Greenvale Kangaroos faced a red hot St Kilda in the opening round of Victorian Premier Cricket.
With several debutantes among the side, the Kangaroos were given a first-hand look at the top level of cricket.
While the Kangaroos showed plenty of fight and character, St Kilda came away with a nine wicket win with 17 overs in hand.
New Kangaroos skipper Michael Stretton said it was a challenging start to the season.
“We were up against a pretty good team, with a lot of good players,” he said.
“We weren’t quite on that level and they played well.”
The Kangaroos won the toss and elected to bat. They managed to make 9-172 from their 50 overs.
Stretton top scored with 37, while Liam Fitzsimmons, in his first XI debut, contributed a handy 33.
Stretton said he never thought that total would be enough.
“We lost too many early wickets and didn’t give ourselves a good chance to get a good score.
“There were some positives with how we approached it.
“We lost five wickets in the first 25 overs and to get through to bat the whole 50 overs, it showed fight and character.”
While the bowlers did a solid job, St Kilda wasn’t troubled as it easily reached the needed runs.
Stretton said in the end they were beaten by a better team.
“We couldn’t control them on that ground,” he said.
“We had a fair few debutantes and they will be better for versing these guys.
“It’s not often you play the likes of Nic Maddison and Peter Handscomb, let alone debut against them.”
The line-up put out by the Greenvale Kangaroos was a very different one to last season.
Joining Stretton and Fitzsimmons in making their first XI debuts, was Kyle Newnham and Thomas Weston.
Stretton said it was going to take time for the side to gel.
“I’m new to the side and it’s going to take some time,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a new experience with the comparison of Victoria and New South Wales cricket, with the standard and approach.
“It’s one of those things. We’re definitely coming together and getting to know each other.
“I think we can keep improving.”
The likes of Weston, Newnham, Fitzsimmons and Sean McNicholl are four players that he thinks can step up this season.
All four showed some good signs in round one.
While it was a tough first-up result for the Kangaroos, it wasn’t all disappointment for the club.
The third and fourth XIs both got wins, while their second XI just fell short, also against St Kilda, which is a traditionally strong side.
Stretton said they were hoping those results would flow through to the first XI.
“We’ve got a really young group,” he said.
“There were positives across the whole club. Two wins and to get really close in the seconds with a couple of bowlers getting injured, there’s some really good signs.
“Hopefully it progresses into the senior side.”
Greenvale Kangaroos this week face Essendon at Windy Hill.