By Lance Jenkinson
St Albans is cock-a-hoop after starting the new year with two road wins over long time rivals in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division.
The Saints are back in the finals reckoning after celebrating one-day wins over Sunshine United and Druids.
Their latest victory, a 122-run mauling of Druids at Shorten Reserve on Saturday, saw them push into fourth place with three rounds to go in the season.
“Two wins away to the old rivals, Sunshine United and Druids, were huge,” Saints captain Rob Nikolic said.
“Those rivalries go back a long time. “The old blokes came down and watched and it puts us in the top four.”
St Albans was in the box seat after posting a commanding 6-257 off 40 overs. Simon Lambert kick-started the Saints innings with 36 at the top of the order.
But it was a 109-run partnership between Arosh Janoda (62 off 71) and Geeth Alwis (70 off 78) that got the Saints on top in the game. Both batsmen scored at a rapid rate, but did so smartly and with little risk.
Once that partnership was broken, Thilina Masmulla joined Alwis for a 61-run stand.
There was plenty of fireworks in their partnership with Masmulla’s 58 coming off just 39 balls.
While there were plenty of boundaries in both partnerships, including three sixes to Alwis, two to Masmulla and one to Janoda, it was impressive how they all worked into their innings, laying a platform before launching.
“We really focused on not losing wickets in clumps,” Nikolic said.
“If we lose one wicket, we start again and try a build a new partnership.
“Blokes like Arosh, Geeth and Masmulla, where they get in, they’re unstoppable, so I just say to them take your time.”
While they had a big score on the board, St Albans never took their foot off the throats of Druids.
The Saints were stellar with the ball and in the field, producing their best performance of the summer to restrict Druids to 8-135 off their 40 overs.
“Today was probably the most complete performance we’ve put together,” Nikolic said.
“We batted well, we had blokes get themselves in and go on to make big scores.
“We also bowled well and fielded well. “When you tick all of those three boxes, you’re going to win games.
“I was pretty happy with the boys that we finally put it all together.”
St Albans will face a modern day rival in Keilor in a crucial two-day game at Kings Park Reserve starting on Saturday. The Saints will host their past players day function on the day.