By Nick Creely and Tyler Lewis
DDCA TURF 2 AND 3
REVIEW – ROUND 1
Entering the Dandenong District Cricket Association for the first time as an overseas captain-coach with an extensive resume, there was a certain expectation when it came to what Sandun Dias could achieve both on and off the field for a developing Cranbourne side.
The 34-year-old is a well-travelled cricket coach and player, has played Sri Lankan under 19 and has achieved some success in Australia previously with McKinnon, so when the Eagles came calling for his experience to help push them along to the next step, Dias needed to be one that set the tone.
And in the opening round clash against Narre Warren at Sweeney Reserve, Dias did just that, belting his way to a memorable debut century to lead the Eagles to a win in a run-soaked game.
Entering the crease at 2/33 after the Magpies sent the Eagles in, Dias completely took over, crashing 12 boundaries and six sixes, fittingly bringing up the special milestone with a maximum that soared well over the rope.
While Dias wasn’t right there until the final ball of the innings and was eventually dismissed for a game-changing 121, it was a timely warning of what the all-rounder could achieve in the DDCA this season, as the Eagles look to break back into the finals fold.
Dias’ incredible knock lifted the Eagles to a formidable 6/228, with Cam Kelly also getting in the runs with an unbeaten 36.
The Magpies got off to a bright start with Daniel Orchard (36) and Zach Allen (46), but were gradually worn down by the Eagles, who bowled tight lines and denied the home side crucial boundaries, eventually bowling them out on the final ball to finish on 185, with Damien Gamage also providing some fireworks with the blade with a brutal 48.
Braedyn Jansz was superb for the Eagles with the ball, snaring 4/36 off his eight overs, while seamers Marty Kelly (2/19) and Tim Fathers (3/23) never relented with their pressure to start the season off nicely.
Down at Perc Allison Oval, Beaconsfield started its promotion to Turf 2 with a bang, controlling its clash with Dandenong West.
The Tigers were sent in to bat, and after a pressure-filled start by the Bulls’ seamers, the home quickly found themselves 3/38.
But aggressive duo Brad Miles (47) – returning after a successful three-year stint with Devon Meadows – and fellow recruit Achintha Rajapakse (58 not out) changed the flow of the game, going at almost a run-a-ball and getting the runs flowing.
Eventually after a few lusty hits from Callan Tout (22 not out) in the final overs, the Tigers clawed its way to a strong 5/180 off their 40 overs, and with a strong bowling lineup ready to defend.
Any chance the Westers had of chasing the runs down was extinguished with an electric spell by Tout (4/26) and Jake Cutting (2/13), who combined beautifully to leave the visitors 4/12, and eventually 7/37.
Some late runs by Gurpreet Singh (33 not out) added some respectability to the scoreboard, with Jason Dodd (3/21) also chiming in with some handy wickets through the middle order as the Westers were tumbled out for just 99.
Dingley were another side to get off to a strong start to it season, with the Dingoes dominating Lyndale at Barry Powell Oval.
The Dingoes batted first, with openers Matt Hague (71) and Luke Spears (89) crunching 154 for the first wicket, setting up a strong total of 7/215.
The Dales really struggled with a well-rounded Dingley bowling group, and were bundled out for just 105, with Hague (2/13), Corey Booth (2/12) and Milan Rathnayaka (3/33) doing serious damage with the ball.
In the final game of the round, Parkmore Pirates started in dominant fashion, thumping Narre North at Frederick Wachter Reserve.
The Pirates amassed a monster 3/247, with Bevan Corneille whacking a memorable 101, while Aditya Ganesh (65) and Amal Athulathmudali (67) crunched half-centuries.
The Rams were easily bundled out by the Pirates, with Niranjen Kumar (3/7) weaving some magic with the new ball as the home side were dismissed for just 76, with Nathan Pulham battling hard to top score with 26 for the visitors.
Parkfield kicked off its season in emphatic fashion with a one run victory over Lynbrook.
After sending the Bears in, the Lakers were immediately on the back foot with both openers Matt Goodier (31) and Travis D’souza (46) getting starts.
Some handy middle order runs came through Anthony Stubbs (35), helping the Bears set a terrific total of 7/177.
For Lynbrook, Cody Thompson was the pick of the bowlers with 2/31 from his eight overs.
In reply, Lakers skipper Jay Walia played a lone hand at the top of the order with 44 as his fellow top-five fell in the early stages of the chase.
Medie Dala (27) and coach Chris Jarrett (31) provided some crucial tail end runs to assert their side back into the match.
And despite 12 from number 11 Stephen Veal, the Lakers fell just one short of the total required.
As well as performing with the bat, Matt Goodier claimed 4/20 with the ball in the second innings to complete an all-round performance.
Meanwhile, Keysborough made light work of Berwick Springs with a powerful team display.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Springs were in trouble from the outset and couldn’t seem to recover as they were bundled out for 98. Kyle Murdock the pick of the bowlers with 4/16 from eight.
In reply, Keysborough lost the five wickets but chased the total down in less than 23 overs with Tobey Harkin and Daniel Banhidi both collecting 32.
Fountain Gate (4/179) claimed its first victory of the season when it successfully chased Comoora’s set total (5/175).
Avisha Wilwalaarachchi (44) was brilliant for the ‘Roos while Rodni Kumara was difficult to get away with the tidy figures of just 1/12 from eight overs.
Justin De Wit got the reply off to the fastest of starts for the Gators as he muscled seven boundaries and one maximum in his 41 at the top of the order.
Michael Lawrence also joined De Wit in the 40s dismissed with 45 of his own to help guide Fountain Gate home.
In the final game, Silverton (6/146) pulled off a brave run chase against Springvale (6/142).
Simon Beshara claimed 3/22 from his six overs while Buddhika Janith top scored with 32.
In defence, Michael De Kauwe was at his spinning best with 4/21 but it was a strong knock from Wijenayake Weerarathne who guided the Demons home with 49.