By Todd Whelan
Darley Cricket Club
A resilient Lions tail set up a 17-run win over Buninyong at the weekend, giving coach Dilon Chandima his first success in charge of last seasons semi finalists.
For a second week in a row the Lions were reeling at 6/80 with all top six batsmen in the sheds albeit having won the toss.
Promoted stroke player Shane McAndrew 36 (61) and number nine batsman Liam Cornford 44 (49) led the resistance to combine with Madushanka Ekanayake 13 (22) and Benny Longhurst 16* (16) to see out the allotted 50 overs 9/197 and with more work to do.
According to Chandima, it’s been a challenging start to the season for his top order.
“With the exception of Lachie Herring (and Drew Locke) we’ve struggled to adapt to the sluggish nature of the hard wicket,” he said.
“Our lower order stood-up admirably despite our difficulties at the top.”
In response, the visitors preferred batsmen struggled, not dissimilar to the Lions, in trouble at 5/83 still needing a further 115 runs for an upset win over their nemesis of recent seasons.
The Lions attack was typically ‘all in’ with their efforts to restrict the ‘Bunnies’ as five of the six bowlers used chimed in for timely wickets. While Captain Longhurst missed out, he was important with his economical spell of 0/33 from 10 overs.
Ekanayake (3/24) was again the pick of the bowlers while Drew Locke (2/46) answered the faith placed in him by the captain, and not for the first time.
Progressive spinner Liam Cornford (2/10) played his role to dismiss the visitors most dangerous batsman that threatened late to steal an unlikely victory.
Chandima was quick to voice his appreciation of the bowlers.
“While ‘turf’ conditions naturally provide more for the bowlers, it was once again a very consistent performance from the group across the board (on the hard wicket),” he said.
Despite a late scare that saw the Bunnies add 28 runs for the ninth wicket, it was Locke (catch) and Ekanayake who fittingly combined to end the charge.
While happy to bank the points, Chandima had a broader view of the club’s immediate goals and future direction.
“We have consciously provided more opportunities for local cricketers, with the intention of aiding in their development alongside our more experienced players,” he said.
“This strategy reflects a strong community and investment, nurturing local talent within the team.”
Brodie Ward (away) missed the round two win.
The Lions are on the road this week to face Brown Hill on Western Oval.
BCA 1st Grade
Darley 9/197, Overs 50
L. Cornford 44, S. McAndrew 36.
Buninyong 9/180, Overs 48.2.
M. Ekanayake 3/24, L. Cornford 2/10.
Darley won by 17 runs.
BCA 2nd Grade
Brown Hill 7/193, Overs 45
D. Hynes 3/27, J. Murphy 2/28
Darley 5/121, Overs 29
A.Pickett 32, J. Martindale 28*
BCA 3rd Grade
Darley 95, Overs 38.
Z. Agius 20, J. Higgins 15.
Coronet / Newlyn 3/97, Overs 20.
W. Kilmartin 1/26.
Darley lost by 7 wickets.
BCA 4th Grade
Darley 3/298, Overs 40.
T. Gallagher 102(ret.), B. Densley 99.
B/Marsh 137, Overs 35.5
Dar. Hynes 3/4, B. Woodhouse 3/29.
Darley won by 161 runs.
BCA 5th Grade
Darley v Ballarat/Redan