COWARAMUP proved their A-Grade premiership win last season was no one-off performance when they repeated their dominance over YOBS in a rematch of the grand finalists in Busselton on Saturday.
Despite the absence of their Sri Lankan imports Kavy de Silva and Buddhika Sanjeewa (who were playing a grand final of their own in Colombo last weekend), the Bulls were still comfortably the better side on the day.
Led by wicketkeeper-opener Mike Hibberd (40), Cowaramup batted out their 50 overs for a competitive score of 9-199 and then dismissed YOBS for 128.
YOBS have been the strongest A-grade side in the Busselton-Margaret River competition in recent seasons, but now have the unlikely record of no wins and two losses from their opening two games this summer.
Opener Ryan O’Sullivan looked comfortable in his innings of 19 at the start of the day when he added 45 with Hibberd to get the Bulls away safely, before falling to veteran YOBS fast bowler Neil Langenhoven (1-11 off 8 overs).
Young skipper Sam Berridge hit 32 in his captaincy debut for Cowaramup, while Kye Barrow and Richard Bramston hit 24 each to play valuable support roles.
YOBS’ best performers with the ball included teenager Troyden Thorp (3-12), but the side was penalised two overs for failing to keep up with the required over rate – a problem made worse by 21 wides.
Best performers in YOBS’ innings of 128 all out included young Thorp again with 21 runs, following up on his excellent innings the previous weekend, and former skipper Nayton Colombera, who notched 30 in his first hit of the season.
Opening bowler Will Dawson provided the fielding highlight of the day for Cowaramup with a great catch at deep mid-off, running back.
Fraser Oates, now a regular at Cowaramup, took the best figures of the day with 4-28 while Nick Healy (2-22), Sam Berridge (2-29) and Ben Shepherd (2-31) played support roles with the ball for the Bulls.
At Bovell Park, an early finish looked a distinct possibility when Margaret River Hawks plunged to 3 for 0 in the second over of the day against St Marys.
Ed Moulton repeated his feat of the previous week when he took a wicket with the third ball of the game, while Peter Grygorcewicz found himself on a hat-trick when he dismissed skipper Paul Tognolini and Chris McLean with successive balls in the next over.
Hawks were saved by their import Rumesh Silva. After arriving in the country earlier in the week, the left-handed Sri Lankan showed lots of class in notching 55 runs in his first knock on Australian soil.
The Hawks lower order also showed application in supporting Silva, and managed to bat into the 38th over to total 116.
Moulton demonstrated again that he is a fast bowler to be reckoned with, taking outstanding figures of 3-14 off 10 overs for Saints, while Shay Thackrah also bowled with great accuracy and was rewarded with an excellent performance of 3-11 off 7 overs.
Any hopes that Hawks had of a competitive finish were dashed when St Marys openers Marc Ford and Jono Lloyd put on 85 for the first wicket in reply.
Ford (32) continued from the previous weekend to see the ball like a watermelon, while Lloyd (53) enjoyed his first innings of the season with a very solid half-century.
If there was a prize for over rates this season Hawks would have won it, managing to bowl an amazing 22 overs in the first hour of the St Marys innings thanks to their quartet of spinners.
Silva (0-34) was unlucky with his left-arm spin while Ashley Marioni (1-20) was the only successful performer with the ball for Hawks.
Competition cricket returned to Vasse after a 60-year break when the first game was played on the new Vasse oval on Saturday.
The only previous ground at Vasse used for Busselton-Margaret River Cricket Association games was the old Newtown Oval, which stopped being used in the 1950s when the Churchill Park turf wickets were installed.
Not surprisingly, the Vasse outfield was slow due to the new turf and boundaries proved hard to come by, and St Marys (9-161) proved too strong for Vasse (124) on the day in their B-grade contest.
Dunsborough scored a victory by the maximum 10-wicket margin when they overwhelmed Cowaramup in their B-grade game at Cowaramup.
The Bulls tallied 111 with veteran Rob Menzies (55) hitting half the total, while new skipper Ian Purcell (3-16) was the most successful bowler for Dunsborough.
The remaining B-grade fixture was closely fought with YOBS scoring 8-203 and Margaret River Hawks responding with 9-181.
Dave Cameron (59) and Ethan Piggott (46) were the mainstays for YOBS while Aiden Robins hit an impressive 44 for Hawks in their reply.
B-Grade Results: St Marys 161 (36.5 overs) (D. La Motte 36, T. Hartnett 24) b Vasse 124 (45 overs) (T. Campbell 4-12, A. Gower 2-23).
Dunsborough (0-114) (17 overs) (N. Whitney 55no, B. Danaher 43no) b Cowaramup 111 (41.2 overs) (R. Menzies 55, S. White 31, I. Purcell 3-16, S. Henry 2-15, M. Lepidi 2-29).
YOBS 8-203 (45 overs) (D. Cameron 59, E. Piggott 46, J. Gilbert 26, J. Trewren 23no, A. Robins 3-18, B. Dillon 3-38, M. Cox 2-29) b Marg River Hawks 9-181 (45 overs) (A. Robins 44, M. Sorensen 28, M. Shinnick 25, T. Payne 2-22, J. Mewett 2-27, C. Jones 2-30).