A maiden century from captain Leigh Sheridan has guided Sunshine United to a strong position after day one of its clash with Keilor.
The Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division rivals faced off in a crucial game in the context of both their seasons, and it was United who ended the day ahead – batting out their 80 overs to finish on 6-298 at stumps.
Sheridan was the star of the day, coming in after the loss of in-form opener Neeten Chouhan and batting for more than four hours to finish on 117 not out.
After a long career at the club, Sheridan said it meant a lot to finally raise his bat in the seniors.
“It was a great feeling,” he said.
“I’ve played senior cricket for a long time now, got close a few times with some 90s not out and ran out of time, so it means the world to me.
“I’ve played for Sunshine United my whole life, almost 15 years of seniors, so to finally get one is a great feeling. The boys were rapt for me, and we’re a pretty tight unit so it was great to share that with them.”
After winning the toss and batting first, United got off to a strong start as Chouhan and fellow opener Scott Dalrymple looked solid.
The pair put on 38 before Chouhan was bowled by Shafraz Mohamed for 21, bringing Sheridan to the crease.
United would make it through to tea for the loss of just the one wicket, as both Sheridan and Dalrymple played themselves in. Their 87-run stand set a strong platform for the rest of the order.
Ehen Dalrymple’s patient 144 ball knock came to an end on 56, then the run rate started to climb.
Ladd John made 19 off 20 balls. When he was trapped in front by Kaushal Lokuarachchi it brought Sangaran Nandhalal to the crease to turn the game firmly in United’s favour.
Nandhalal hit 58 off 57 balls, and his 114-run partnership with his captain set the visitors on the path to a strong total.
Sheridan raised his ton late in the day, and while Mohamed toiled hard for 32 overs to snare 3-89, the day belonged to the batsmen.
However, Sheridan said the job was far from done, with a win this week crucial in the context of United’s season.
“We’ve definitely got to bowl well,” he said.
“They [Keilor] can definitely chase it down if we don’t bowl well, so the game is not won, but with 300 on the board we can go in with some confidence we can get the job done.
“If we win we go 2-2 and Keilor are 0-4, and the difference of being 2-2 at this stage of the year is the difference between being up in the top four or fighting it out at the bottom.
“ It’s a massive game for us.”
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