HOMERS started its premiership defence in the best possible fashion, disposing of last year’s grand final opponents Rup-Minyip by one wicket at Rupanyup on Saturday.
The Blue Panthers won the toss and batted first, but never really looked comfortable and lost wickets regularly on their way to 9-171.
South African quick Siphe Mzayidume did the bulk of the damage on his way to 4-26 off 10 overs on debut, with Simon Hopper, 3-30 off 10, and another first-gamer in Craig Britten, 2-35 off nine, also impressing.
No Rup-Minyip batsman reached a half-century, with Andrew Newall’s 44 the best score.
The Homers’ top four batsmen all made starts but couldn’t go on with it, leaving it to lower-order pair Tim Hopper and Britten to get them home.
Britten, 42, and Hopper, 26 not out, put on 51 for the seventh wicket before Mital Vyas, 14 not out, scored some invaluable runs at the end.
The Pigeons went past Rup-Minyip’s total with one wicket in hand.
Emerging paceman Tom McDonald showcased his talents in Horsham Saints’ six-wicket win over Laharum at Cameron Oval.
The teenager claimed 4-35 including the prized scalps of Damien Bunworth and Glenn Doyle as the Saints avenged last season’s round one loss.
Left-hander Ben Peucker rode his luck on the way to a team-high 46 before he was caught by Josh Carroll in the deep off Shannon Waterworth’s bowling.
A score of less than 100 was on the cards before some lusty lower-order hitting from Mal Adams, 31, and Dan Mibus, 20 not out, got the Mountain Men to 140 all out.
The pair put on 47 for the ninth wicket, with Mibus playing some elegant shots through the vacant third-man area.
Horsham Saints were cruising in their run chase at 0-76 before losing 4-15.
Clint King, 55, and Carroll, 21 not out, were the Saints’ batting heroes, with the former smashing six sixes in his quickfire innings.
Jung Tigers easily accounted for Colts at Dimboola Road oval by five wickets.
Colts were rolled for 137 thanks to a four-wicket haul from veteran Tiger Marty Knight. Aaron Emmerson dominated with the bat in Jung’s comfortable chase, top-scoring with 90 before he was bowled by sibling Nathan.
In the final game of the round, Blackheath-Dimboola caused somewhat of an upset over Noradjuha-Toolondo at Noradjuha.
A captain’s knock of 61 from Lachlan Watts led the Bulls to 7-183, with the Bullants falling 19 runs short.
Oliver Braithwaite took 5-29 for Blackheath-Dimboola, with Justin Combe the pick of the Bullants bowlers, taking 4-36.Josh Colbert, 52, and David Combe, 37, put on a gritty 85-run stand for the fifth wicket, but it wasn’t enough for Noradjuha-Toolondo to get over the line.