Plenty Valley may have knocked off the second and third teams in the past two rounds, but the hard work is only just beginning for the Bats.
With three Victorian Sub-district Cricket Association north-south round to go, the Bats sit a game clear on top of the ladder, but coach Matthew Hewat says it’s anything but a one team race.
“We don’t underestimate any of the top six and know anyone on their day can win it,” he said.
“There’s a lot of pressure … for us, getting home finals is important.
“That has been a real focus – to get them out here to play us. There are still three games to go, so it’s not done yet.”
Hewat said one of the main focuses was making sure everyone contributed.
“I’m happy with the depth in the side – we can bat from one down to nine with Simon Black,” he said. “Anyone is a matchwinner on their day.
“What we’re looking for is contributions across the board.
“We don’t want the players getting comfortable and thinking that someone else will do the job.”
Hewat would have liked what he saw on Saturday against Caulfield.
Chasing Caulfield’s 202, made on day one, the Bats made the runs with ease, reaching the target with four wickets and 20 overs to spare.
Stephen Tsonas top scored with 59 as most of the top order got starts.
“Certainly, [it was] a good win against a quality side,” Hewat said. “We were trying to put the focus on their bowling and attack in the first session.
“We got contributions from a few batsmen, which is what we wanted after a so-so batting performance last round.”
A new opening batting combination made its debut for the Bats, with James Taylor combining with new recruit James Seymour and star allrounder Sean Ayres batting down the order for a second straight match.
Seymour, a former Victorian Premier cricketer, joined the Bats mid-season after returning from Tasmania.
“James [Seymour] will be an important pick up for us,” Hewat said. “We had a few connections and knew he was coming back from Tasmania.
“With James Taylor getting a few runs, it’s likely we’ll stick with the same set-up at the top of the order.
“Having someone of Sean’s calibre coming in at eight is always dangerous. He’s happy to play the team role and he can have an impact in any position.”
Meanwhile, the Bats’ under-15 side fell agonisingly short of a grand final appearance in the Craig Shield.
The Bats won all their pool matches and finished on top of the north group.
They easily accounted for Altona in the qualifying finals to set up a semi-final against Balwyn.
The semi-final ended in tie, with both teams bowled out for 100. Balwyn, which was also undefeated, progressed to the grand final due to a higher percentage.
The Bats’ Tommy Cuthbert was named the north group’s player of the tournament.