By Nick Creely
Springvale South has sent a statement to the rest of the competition with a dominant victory against Narre South in the second round of the Dandenong District Cricket Association’s Turf 1 competition on Saturday.
Against a fellow flag fancy, the Bloods were simply far too good – clinical with the ball and bat from the outset.
The Lions won the toss, electing to bat as it looked to put behind the disappointment of the side’s opening round defeat to Berwick.
But once again, the Lions struggled with a steady flow of wickets falling throughout, with left-arm tweakers Akshat Buch (4/21) and Jarryd Straker (3/26) combining for seven wickets as the visitors tumbled out for just 108.
It’s been a particularly impressive start to the season for Buch, the ex-Dandenong spinner, with six wickets across the first two rounds of the season.
Lion star Kaushalya Weeraratne was strong with the bat to compile 38 from 57 balls but struggled to form partnerships with the middle-order breaking down.
Ryan Quirk (31) and skipper Nathan King managed to get off to a brisk start in the chase, compiling 42 runs for the first wicket as the Bloods strolled away with a seven-wicket win to move to a 2-0 start to the season.
Jack Sketcher (24 not out) once again found some runs in what has been a strong start to the season from an individual perspective.
Reedy Reserve played host to yet more runs from the great Matthew Chasemore, with the reigning premiers Berwick once again looking ominous in its victory against HSD.
After winning the toss and batting, the Cobras looked to be in a strong position, with top-order pair Udara Hettige (41) and Nishita Weerakoon (48) navigating the star-studded Bears’ pace attack nicely.
But the Bears slowly clawed back, eventually wearing the home side down and bowling them out for 140, with leggie Ruwantha Kellepotha (3/42) once again crucial, while Cory Bevan (3/10) snared some important wickets as he usually does.
While dangerous opener Jordan Cleland was prized out early for 15, it mattered little, with skipper Chasemore piling on an unbeaten 77, slamming four sixes and eight fours as the reigning premier moved to 2-0.
Chasemore – who scored 42 not out in the opening round – shows no signs of slowing down his incredible appetite for runs, with the champ already scoring over 2000 runs for the club in just his fourth season.
The impressive Brodie Emmett also backed up his 59 from round one with another entertaining 43 to help guide his side home.
Down at Lois Twohig Reserve, a spectacular performance from Hallam Kalora Park seamer Will Whyte saw the Hawks dominate North Dandenong and move to 2-0.
The Hawks looked in trouble at one point after being sent in to bat, with the Maroons – off the back of some solid bowling – restricting the visitors to 5/57, which included the vital scalps of Leigh Booth and skipper Jordan Hammond.
But recruit Matt Cox (65) changed the game, and in typically aggressive fashion turned the corner for his side.
Combining with Ben Hillard (36 not out) for a vital 75-run stand, the Hawks posted 9/157 with Cox whacking seven fours and a six in his impressive knock.
Nimesh Kariyawasam (3/34) was outstanding with the ball for the Maroons.
But it was a performance to remember from Whyte with the ball for the Hawks, with the Maroons rolled for just 74 despite a blistering start.
The impressive Whyte snared an incredible 6/11 from 9.3 overs, tearing apart the Maroons with a searing spell that saw the Maroons last just 19.3 overs.
With Leigh Booth (2/30) also bowling well, Whyte was virtually unplayable, with the middle-order combining for a total of 10 runs.
It’s not the first time the Hawk star has claimed five or more wickets in an innings at Turf 1 level, with Whyte almost topping his Turf 1 best of 7/37.
Buckley Ridges were another side to claim victory against St Mary’s at Carroll Reserve in what proved to be a tricky day of batting for both sides.
After being sent in by the Bucks, the Saints clawed its way to 9/131 from its 45 overs, with Michael ‘Slick’ Davies (2/33) excellent with the ball and in particular early, and without champion spinner Wes Nicholas, who pulled out of the game late with injury, the visitors still had plenty of options to do the damage.
The Saints were not helped by three run-outs, including a brilliant throw from the boundary line from Susa Pradeep that struck the stumps side-on.
While the Bucks didn’t quite have it their own way with the bat in reply, a typically defiant knock from skipper Jayson Hobbs (66 not out) at the top ensured the visitors would get the runs in 36 overs with just the loss of three wickets.
Hobbs – who has been well known as one of the most determined and gritty batsman in the DDCA – faced 103 balls in his vital knock – and was well assisted by Davies (19 not out) who helped steer the visitors home.
After two rounds of the home-and-away season, Berwick, Springvale South, Hallam Kalora Park and Buckley Ridges have won both of their games as the Turf 1 ladder begins to take some early shape this season.