Footscray has completed its one-day block of games to start the Victorian Premier Cricket in a strong position on the ladder.
The Bulldogs extracted 11 points out of their four tough one-day matches to hold down sixth spot.
The Allan Wise-coached Bulldogs undoubtedly rode their luck in the first part of a double header last weekend.
Footscray claimed an unlikely draw from a rain-interrupted match against Prahran at Merv Hughes Oval.
Chasing 251 for victory, the Bulldogs survived to finish on 6-68, enough to snatch a draw.
When a third rain delay reduced the chase to less than 25 overs, it gave the Bulldogs the option to bat the game out for a draw, which they gleefully took.
Earlier in the innings, the Bulldogs did try to go for the target, but with every rain delay came even tougher revised totals under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Eventually, it was decided by the Bulldogs to bat out the match for a draw.
“The Duckworth-Lewis system definitely worked against us being the team batting second,” Bulldogs captain Dylan Kight said.
“Being given unrealistic targets, we were best suited to try and just bat out the last few overs to get two points.
“Realistically, the weather cost them [Prahran] the win because they were all over us, but they took it well.”
On Sunday, Footscray left nothing to chance.
The Bulldogs compiled a confident 8-270 off their 50 overs to be in the box seat at the halfway mark against Frankston Peninsula.
Dan Sartori, one of the Bulldogs big name recruits in the off season, produced his best game in the red, white and blue so far.
The opener smashed 72 off 90 balls, including nine fours and a six, to lay the platform for a big Bulldogs score.
Sartori had endured a sluggish start to the year with scores of 16, seven and nine, but this could be a turning point for him just in time for a block of two-day games in the run-in to Christmas.
“Dan’s been champing at the bit to get amonst the runs,” Kight said. “He’s made something like 6000 Premier runs, so we knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when.
“Today he chanced his arm a bit and it came off for him.
“He just took the game on and was the reason why we were in a good position at the drinks break, that’s for sure.”
With veteran Dean Russ removed for a rare duck, Footscray was desperate for others in the top order to shine.
Travis Dean (28), Matt Underwood (42) and Kight (27) chipped in with valuable runs.
The player with the most impact was James Muirhead, who produced an exhilarating 63 off 50 balls, including three fours and three sixes.
“He worked really hard on his batting the last few years in the Cricket Victoria system,” Kight said.
“He was hitting them cleaner than anyone.
“He hit it straight over the bowlers head a few times.
“He just backed himself.”
Footscray was confident that 270 would be a match-winning score, but also wary of the threat Frankston Peninsula possesses.
The home side chased down scores of 238 and 272 in their two previous wins, so it was not a fait accompli for the Bulldogs.
“We knew it was game on, but we came out and bowled well,” Kight said.
“We didn’t get the early breakthrough, but we just restricted them.
“They put on a few good partnerships, but we never let the run rate get too high.”
Peninsula finished with 218.
Left arm medium pacer Tallan Wright was superb for Footscray with 4-42 off 10 overs, including the wicket of Frankston Peninsula top scorer Felix Organ.
Left arm spinner Siddhesh Dixit had an impact with 3-49 off 10.
Dixit took a wicket with his first ball on consecutive days.
Footscray will face one of the toughest challenges in Victorian cricket when it visits the Junction Oval to take on St Kilda in a two-day game starting on Saturday.
“It’s as big as it gets in Victorian cricket,” Kight said. “I think I’ve been a part of one win at Junction Oval in seven or eight attempts and it wasn’t against St Kilda.”