A Cameron Nicol century delivered the win to Hoppers Crossing in the Victorian Sub District Cricket Association season opener against Taylors Lakes at the weekend.
After Taylors Lakes fought back from a slow start last week to set a target of 239, the Cats seemed to have all the answers on day two.
The top order wiped out much of the deficit before losing a wicket and the Cats batted through the day to finish on 6-296 from their 80 overs.
Taylors Lakes president Rob Arnold said the first week of the game came back to haunt them when defending their total this week.
“When we look back on it we only batted 72 overs, so there’s eight overs left untouched and potentially another 30 to 40 runs,” Arnold said.
“In this competition you just can’t leave overs unused. You never know how day two is going to go so if we could have had a bigger total to defend it could all have been different.”
Nicol opened with gun recruit Jack Rhodes, and together the pair frustrated the Lions’ bowlers with a well constructed opening stand, taking full toll of anything loose on a lightning outfield.
Rhodes was the first to go for 39 when Nipun Sumanasinghe trapped him in front, but the 99-run partnership had Hoppers Crossing in the box seat.
Sumanasinghe picked up a second to breathe life into the Lions’ day, but when Trent Said joined Nicol at the crease the match began to slip away.
The pair moved to 180 before Said (36) departed. Manny Singh got Nicol to his century soon afterwards as the visitors closed in on the win.
Nicol was eventually bowled for 103 by debutant Dilshan Kanchana (1-69) with victory in sight. The Cats reached the target soon after.
Hoppers Crossing batted out the day, with Luke Goegan (40 not out) looking impressive.
Sumanasinghe was the clear standout with the ball for the Lions, finishing with 3-86 off 22 overs, while Vishesh Bansal (2-46) was also good in his first game for the club.
Despite the loss, Arnold said the return of captain Jarrod Wakeling, as well as their regular wicket keeper, would give his side a boost for this week’s clash with Werribee.
“The side will have a different look this week, but it’s such a close competition you can’t be even a little bit off your game or they will slip away from you,” he said.
“Our first year in subbies we beat Balwyn and Altona, who went on to play in the grand final, so you can lose to teams around you or maybe even perhaps a bit below and then knock off the top teams … we think we can get back on track and maybe surprise a few people this season.”
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