The Deniliquin Rhinos fired a warning shot to the rest of the competition on Saturday with an emphatic routing of Cobram.
Playing on their home track, the Rhinos impressed with bat and ball and in the field.
The home side firstly knocked up 6/191 off their 45 overs thanks to commanding half-centuries to veterans Anthony Bradley and Brad Todd.
After the tea break and with the weather warming up an inspirational opening spell from Andrew Hogan ensured the contest was all but over within the first 10 overs of the Tigers’ innings.
Hogan snared four wickets for just six runs from his opening five overs, while at the other end young paceman Dylan Rotherham was equally as enticing with 2/16 from his first five overs.
The Tigers slumped to 6/23 off 10 overs.
A highlight of the opening overs was a sensational catch to Boddie Arthur after a ball was smashed towards his feet at mid-on, with the middle order batsman scooping up the Kookaburra only centimetres from the ground.
Arthur took another great catch a few overs later when running back with the flight of the ball, taking it over his shoulder before tumbling to the ground at mid-on.
Both catches were off Hogan’s bowling and were perhaps an indication that it was the Rhinos’ day.
Deniliquin coach John Arthur said the improved fielding and catching was a highlight of the win.
‘‘We’ve worked hard at practice on our fielding, and our pre-game warm-ups have been energetic and solid.
‘‘It’s also worth noting that wicketkeeper Jonty Tubb has been exceptional behind the wickets to start the season.
‘‘I was really happy with Saturday’s performance ... we’ve controlled the run tempo with the bat really well all season except for the Barooga game.
‘‘We’re working on three runs an over for the first 15 overs with wickets in hand — this has given us a solid base to work from.’’
Dean Edge was the catalyst behind Deni’s patient start after the Rhinos won the toss and elected to bat.
He and in-form opener Ash Germano (11) put on 32 off eight overs before the latter tried to work a straighter delivery to the on-side from young Cobram speedster Lachlan Hyde and the ball cannoned off his pads and onto the stumps.
Rhinos import Zeniffe Fowler joined Edge at the crease for his first bat with his new side, but he departed shortly after for just one after driving a catch back to Hyde.
Edge continued his excellent shot selection and had worked his way to 29 when a slower ball from Isaac Artavilla rattled his castle.
Brad Todd joined Hogan at the crease and the pair put on 30 runs.
But some good bowling from spinners Manny Artavilla and Jimmy Daniels only conceded six runs from overs 25 to 30 and also heralded the prized scalp of Hogan (13). At this stage Deni were 4/89 and needing to accelerate.
‘‘We had a chat at the drinks break (30 overs),’’ coach Arthur said.
‘‘I told the guys that 120 to 130 wouldn’t be enough. We needed some acceleration.
‘‘Wriggler (Bradley) and Toddy (Brad Todd) agreed to look for boundaries, and they went out there and showed their experience and got the job done.’’
Bradley started the charge with a couple of fours and sixes.
Todd joined in, smashing 22 off the 35th over which included three sixes.
Soon after Todd notched up his half century before smashing the ball low and hard to mid-wicket only to fall to a sharp outfield catch to Ashley Saunders right on the boundary line.
Bradley kept the run rate flowing with good running and a few more boundaries. He knocked up his half century just before the close of the innings, finishing unbeaten on 51 and leading Deni to a healthy total.
Hyde was the best of the Cobram bowlers with 3/28 from nine overs.
In reply the Cobram bats never got going.
A double wicket maiden in Hogan’s third over was the start of the collapse — the first wicket a skied ball to Fowler at point and the next clean bowled Cobram’s other opener.
Rotherham trapped Isaac Artavilla in front in the sixth over, then Hogan took another scalp in the seventh over thanks to Arthur’s sure hands at mid-on.
Rotherham’s second wicket — a sharp caught behind to Tubb — meant the match was effectively over.
Jonathon Fern (33) and Hyde (15 n.o.) offered some resistance by adding 55 for the sixth wicket, however Fowler’s second catch from another skied ball saw Fern depart and gave Liam Pitts his first wicket for the day.
Pitts finished with 2/9 from almost four overs and the Rhinos also effected two run outs.
Cobram was bowled out for 83 in the 28th over.
Hogan finished with 4/9 from nine overs and Rotherham 2/17 from six.
Saturday’s win has the Rhinos in third place on the Murray Valley Cricket Association Premier Grade ladder and well placed for a shot at the one day final.
The Deni side have four wins from five starts and this Saturday play Katamatite in a 20-20 fixture.