A new season of Premier Cricket for Footscray has begun with a win, and some familiar faces were once again the stars.
The Dogs travelled to play Kingston Hawthorn in an opening round one-dayer on Saturday, and after a clinical display with both ball and bat they took the points back to the kennel.
It was the familiar pairing of Dean Russ and Travis Dean who were the stars of the day, with the long-time teammates combining for an unbroken 193-run stand to guide the Dogs home.
Russ was imperious as he crafted 116 from just 121 balls, and with Dean rattling off 75 of his own they were able to chase down the Hawks’ 7-223 in just 37 overs.
New Footscray coach Allan Wise said the class of Dean and Russ shone through on the day.
“As a coach you love to have those two guys in your side,” Wise said.
“We lost the early wicket and the Hawks had some momentum and were up and about, but Russy just loves batting and he’s in the stage of his career now where he’s at the peak of his powers in regards to his knowledge bag of situations.
“And then obviously Trav is a class act, so the two of them in combination have played a lot of cricket together and once they got through their first 20-30 balls it was going to be hard to remove them.”
Earlier, it was the Footscray bowling group who showed they would be a force this season, restricting the home side to a gettable total on a good wicket.
Strike bowler Jake Reed (2-43) got the early wicket before returning to take a second later in the innings, while his new-ball partner Hamish Winter-Irving (3-56) was impressive once again through the day.
The rest of the attack did their job of keeping things tight and making fast scoring difficult, taking the pace off the ball and forcing the home side to take more risks as the game moved along.
Wise said while it was pleasing to start with a win, his side wanted to make it a habit after a poor previous season
“Our plan is to be able to compete with every other team,” he said.
“Last year was a disappointing year, and you’ve got to accept it and acknowledge it and then put it behind you.
“After some targeted recruiting to strengthen all teams and create pressure for spots, we like to think we can compete hard and make this a winning team.
“It’s about doing the right things for longer, and getting good batting and bowling performances in the same game, so this is a good start on that point.”