JOHNSON Park veteran Bryn Gaunt let the rest of the Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association know he is ready for a big season with a masterful century against Knoxfield on Saturday.
Gaunt, a past Victorian Country opening batsman, made 124 to lead his Sharks side to a score of 9-258 at Carrington Park. The total could have threatened 300 but Knoxfield's Trent Evans took 6-49 as his side slowed down the opposition.
Sharks captain-coach Andrew Devenish said Gaunt showed his quality after a disappointing campaign last season.
"He showed he was a class above his opposition and his teammates," Devenish said. "He holds high expectations of himself and last year was pretty down — I think he scored around 300 runs which was low compared to previous years."
Devenish said Gaunt's batting was a key for the Sharks and also helped develop his younger teammates. "It's not only good to have a quality batsman in the team but to have someone of his experience around the younger boys gives them an example to follow."
The Sharks remain confident they can defend their score when play resumes this Saturday but know Knoxfield will offer stiff resistance, especially if the rain stays away this week.
"You would take 250 every time and we would back ourselves to defend that total," Devenish said. "We have a few good spinners and medium-pace bowlers.
"After having the first two rounds washed out, getting a couple of wins early in the season would be very good as you don't want to be chasing wins later in the season."
The FTGDCA will reschedule all round one matches this Sunday as one-day games. All washed-out round two matches, have been rescheduled to December 16.
"I think having these extra games will suit us," Devenish said. "We have a pretty young side. so playing twice in the weekend is fine with us. I would expect we will have the same side for both days of play."
Upwey reached 276 at home against Belgrave with contributions from Matt Mulcahy (76), Leigh Bianchi (41) and Dain Howe (37).
Medium-pacer Scott Vozzo led the bowling attack with 4-35 from 17 overs, however the Magpies were 2-20 at stumps and have some work to do this week.
Upper Gully restricted The Basin to 179, skipper Luke Bowyer starting the season in form with 89. In reply, the Kings are 1-19.
Footballers found trouble at Pickett Reserve, with newly promoted Knox Gardens getting off a flyer, reaching 1-199 in the 50th over.
Falcons' batsmen Jarrod Butcher (69) and former St Kilda player David Prowse (91) dominated proceedings until Dale Cranston ran through the line-up, taking 5-58 and restricting the visitors to 274 in what could have been a massive score. However, the Falcons have the runs on the board.
At the opposite end of the scale, Ferntree Gully faltered badly at Wally Tew Oval, dismissed for just 74. Eildon Park medium-pacer Adrian Baltruschaitis (5-16) and spinner Nathan McNally (3-25) did the job for the Panthers who took first innings points at 5-76 at the close.
The Gully will be looking for early wickets to have any show of a reverse outright.
Decoite Shield also had highlights with new Monbulk coach Shane Cosstick scoring an unbeaten 110 in his team's total of 197 against Mt Gate on the beach at Monbulk. Young Gators speedster Cam Wheeler bowled brilliantly, bagging 7-33.
Ash Hart's 81 paved the way for South Belgrave's 312 against St Johns Tecoma and Lysterfield secured a first innings lead against Rowville, with Justin Carland taking 5-11.
Norm Reeves Shield
The Basin 179 (L Bowyer 89) v Upper Ferntree Gully 1-19. Knox Gardens 275 (Prowse 91, Butcher 69, Gregory 31; Cranston 5-58, Bogar 3-47) v Footballers. Ferntree Gully 74 (A Baults 5-16, N McNally 3-25) v Eildon Park 5-76. Upwey Tecoma 278 (M Mulcahy 76, L Bianchi 41no, D Howe 37, S Taylor 30; S. Vozzo 4-35) v Belgrave 2-20. Johnson Park 9-258 (Gaunt 125; Evans 6-49) v Knoxfield.
Monbulk 197 (S Cosstick 110no; C Wheeler 7-33, M Bunting 3-48) v Mountain Gate. South Belgrave 312 (A Hart 81, D Hart 41, J McDermott 30; C Walters 3-51) v St John's Tecoma. Lysterfield 4-97 v Rowville 94 (Rodgers 34; Carland 5-11, Snyman 4-12).