Footscray is proving a tough nut to crack in the Victorian Premier Cricket this season.
The Bulldogs can hurt you in all manner of ways with the bat in hand.
The Allan Wise-coached Bulldogs showed the depth of their batting line-up in compiling 9-305 declared on day one of its two-day clash with Northcote at Merv Hughes Oval on Saturday.
“We’ve been pretty consistent all year with the bat, but it’s sort of been dominated by our top four,” Bulldogs captain Dylan Kight said.
“We went a different way about it [against Northcote], but still got the result that we were hoping for at the start of the day.
“Our top order has been very good and dominant to start the season, but being part and parcel of cricket, you can’t expect that week in, week out.
“We still had Matt [Underwood] and Trav [Dean] contribute really well and get us off to a good start, but when we were in that middle period at around 4-150, it could’ve gone either way.
“For our middle order and our all-rounders to chip in and get us to 300 was good.”
Footscray found the going tough early.
The Bulldogs struggled to score freely, but Underwood (48) and Dean (63) battled it out to get their side on top with an 83-run second wicket partnership.
“Northcote bowled really well and we definitely had to work hard,” Kight said.
“It took a long while for us to get the scoreboard moving.
“We just had to be patient and wait for the loose balls to come. The runs sort of just came quickly at the back end of the day.”
Kight played a crucial role in getting the Footscray score ticking over.
The wicketkeeper-batsman produced a captain’s knock with 70 off 127 balls.
He admits the conditions were more favourable when he arrived at the crease, but he was good enough to capitalise.
“It definitely flattened out and got easier as the day went on,” Kight said.
When Kight went out, Footscray was hovering around 270, what they felt was a par score.
It took a whirlwind knock from Hamish Winter-Irving to get the Bulldogs over 300 and with their noses in front in the game.
Winter-Irving entertained en route to 56 of 89 balls.
It is a luxury for the Bulldogs to have such a clean striker of the ball in Winter-Irving coming in at No. 8.
“Hamish is capable of batting a lot higher,” Kight said. “He wouldn’t be out of place at No. 6 in most Premier teams.
“It’s just the fact with our order this year and how it’s setting up with him being one of two all-rounders in the side, he’s found himself at eight.
“We definitely know we can count on him for runs and he was the one who got us above 300.”
Footscray declared to have a shot at taking a late wicket with one over left in the day.
It nearly worked with Winter-Irving unlucky not to get a breakthrough.
“You go with your gut and the gut was telling us have a crack at getting a wicket,” Kight said.
“We just thought while Hamish was running hot, he was the confidence player of the day, so we gave him one over and he wasn’t far off getting a wicket in two out of his six balls.”
While Footscray is pleased to have 305 on the board, it will need to work hard to defend the total.
“The wicket is really good and the outfield is really quick,” Kight said. “We definitely have to bowl well to get 10 wickets.”