Altona refused to wilt in the Saturday heat.
The A’s were cool, calm and collected as temperatures soared into the high 30s, patiently negotiating their way to a competitive 253 off 77.2 overs against Taylors Lakes in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association at Lionheart Reserve.
A’s captain Adam Yates said it was a good coin toss for his side to win, allowing them to bat first and take full advantage of the conditions.
“It was very hot, so it was tough work for both teams,” he said. “We really worked hard on setting up a platform.
“We spoke before the game about being no more than two down [at the tea break].
“That’s been an issue for us, we’ve been four or five down and we can’t really accelerate after tea. It was the really big focus.”
Altona has set Taylors Lakes a massive task on day two this Saturday.
Taylors Lakes has not scored more than 200 since November and only once have they scored over 250 this summer.
It will be a mammoth task for the bottom-of-the-ladder side.
Leading the way at the crease for Altona was Yates himself. The skipper continued his strong form with 82 off 121 balls.
Since the Christmas break, Yates has raised the bat for three consecutive half centuries. He passed 500 runs for the season and is averaging 51.2.
Yates puts his big summer down to re-focusing on his role in the team.
“Not coaching this year has freed me up a bit to focus on my own game,” he said.
“Fingers crossed it can keep going.”
Greg Sheehan featured in a 123-run third wicket partnership with Yates. Sheehan exuded that patience with 55 off 130 balls.
“He just played good cricket shots,” Yates said. “They bowled a lot of spin and he used his feet pretty well and hit through the leg side well.”
Daniel Mackenzie (30) and Prateek Krishna (21) provided some handy runs.
While finals have almost certainly passed Altona by, it still has plenty to achieve in the last few rounds.
The A’s have blooded three youngsters in the past two rounds, but Yates was adamant player development will not come at the expense of victories.
“It’s about the development of our kids and playing some good cricket,” Yates said.
“The reason you play cricket is to win games and hopefully we finish with a couple of good wins.”
Meanwhile, Yarraville will need to work hard to defend the 8-213 it posted against Melton at McPherson Park. Aidan Salvado produced his top score of the summer with 91.
Brenton Hodges made 75, but Williamstown still struggled to post a competitive score as it was all out for 178 against Ormond at
E.E. Gunn Reserve. Ormond survived five overs before stumps to be 0-8.
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