The scintillating early season form of Dean Russ continued at the weekend, but it was not enough to get Footscray over the line.
Resuming their Premier Cricket clash with Ringwood, the Dogs struggled to build the big partnerships they needed to chase down the runs and they were bowled out with eight balls left in the day.
Russ played a lone hand for much of the day as he posted his second century from the past three games, being the last man dismissed for 117 to give him 360 runs in just five innings this season.
Footscray coach Stan Nell said Russ was playing to a higher standard than most players in the competition.
“You’d go a long way to see a better hundred than that,” Nell said.
“I’ve coached first class cricket, and been with the national set-up, and he’s probably a really good first class cricketer playing premier cricket to be honest.
“Everyone keeps asking me about him and all I can say is ‘what a player’, he’s just been terrific.”
Ringwood resumed its innings on 6-249, and batted just six more overs before declaring on 8-277, giving Footscray 86 overs to chase the runs.
With Victorian opener Travis Dean back in the side to open with 17-year-old debutant Dylan Brasher, it was a new-look top order for the Dogs, but some good bowling from Ringwood made for a slow start before both men fell in quick succession.
Brasher (7), Dean (13) and number three Matt Underwood (3) all fell with just 30 on the board, leaving Russ and captain Dylan Kight to resurrect the innings. Their 73-run partnership gave the home side hope of mounting a successful chase, but when Kight was dismissed for 30 the task became far more difficult.
Jordan Kight (19) and Tallan Wright (15) both made starts but couldn’t convert, and the tail managed to stay with Russ long enough for him to reach triple figures but never realistically threatened chasing down the runs.
It leaves Footscray with just one win from its first six games, but Nell said it wasn’t the time to panic.
“I said to the boys after the game that they should be disappointed, but don’t be disillusioned,” Nell said.
“We bowled really well on day one, and I don’t think there was much more we could have done there, and with the rain during the week we probably got the arse end of the conditions on day two. Looking around the competition not many batting teams won.
“We’ve got some really good young talent coming through, and we’re playing to win and sometimes you’re going to lose games.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of St Kilda this week.”
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