A captain’s knock and a fine all-round performance from a new recruit helped Prahran to a victory in the opening round of Premier Cricket on Saturday.
Taking on the newly-formed Greenvale Kangaroos, Prahran recovered from a bad start with the bat to post a competitive score before a well-balanced effort in the field gave the True Blues victory by 17 runs and their first points of the season.
After losing the toss and being sent in, it was a disastrous first hour of play for Prahran as the Kangaroos ran through the top order to reduce their opponents to 5/29 at Toorak Park.
Greenvale paceman Peter Manser was devastating early, removing both Prahran openers, before former True Blue Dan Salpietro chimed in with two wickets of his own to leave the visitors on the back foot.
But Prahran skipper Sam Coates and new recruit James Miller combined to restore order to the Prahran scorecard, weathering the early onslaught before gradually becoming more expansive.
When Miller was out for 39 the pair had moved the score to 6/91, and with young-gun Nick Morrey joining Coates at the crease they were able to push the scoring rate along in the later overs of the innings.
Morrey finished 28 not out, but it was the skipper who was the star of the day as he was out late in the innings for a crucial 79 as Prahran finished their innings on a respectable 7/179.
Against a talented Greenvale top order, Prahran needed a good start with the ball and it was Miller who again provided the spark, sending James Cook back to the sheds without scoring.
From there it was more of a grind for the Prahran bowlers, with Eric Ghasperidis (52) and James Lidgett (44) chipping away at the target.
Morrey came into the attack and removed Ghasperidis, and debutant Adam Hutton dismissed Lidgett soon after as Greenvale slipped to 3/104.
From there the True Blues were able to take consistent wickets, with Salpietro (41) the only other batsman to score more than seven.
While they got close, the steady flow of wickets late in the innings cost the Kangaroos a shot at victory as they were bowled out for 162 after 49 overs.
Miller was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing 4/31 in his Prahran debut, and he got good support from Morrey (2/32), Hutton (2/17) and Steven Singh (2/32).
Prahran coach Andrew Walton was full of praise for Coates’ leadership, as well as the performances of the side’s younger players.
“Sam’s one of the most dependable players when a crisis threatens.” he said.
“The way he batted and his captaincy in the field . . . he was outstanding.
“We have a lot of kids starting to come through and perform and they have some serious talent. We’re in a good space at the moment.”