NESTLES co-captain Scott Kelly says his side is just a consistent bowling performance away from posting its first win of the season.
The Factory has put itself in the box seat to break its season duck after posting a testing 214 against East Warrnambool YCW at Jones Oval.
Brett Eldridge hit 71 at first drop and opener Jyles Lebler made 41, both season-best efforts, as last year’s grand finalist found form with the bat.
The score was the highest across the six Warrnambool and District Cricket Association top-grade matches, five of which were on turf for the first time this season.
The collective batting display did its best to overshadow the efforts of East opening bowler Jason Alberts. Alberts, who took just one wicket in the opening three rounds, finished with the best figures of any division one bowler —7-62 from an energy-sapping 31 overs.
Kelly said he believed 214 would be enough to get Nestles over the line. “We are confident if we bowl the way we need to bowl, 214 will be enough,” he said.
“It could’ve been more. We were 1-125 at tea. Things were going our way.
“East Warrnambool came out after tea and tightened the screws, full credit to them. To get 214, we would’ve taken that at the start of the day.”
Kelly said Nestles “expect nothing less” from Eldridge, who discovered his touch after making just one in his first game of the campaign last weekend.
“He got run out, which was the only way he looked like going out.” He said the Factory welcomed the start of two-day cricket, after it came close but failed to win its opening one-day matches.
“I don’t think it’s been anything dramatically wrong. We haven’t been flogged in any of our games,” he said.
“It’s just a few moments here and there in the one-dayers on hard wickets. You have 15 or 20-minute lapses and the game has got away. We were excited to get back into two-day cricket on turf pitches and big ovals.
“We’ll be backing ourselves in the two-dayers to play better for longer.”
In other matches, Tim McDonald and Brett Membery each reached 40 as Allansford posted 6-172 against Russells Creek at Jetty Flat.
Bowlers dominated day one of the Port Fairy-Brierly Christ Church match at Avery’s Paddock.
The Bulls were all out for 96 in 43.1 overs, before the Pirates stumbled to 4-69 by stumps. Pirate Sam McCartney took 6-26 to claim the bowling performance of the day.
Dennington is 0-21 in pursuit of Nirranda’s 151 at Dennington.
Glenn Dalton and Allan Wallace top scored with 25 each for the Knights, while Dogs captain Dustin Drew took 4-13 from 12.2 overs.
Woodford made 9-154, thanks to 42 from Adam Wines, against Merrivale at Merrivale. Tigers openers Damien Barnes, 3-28, and Adam Melville, 3-36, were the pick of the bowlers.
And West Warrnambool has set Wesley CBC 193 for victory after reaching 9-192 at Brierly in the only game played yesterday.
Panthers captain Ben Dobson top scored with 50, while Tom Bowman took five wickets for the Beavers.