Footscray has struggled in the opening two months of the season because of its inability to put all parts of its game together on the one day.
The Bulldogs rectified that on Saturday with their most complete performance so far in a 59-run win over Melbourne in a Premier Cricket one-dayer at Merv Hughes Oval.
“There’s just been a couple of things in each game that for some reason hasn’t come together,” Bulldogs captain Dylan Kight said.
“A couple of losses have been through batting collapses, then we corrected our batting and haven’t been as potent with the ball.
“It did all come together today, so it was a very good day for us.”
Footscray’s strong total of 7-249 off its maximum 50 overs was underpinned by returning state player Travis Dean.
Dean was rock solid en route to 80 off 91 balls, including six fours and one six.
“If we didn’t have Trav, it could’ve been a different story,” Kight said.
“He controlled our innings and set it up.
“He went out with about six overs to go and from there the hitters took over.”
After Dean Russ (22) and Matthew Underwood (10) took a bit of shine off the ball with a 30-run opening stand, it was over to Dean and Kight to make life hell for the Melbourne bowlers. They combined for a 109-run stand, of which Kight contributed 46 off 79 before getting run out.
For the Bulldogs to post a defendable total on a good day for batting, it needed contributions from further down the order.
Debutant Nathan Caulfield, who received his Bulldogs cap from Merv Hughes during the week, provided a boost with a quick-fire 30 off 23, including two sixes.
Tallan Wright also showed his power with an entertaining 33 off 17, including three sixes.
“When I got run out, all we looked like getting to was 220,” Kight said.
“Nathan was in his first game today, but he didn’t let the situation get to him, he just backed himself and it paid off.
“He got us going again and then Tallan finished it off with his clean hitting.”
Footscray could never relax in the field until Melbourne’s No. 3 Will Pucovski went back to the pavilion. Pucovski made 76 before he became one of Dean Russ’ three victims for the day.
Russ’ 3-34 off 7.2 was huge in restricting Melbourne to 190.
Paceman Lucas Dredge was damaging for Footscray with 3-29 off seven, while Wright, Hamish Winter-Irving and Jack Sheppard snared a wicket apiece.
It was a much-needed second win for Footscray, which is riding a wave of confidence from its 26-run victory over Greenvale Kangaroos in the Super Slam T20 competition.
Footscray will meet Geelong in a two-day game at the Geelong Cricket Ground starting on Saturday.