Darley kicked off the Ballarat Cricket Association season with a win against last season’s premiers East Ballarat.

After a long pre-season, the Lions were delighted with their season start.

The Lions were on fire and were able to restrict East Ballarat to just 123.

After a slow start with the bat, the Lions made the runs, finishing 5-125.

New Lions coach Brian Wheelahan was thrilled.

“I thought that we had prepared really well,” he said.

“We had a few players out, but our motto was just make it with what we have.

“To stand up against a quality side and to get the win, it gives us confidence for the rest of the season.”

It was three recruits that stood out with the ball. Madushanka Ekanayaka, Rahmatullah Khwaja and Harry Killoran all took three wickets each to put East Ballarat under pressure.

Wheelahan said all three had really brought into what they were trying to do and did what they needed to in spades.

Wheelahan said there were some nervous moments with the bat.

“They are a quality side and we were under the pump, at three for not many.

“Harry and Brad [Barnes] put on a terrific partnership. They were really disciplined and mature.

“It was sort of like a finals atmosphere.”

Killoran and Barnes both made 35.


Madushanka Ekanayaka. Picture Luke Hemer

PHOTO GALLERY: Darley vs East Ballarat 

Wheelahan said the performance from Barnes was an example of why the club had made him captain this season.

“Brad has been fantastic,” he said.

“He’s been around the club for a number of years and is still learning.

“That responsibility of being captain can see him take his game to the next level.

“It was really mature the way he batted with patience and he didn’t want to leave it to anyone else.

“He took a top order wicket as well.”

The Lions were without three key players in the win.

International Danza Hyatt will be in town in time for round three.

Wicketkeeper Anthony Taylor and opening bowler Ben Longhurst both missed through injury.

Taylor will be a chance to make his debut for the club if he gets through training this week, while Longhurst is set to miss three to four weeks with a calf injury.

Wheelahan said with the depth they had, the playing group was making it hard to select their team.

“There were three or four players in the seconds that were pretty stiff not to be playing ones this week.”

The Lions seconds also had a good win, beating Wendouree by four wickets.

The top side this week faces Mt Clear in a one-dayer.