By Jackson Russell
Mernda secured its first win of the 2019/20 Money Shield season with a two-wicket win over Lower Plenty in their Australia Day eve one-dayer at Waterview Reserve on Saturday.
Lower Plenty won the toss and elected to bat but wasn’t able to make any real inroads in their 40 overs.
Mernda got the breakthrough when Jackson Grimble was caught behind for nine runs by Demons captain and wicket-keeper James Taylor off Cooper Perrin.
Taylor and Perrin combined not long after, running out Lower Plenty captain Bill Jenkin for 23 to have the visitors 2/47.
Mernda was able to take wickets consistently, not allowing Lower Plenty to form any significant partnerships.
A lower-order collapse saw Lower Plenty finish their innings at 9/133 from 40 overs.
Perrin finished with figures of 2/33 from seven overs.
Aaron Greenough took 2/19 and James Baker took 2/12 from eight overs each while Taylor finished with a catch, a stumping and a run out.
A slow start left Mernda’s run chase looking like anything but a certainty.
The Demons were behind the eight ball early after a 28-run opening partnership was ended when Josh Delaney was caught for 15.
Mernda quickly fell to 4/51 before Damien Stevens and Mitchell Harris put on a 55-run partnership before Stevens was caught for 31.
Harris fell soon after, dismissed leg before wicket for 34 as Mernda fell to 6/106.
After a great bowling performance, Cooper Perrin held up his end with the bat and guided Mernda through the end of the run chase, making 13 not out.
The Demons finished the innings making 8/134 from 37.4 overs.
Captain James Taylor said there was a lot of relief with the win.
“It was good for the club and the young group we’ve got to experience a win and sing the song,” he said.
“They were 2/50 off nine or 10 overs so to hold them and take wickets was good. One hundred and thirty is hard to defend on our ground so I was pretty confident at the halfway mark.
“Once we got our plans right and stuck to them, they found it hard to score and we took wickets.”
Taylor said while the batting wasn’t great, it got the job done.
“It’s not irrelevant how we get the win, we’ve still got to get better, but how we do it doesn’t faze me,” he said.
“If we’ve got to win ugly, then that’s what we’ve got to do.”
The win lifts Mernda from the bottom spot on the ladder, ahead of Lower Plenty.
Whittlesea and Laurimar both recorded away wins in their Mash Shield one-dayers at the weekend.
Whittlesea comfortably got past Hurstbridge by four wickets with five overs left.
The Eagles bowled out Hurstbridge for 156 in the final over of the innings after captain Rodney Pratt took 3/36 from eight overs while Braydon Avola continued his good form, taking 2/28 from seven overs.
Openers Yasith De Silva and Brody Bell started well, putting on a 50-run partnership before Bell was stumped for 16.
After contributions from Avola and Suresh Fernando, De Silva was eventually caught for 62 with Whittlesea in control at 4/110.
Corey Baker made 30 before he was bowled by Damon Earp as Whittlesea’s middle order chipped away until the chase was completed after 35 overs.
Laurimar nabbed a two-wicket win over Greensborough in the last over of the day.
The Power was able to bowl the hosts out for 130 on the final ball of Greensborough’s innings.
Steven Mitchell led Laurimar’s attack, taking 3/34 from eight overs, while Ashley Williams took 2/3 from eight overs and Rian Boddy took 2/12 from four overs.
Laurimar was in trouble early, quickly falling to 4/22 before Andrew Nicholls and Ray Kelsey put together a 52-run fifth-wicket partnership before Nicholls was stumped for 22.
Kelsey guided Laurimar’s tail through the final overs, finishing on 46 not out with Laurimar finishing the run chase on 8/132 from 39.1 overs.