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By Richard Millott


Cricket returned to the people Saturday, with near-perfect conditions to welcome Round 1 of the 2018/19 Season.


It was the Morris show for the Panthers in their win over Belgrave. After the Magpies ended at 3/180 thanks to Jordon King (67*) and Blake Glen (59*) combining for a 96-run unbeaten partnership. Earlier, Jonathan Levell chimed in with 31 at the top. In reply, Ben and Cody Morris managed the chase to perfection, Ben scoring yet another season-launch century with 105, whilst Cody saw through the chase on 59* to steer Eildon Park past 1/181.


Blake Walter was the highest score of the day, his 121 being a key part of The Basin’s 9/240 in their encounter with Upper Ferntree Gully. The total proved to be too much, with the Kings dismissed for 138.


Last season’s Decoite Shield Premiers FTG Footballers hosted currently Premiers Knoxfield at Pickett’s Reserve, with the Knights sending a message there is no premiership hangover.  Batting first, they set 7/262 with skipper Tom Boxell the lead on 81 with Zac Wilson combining for a 141-run partnership before being dismissed for 74. Sam Cuthbert was the pick of the Griffen bowlers with a tidy 3/28. In reply, the Griffins showed they were more than up for the challenges of Norm Reeves Cup, posting 9/237 in the chase. Lachlan Story (53) and Tharanga Lakshita (52) both contributed half centuries to the effort, meanwhile Josh Linder was the pick of the Knights bowlers with 3/54.


Knox Gardens had a number of performances in their away win against Johnson Park. Setting 7/201, Peter Dunlop (54), Jarrod Butcher (44) and Joe Morsello (33) were the key players amongst the innings, all whilst Liyan De Silva toiled hard for the Sharks to return 3/35. In reply Johnson Park started well before the loss of 3 quick wickets saw them falter to be dismissed for 163.  Wayne McInerney produced a restrictive 4/16, with Mitchell Gregory in support with 3/50 as the Falcons produced a solid start.


Meanwhile, Upwey produced an all-round effort in their match with Ferntree Gully. Upwey set 7/245, the majority of the runs coming from Steve Moore (58), Julian Whetstone (52), Cameron Wheeler (38) and Kyle Snyman (37). For the Blues, Pat Mastertoun claimed 3/48 to lead the effort with the ball. In reply, Jayden Bradbury scored a half century (55), following a solid effort from Harrison Brown (45) at the top of the innings to help Ferntree Gully to 7/198.


In Decoite Shield, Rowville notched a win against St Johns Tecoma, Alex Walker prominent with 73* with support from Steve Sandhu (49) and Andrew Baird (35*) towards 4/216. For the Saints, Dean Palandri and Billy Sanger both scored 51, with the Hawks managing 5/212.


Lysterfield welcomed Mountain Gate back to Decoite with a win at HV Jones Reserve. Adam Kinniburgh claimed 3/12 from his 8 overs as part of an effort that dismissed the Gators for 103, before Nathan Hicks top scored for the Beavers in their chase past 3/105.


Monbulk provided the goods in their matchup against Olinda. Shane Cosstick provided 79 towards the tally, with Braden Taeuber adding 31 as the Hawks reached 5/187. In response, Olinda were well serviced by Tom Gelbert (77) as part of their total of 9/182.


South Belgrave posted a start-up win over Knox Gardens. South had contributions in the form of Jordan McDermott (51), Harley McDermott (33*) and Mark Baker (38). Dain Vernon was the lead Falcon with 3/38 from his overs to restrict South Belgrave to 6/213. In reply, Connor Murphy claimed 5/54 as part of Knox Garden’s 8/177. Gerard Jongen was the leading bat with 42.  

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