Footscray has claimed three impressive scalps in consecutive weeks to move up to fifth on the Victorian Premier Cricket ladder.
The Bulldogs have beaten three of last season’s top-five clubs – Northcote, Fitzroy Doncaster and Monash Tigers – in the past three rounds to signal their lofty aspirations this season.
In their first game away from the Merv Hughes Oval this season, Footscray chased down a modest Monash score to win a bowler-dominated game by two wickets at Central Reserve.
Set 184 for victory, the Bulldogs passed the target eight down with 16 balls to spare.
Matthew Underwood top-scored for Footscray with 59 off 92 balls, including six fours and a six. Underwood is consistently producing for the Bulldogs, averaging 35.5 over four digs this summer.
Hayden Butterworth made his best score of the season with 35, while captain Dylan Kight kept up his strong form with 32.
Mitch Barnewall chipped in with a valuable 14 not out late to get the Bulldogs over the line.
Footscray’s victory was set up by its tight bowling, restricting Monash to 9-183 off 50 overs. Opening bowlers Hamish Winter-Irving (2-30 off 10) and Jonah Koch (2-29 off 10) had the Bulldogs in a positive frame of mind from the outset.
Dean Russ not only tied down an end, but snared three wickets to finish with 3-26 off 10.
Russ removed Monash’s top scorer Andrew Chalkley for 42.
Gloveman Kight took three catches behind the stumps, taking his tally to six for the season, which is bettered only by Essendon’s Isaac Conway with a remarkable 11.
Footscray is not out of its tough period of the draw just yet. The Bulldogs will confront last season’s minor premiers Camberwell Magpies at Merv Hughes Oval on Saturday.