APPRENTICE electrician Braden Hotker sparked Grassmere's charge to second on the ladder with a century against Panmure Pups in a big round five win on Saturday.
Hotker smashed 108 his third A grade ton in 11 months as the Meerkats rattled up 6-267 from 40 overs.
The 20-year-old played down suggestions he had unlocked a secret to big scores despite making two half centuries already this season.
Saturday's knock took his personal tally to 271 runs at an average of 67.75.
"They were coming out all right," he said.
Hotker said he was unaware he was a chance to make a ton.
"I didn't even realise I was getting close," the right-hander said.
"Their wicketkeeper kept saying 'you would have to be close to 100' but I thought I would have 70-odd.
"Then everyone starting clapping for the hundred."
He said he was grateful no one had told him.
"I reckon if I had known I was in the 90s I would have started getting nervous," Hotker said.
The number three said he benefited from a strong start by openers captain Chris Lenehan (64) and Craig Spikin (14), who shared a 58-run stand. He then shared a 56-run stand for the second wicket with Lenehan before he and Aaron Moyne (52) shared a 136-run stand for the third wicket.
Hotker was dismissed in the last over of the innings by Pups bowler Tom Mahony, who then claimed the wicket of Zappa Jenkins' first ball to find himself on a hat-trick.
Veteran Peter Sedgley denied Mahony the hat-trick.
In reply, Moyne capped a fine all-round performance, taking 4-13 off six overs with his left-arm pace deliveries as the Pups were dismissed for 79.
Hotker said the Meerkats (four wins and one loss) were keen to maintain their form in Saturday's clash with neighbouring rival Purnim.
"We're going along good," he said.
"We just lost the first game and we didn't bowl too well.
"We are starting to come good.
"Training has picked up and everyone is getting to training which helps."
In other matches, Killarney maintained its unbeaten record after five games with a win over fifth-placed Hawkesdale. An all-round performance by Jamie Hore inspired the Crabs, top-scoring with 40 in their 7-141, before taking 3-16 off eight overs as they restricted Hawkesdale to 7-104.
Defending premier Panmure Bulldogs prevailed in a tight contest against Purnim.
Chasing Purnim's 5-147, which was built on the back of Chris Smith's unbeaten 40, the Bulldogs finished at 5-153 off 36 overs.
Wangoom Roosters' batting struggles continued in its heavy loss to Yambuk.
Captain Nick Kermond (30) was one of only two batsmen to make double figures in the Roosters 86, bowled out in 35.1 overs. An unbeaten 51 from veteran opener Stephen Gleeson ensured Yambuk reached the target early, finishing at 4-127 in the 26th over.
The win took Yambuk into the four, a win behind the third-placed Bulldogs, which have a 4-1 win/loss record.