By Colin MacGillivray
SEYMOUR District Cricket Association A Grade ladder leaders Broadford and Kilmore each posted victories at the weekend, while the other two scheduled matches were called off due to wet weather.
Kilmore returned to the winners’ list with a 102-run thrashing of bottom side Alexandra on Saturday.
After winning the toss, Kilmore captain Josh Buttler elected to bat on their home turf, and immediately set about building a strong opening partnership with Dale Tassone.
The pair put on 169 runs for the first wicket before Buttler fell just short of his first century of the season, caught for 95 off the bowling of Patrick Ferguson.
Tassone continued at the crease, first alongside Jacob Walton (25) and then Ben Dawson (21*) to end Kilmore’s innings unbeaten on 101, with the team 2/268.
Buttler said he was thrilled with the total.
“We weren’t sure what to expect because we had so much rain, but to have a 169-run opening stand is not something that happens very often. It was a very good start to the innings, that’s for sure,” he said.
“Dale and I are both pretty easy going, and we run off each other pretty well. If one of us is going along pretty well the other will try to give them the strike, and vice versa. We took our time and waited on our balls, and once we got our eyes in everything seemed to work out.
“It was a bit disappointing to fall just short [of a century], but it is what it is. You’re always happy to make runs.”
Kilmore continued to apply pressure in the field, with Brett Buttler’s precision bowling yielding 2/8 from 7.1 overs.
Tom Manuel, playing in his first A Grade game, also impressed the skipper with 2/21 from eight overs.
Alexandra was bowled out for 166, with James Ladd top scoring on 43.
Kilmore will host Tallarook this weekend, and Buttler said his side was keen for the challenge.
“It’s always an interesting game when you come up against Tallarook. They’ve been the benchmark of the competition for the past few years, so it’ll be a good test for us to see where we’re at,” he said.
While the runs flowed freely for Kilmore at the weekend, Broadford was made to work for its 22-run victory against Eastern Hill.
Broadford batted first after winning the toss at Kings Park in Seymour, but found runs hard to come by.
Skipper Ash Wood’s innings of 30 was the highest score for the visitors, with only three other Broadford batsmen reaching double figures.
Regan Gardner claimed 3/11 from five overs to lead the Eastern Hill attack, but it was a remarkably consistent effort from the team, with each of the six bowlers taking at least one wicket.
Eastern Hill openers Brayden Speechley and Matt Collard were removed cheaply, but a 27-run stand between Ben Bryant (24) and Billy Cox (14) had the home side seemingly on track for an upset victory.
However, Broadford’s Taylor Shell removed both Bryant and Cox in quick succession on the way to recording team-best figures of 4/12 from seven overs.
Shell’s double strike triggered an Eastern Hill collapse, with Jack Connell (3/16) and Jeremy Bradshaw (2/9) joining in to have the home side all out for 75.
Broadford will now play host to Yea Tigers as it looks to retain top spot on the ladder, while Eastern Hill will travel to Alexandra and Pyalong will host Seymour.