One bad day of cricket was the catalyst for Sydenham-Hillside’s strong form in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association’s north A1 competition.
After a first-up win against Caroline Springs, the Sharks were left disappointed by their performance on day one of their clash with Moonee Valley the next week.
Sharks captain-coach Kane Twentyman said they were comprehensively outplayed – a performance they didn’t want to see again.
“We’ve played one bad day of cricket for the season,” he said. “It cost us against Moonee Valley. They came out to play and were switched on and smashed us on day one.
“I worked with the boys for them to at least come out even on day two, if not win the day. The second day was much better.
“That’s been the level we’ve been at for the rest of the matches.”
The Sharks have since won the rest of their matches and head into the final round before Christmas second on the ladder, behind Moonee Valley.
Twentyman said the team was focused on lifting the bar.
They set a goal to go through November undefeated in the north A1 and T20 competitions and succeeded.
Twentyman said that one poor day early in the season wasn’t far from their minds.
“We are the hunted, having played in the grand final last season,” he said.
“We keep asking them to put the best foot forward in standards, commitments, training and the cause. We’ve asked the boys to step up.”
Twentyman said he was pleased with the start to the season with several new players coming into the mix.
“It takes time to gel,” he said.
“It’s about getting comfortable working out who does what at each time. Who can bat for a long time and who can bowl a long spell.”
He said the two Sri Lankan imports, Shanaka Silva and Kaluwahandi Prasad, had exceeded expectations in their first season at the club.
Silva has taken 12 wickets in the north A1 competition, while Prasad is averaging 60 with the bat.
Ben Luca, who returned to the club this season, has also added batting depth.
The Sharks faced Barkley Street Uniting on Saturday in a one-dayer, which they easily won.
The Sharks made 7-186, before bowling Uniting out for 103.
Caroline Springs also had a good win.
In west A1, Melton Centrals won its first match of the season defeating Flemington, while Melton South Royals were defeated by Grand United.