A Meagan Ciavarella hat-trick and an unbeaten 46 from Alexandra Price weren’t enough to get Plenty Valley across the line against Dandenong in Victorian Premier Cricket.

With the competition returning to the 50-over format, Plenty Valley bowled well, restricting Dandenong to 122 after its explosive start with the bat produced more than a run a ball in the first five overs.

Ciavarella was the best of the bowlers, taking 4-17.

However the Bats good form stopped there – they struggled at the crease and were in trouble at 7-82. Price gave the Bats some hope with a top score of 46no, but the team fell 10 runs short of victory – all out for 113.

The Bats have won four matches this season, the same tally as last season.

Speaking before the game, coach Kim Littlejohn said he was hoping to finish the season on a high.

“It would be nice to have a little success and something to show for the hard work they’ve put in,” he said. “We’ve pushed a lot of the top teams in both formats, and we are a better team than one that wins three or four games.

“If we could get a couple of wins in the last couple of games, it would be good.”

Littlejohn said the next step for the side was to add a bit more consistency week on week.

“The confidence is good and there’s a realisation we can play cricket and be competitive,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves in positions to win another three games, but didn’t execute plans. We’ve worked hard.”

Littlejohn said the likes of Tegan Brett and Rhiann O’Donnell were starting to find their feet at this level.

“Tegan played a handful of games. Since coming back from the pathways program, she has really contributed, despite it not showing on the scoreboard. Rhiann is another.”

Littlejohn said the efforts of other Bats’ sides was also pleasing. The club’s premier reserves had a good win on Saturday against Dandenong.

“We’ve had three young kids from Northern Rivers area come down, and they’ve been a real find in the second XI.

“The average age of that team is 15 … it would be nice to have a bit more depth, but we’re building a core group, which will all come through in the next two to three seasons.”

The Bats’ thirds, which play in Cricket Victoria Women’s Community Cricket north west competition, are set for finals, Littlejohn saying it’s been a long time since they did that.

Littlejohn said the side would look to add a couple more experienced players to the group next year to help provide leadership.