Merrivale captain and co-coach Josh Stapleton says his young players played a significant role in his team's first win of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association season on Saturday.
Teenagers Theo Opperman (32 not out) and Flynn Wilkinson (14) helped their side to 6-143 against Wesley CBC in the one-dayer at Walter Oval.
Their contribution was significant given the Beavers could only manage 94 in the division one clash.
"The most pleasing thing for Jez (co-coach Jeremy Burgess) and I was just being able to see them go about their business, and in the manner we wanted them to as well," Stapleton said.
The Tigers captain said the youngsters were taking feedback on board.
He said Opperman, 16, was "probably hitting the ball the best out of anybody at the club".
"He's taken that next step this season," Stapleton said.
The Tigers mentor also heaped praise on Wilkinson, who has played with the Western Waves.
"He's a very good talent for a kid of his age," he said.
"They're both ready-made cricketers."
The young guns stepped up in the absence of Burgess who injured his thigh during the week.
Stapleton said he hoped to have his co-coach back for his team's two-dayer against Russells Creek this weekend.
The Tigers will be looking to get off to a good start after only taking out one of the one-day matches.
Stapleton said his side's bowling and fielding had been on point this season.
He was pleased with Jarrod Petherick's tidy 3-8 against the Beavers.
"He bowled really well," he said.
"He's benefited from a full training regime."
Stapleton said Petherick hadn't been able to train consistently in the past due to university commitments in Ballarat.
But he said the bowler had been back home more due to the university break.
The Tigers were also sharp in field on Saturday with two run outs.
"They're free wickets when you get run outs and it gets the team up and about," Stapleton said.
But the Tigers leader said his group's batting was an area for improvement.
Opener Daniel Pearson (38) was Merrivale's top-scorer on Saturday.
Stapleton said he is looking forward to the two-dayers getting under way.
"We've been pretty good at the 80-over game for a long time," he said.
"All our lads have been brought up on 80 overs.
"We know how to map those games.
"I think we're better suited to the two-dayers.
"But everyone has got to adapt (to the different forms)."
The Tigers skipper said he felt the competition was more even this season.
"The really good teams are getting pushed," he said.
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