Mernda made a solid start to its Diamond Valley Cricket Association Money Shield season-opening two-day match against Lalor Stars on Saturday.
The Demons finished the day all out for 215 after 79.4 overs.
Mernda captain James Taylor said the club put in work over the preseason to take its innings into the final overs.
“We put in stacks of work in the preseason so to put 200-plus on the board and bat 80 overs, which is something the club wasn’t able to do last year, was fantastic,” he said.
“We put a big emphasis on getting the game into the last hour so to do that and post 200 was good.”
After losing opener Damien Stevens for a duck early, Dean Shaw (47) and 16-year-old First XI debutant Alex Mitris (28) put together a 67-run partnership for the second wicket before Shaw was caught out.
Mitris soon followed at 3/83 and suddenly Mernda was 6/110 after three quick wickets.
“It was a good start for Dean but it’s important for us as a top five or six, if we get to 40, we have to go on with it. That our top six faced 40-50 balls each was great,” Taylor said.
“Alex played a couple games in the twos last year and I pointed out to the boys that it was great to see the head on a 16-year-old to face that many balls.”
Stuart Wright did well to steady the ship for Mernda, making 59 with nine boundaries before his wicket fell at 9/192.
“Stuart’s moulded his game a lot over the preseason to be able to play that anchor role whereas in the past he’s been the aggressor. It was pleasing to see him face that many balls to give us a solid back half,” Taylor said.
Joshua Delaney made an admirable 21 before he was last dismissed.
Karl Heckmann did the bulk of the damage for Lalor, taking 3/49 from 18 overs with six maidens, while Luca Gioskos had a quick-fire 2/24 from an eight-over spell.
Taylor said Mernda’s young bowling attack plans to bring the heat to Lalor early on day two.
“We’ve got a pretty young bowling attack, both openers are under 23 and one is 17, but they’re ready to go. We’ll attack early and if we can create pressure, I’m confident we can create chances and we’ll take them,” he said.
Whittlesea are under pressure after day one of their two-day Mash Shield opener against Bundoora Park.
Whittlesea bowled Bundoora Park out for 385 through 78 overs with Ramindu Nikeshala making 115 and Ryan Miller making 75 as part of a 169-run partnership between the two.
Whittlesea’s Nathan Heaney took 5/67 from 17 overs while Nathan Somerville was efficient with 3/45 from seven overs.
Laurimar would be happy with its start, making 6/300 at the end of day one of their Mash Shield match with South Morang at home.
Ray Kelsey top-scored for the hosts with 83 runs, including 12 boundaries, and had a 140-run partnership with Daniel Roberts (72).