St Albans and Sunshine United are evenly poised at the end of the first day of the season, with the two sides trading blows throughout an enthralling day.
As the Victorian Turf Cricket Association’s senior division launched on Saturday, Sunshine United battled through some difficult pitch and outfield conditions to get to stumps at 8-192.
The umpires called off play early due to bad light, with 67 overs bowled for the day.
St Albans coach Rob Nikolic said he was happy with his bowlers, but equally impressed with the way United applied themselves with the bat.
“The pitch was quite hard to score runs on, so their score at the moment is pretty good,” Nikolic said.
“Early on we created a few half chances, some edges either side of slips and gully, and then they dug in and took their time and they’ve got a decent score to show for it at this point.
“Having said that, I thought we bowled pretty well. The openers did well early, and then our spinners kept things tight through the middle overs, which is pleasing.”
United won the toss at Kings Park, and Scott Dalrymple (19) and Adam Duxson (29) put on 40 runs for the first wicket before Dalrymple was run out.
Sunshine was able to avoid losing wickets in clumps, with six all getting a start without going on to a big score.
With Simon Lambert (1-23 off 15 overs) keeping things tight at one end, Geeth Alwis was able to reap the rewards at the other as he started the year off with a deserved 5-45.
United keeper Sangaran Nandhalal was a mainstay through the middle portion of the innings with a well crafted 57 not out, and will be crucial in determining the visitors final total when play resumes this week.
Leigh Sheridan was also good with 40.
United will have seven more overs to bat this week, giving both sides 74 overs for the match.
Nikolic said the match was evenly poised, and hoped the batters could kick off what he hopes to be a successful season.
“If we can get them out quickly that would be ideal, but if not we’ve got to restrict them,” he said.
“When we bat I think it’s about being patient, and if we’re smart and bat our overs I think we’ve got enough good players to get the runs.
“On paper I think we look a better team this year, but on paper doesn’t mean anything when the games start.
“Last year we didn’t know what to expect coming up into senior division, but this year I think there’s a real buzz around the club that we can have some success.”