Saturday saw the Far South Coast cricket season launch with A and B grades combining into a 10-team first division draw.
The top grade Merimbula Knights played against Eden in a rematch of last season’s grand final.
“Much work has been done during the off-season and the Knights are a different side to the one they put on the park last year,” Club president Luke Ryan said.
The Knights have welcomed the return of Dylan Jordan from playing in Canberra and said he would bolster the much-maligned Knights batting order.
Ryan said the club was also happy to welcome its two English imports in Matt and James Heafield for the summer.
“Both brothers are top order batsmen, James a highly regarded wicket keeper and Matt a creditable right arm bowler,” Ryan said.
Bowling first, Merimbula took to the field looking sharp in their new playing strip and Brayden McDonald continued where he left off last year.
McDonald was bowling quick and straight and it wasn’t long before he had the season’s first scalp.
Matt was next to strike thanks to a sharp catch from Brendan Daley at third slip and this brought Eden’s captain Tyrone Thomas to the crease.
“However he lasted about as long as a cheap toy at Christmas,” Ryan said with a laugh as Thomas was returned to the sheds for a golden duck.
Matthew Preim took centre-stage and quickly showed a man-of-the-match performance – upsetting the Eden batting order with a devastating bowling attack.
“Bowling into the wind he proved to be at times, unplayable with a fantastic display of swing and seam bowling,” Ryan said.
Preim took his first wicket off just his second ball and furthered his result securing the wickets of Martin Butchers and Tim Bowes, which officials said broke the back of the Eden innings.
“It was just reward that Preim should finish his spell heading to next week on a hat-trick.”
Eden was bundled out in the 28th over for 96 with Butchers the only player testing the Knights’ attack to score 42 runs.
Preim led the bowling attack, returning figures of 5/11 off just five overs, while Matt took two and McDonald, Ray Fisher and Ryan scored one apiece.
Ryan conceded the Knights have been hampered in running down the target in recent years, but said without Matt Bell and Reece Wheeler, Eden’s attack was a “shadow of its former self”.
Jordan and Brendan Daley were rarely troubled as they punished the Eden attack. Daley rocketed several cover drives to the fence, and not to be outdone, Jordan sent them over the fence in a welcome display of batting arrogance in the Knights side. Daley finished with 38 and Dylan unbeaten on 47.
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