WARRION has made a bold statement on its return to Division One cricket by beating CDCA power club Colac.
The Panthers hosted the Stallions at their iconic home ground at Warrion, setting the Colac-based side 136 before restricting their opposition to 121.
Teenager Aidan Barrow had a match to remember, hitting a game-high 46 runs with the bat before a damaging performance in the field, taking four wickets and producing a run-out for the 15-run victors.
“Probably our star for the day was a 16-year-old,” club president Shane Vicary said of Barrow’s performance.
“He played a couple of games three years ago as a 12-year-old playing at number 11 and fielding, so it was really his debut as a senior cricketer.
Vicary said the club was thrilled to give its young cricketers exposure to top-grade cricket again, with the likes of Barrow, Mitch Perkins and Cody Downard all playing big roles for the Panthers in Saturday’s win.
“We had three teenagers effectively debut,” he said.
“Mitch Perkins was behind the wickets and had a really accomplished day as wicketkeeper and we also had Cody Downard, he opened the batting and only made one, but he bowled five really good overs in crucial points of the game.”
Vicary said Saturday’s win had boosted the spirits at Warrion after the club ended a two-season absence from the top-grade competition.
Saturday’s contest was Warrion’s first Division One Colac district cricket match since the 2012-13 season.
Skipper Jarryd Cranwell, 26 not out, added handy runs for the Panthers late in their innings, while recruit and former City United strike bowler Lokky
Harty took two wickets on his debut for the club and young quick Jack Berry also had impressive figures of 2-19.
“For us to start back in the ones and get up is fantastic for the club,” Vicary said.
“There was a really good feeling going into the game, we probably had a lot more confidence than what others gave us.
“There’s a really good camaraderie, I think probably similar to the Birregurra team, there is a lot of belief and we want to be there to be competitive.”
Colac’s top performers were youngster Eamon Spence, who made a handy 38 opening the batting, and Paul Langdon hit 25 batting down the order.
Aidan Spence took three wickets in his first game as Colac’s captain and Nathan Humphrey claimed two scalps late for the Stallions.
Vicary said Panthers officials weren’t setting their 2015-16 expectations too high after the round-one win and remained focused on giving their young cricketers an opportunity at the highest level of cricket in the district.
“If we didn’t make finals we wouldn’t call the year a failure,” he said.
“Our club is chock full of teenagers and the rest are old blokes.”