Keilor wants to challenge for the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division crown, but on the evidence of Saturday’s play it still has plenty to do.
To be the best, the Blues have to beat the best.
Defending premier and long-time competition powerhouse Yarraville Club remains the yardstick in that regard.
The Blues, sitting healthy in third place on the back of three consecutive wins, went in to the game between the two with enough momentum to suggest they could pose a threat.
But it all turned pear-shaped quickly, Keilor’s top order crumbling spectacularly under the pressure.
The Blues lost their first three wickets for 11, had 46 on the board when they were six down and were at panic stations at 7-77.
Blues senior cricket operations manager Sean McManus was disappointed with the application of his batsmen, particularly the top order.
“That top order needed to dig in a bit,” he said. “Yeah, it was tough going early. They were bowling a good line and bowling pretty sharp, and there might have been a bit in the pitch early. But we needed to bat through the tough period and not lose as many wickets.
“It was disappointing on our home ground not to build a more competitive score.”
Keilor eventually settled on 152 in 54 overs.
Blues captain Kaushal Lokuarachchi salvaged the innings with 56 off 72.
A late 30 not out off 51 balls from Matthew Darvan was another boost for the Blues.
“They were critical runs to build the score to something the bowlers could bowl at,” McManus said. “When you play the top team in the competition, you need to make a bigger score than that.”
Lokuarachchi drew praise for his knock, coming in at No.5 when the wickets were falling around him and steadying the ship.
“It’s as good as I’ve seen him bat recently,” McManus said.
Yarraville Club finished the day on 1-64 off 26 overs. The Blues claimed the early scalp of Johnathon Blake to have the Clubbers 1-4, but their joy was short lived.
“We needed a couple of quick wickets and we got the one real early, but then Yarraville Club batted really well,” McManus said.
“They’re certainly in the box seat.”
In north-west division, St Albans has the upper hand over Sunshine United at Kings Park Reserve. The Saints are 2-18 in response to United’s 113.
Keilor Park has already coughed up first-innings points to Aberfeldie. The Devils were bowled out for just 64 and Abers crept into the lead to finish the day on 7-76.
PEGS was bowled out for just 56 by Craigieburn, which took the lead with 6-61.
In Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association, Taylors Lakes kept its season alive with a 21-run first-innings win over Coburg at Coburg City Oval.
Chasing 130, the Lions made 3-151, on the back of a team-high 77 from opener Michael Brne and 69 to Dilan Chandima, before declaring in a bid to get an outright result.
The Lions made Coburg sweat, having the hosts in trouble at 7-91 before the close of play.
Taylors Lakes will host Kew in a two-day game at Lionheart Reserve starting on Saturday.