, and we gave them [Ringwood] a good shake last year so we go over there with some confidence and belief this week.”