A decision to try off-spin for the first time paid off for one of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's brightest prospects.
Port Fairy's Sam Allen finished with impressive figures of 3-5 off six overs - a spell which included four maidens - as Warrnambool Blue accounted for Wimmera-Mallee on day one of Horsham under 15 country week on Monday.
Allen, who made his WDCA division one debut for the Pirates earlier this season, aged just 14, also combined with Brierly-Christ Church's Matthew Gome for a 114-run match-winning partnership.
Allen top-scored with 75 and Gome chipped in with 55 as Warrnambool Blue recorded an eight-wicket win at Dimboola.
"It was very nice to play on a great day and it was a great wicket today so I really enjoyed it," Allen said.
The Emmanuel College student said he was dealing with bowling woes prior to the match.
"I was having a bit of difficulty with it (leg spin) and I decided to give it up and dad (Gareth) said 'you may as well bowl' so I tried off-spin," Allen said. "It was my first game playing off-spin and it worked out well."
Allen said Gome was "great to bat with".
"He's really positive out in the middle and if you do a false shot he'll tell you but he'll tell you how to fix it," he said.
Playing division one was the teenager's pre-season goal. Now he wants to cement a spot in the Pirates' First XI. "It's a great experience. The boys really get around me and it's really welcoming," Allen, who also plays football for Port Fairy, said.
"You know if you accidentally mis-field or do a bad ball they're always cheering you up, telling you to move on and get the next one."
Warrnambool Blue coach Jason Mungean was rapt with his players' first-up efforts.
"The first few overs we were a little bit erratic and they got off to a bit of a flyer and we did well to peg them back to 144," he said.
"Sam, Matt and Brock Gannon - all spinners - came on and slowed the run rate down and gave us something a bit easier to chase.
"Sam came in at number three and was really solid. He just turned the strike over when he and Mat Gome built a partnership," he said.
"It was a big ground (at Dimboola) so there wasn't many boundaries but lots of ones and twos."
Charlie James snared 4-10 as Warrnambool Gold skittled Horsham for 76 in its opening match.
Warrnambool Gold coach Jeremy Alexander said the Merrivale-aligned medium pacer "had a day out".
"He had Scotty Boland-like bowling figures," he said.
"It was a really good performance, bowled really full and straight which was what was required.
"He rattled through their middle order."
Alexander said Warrnambool Gold had six wicket-takers which was "positive for the group".
"We had them on the ropes quite early, had a wicket in the first over and from there they fell pretty consistently," he said.
Hamilton recorded a confidence-boosting 155-run win over Portland and Taj Podger claimed 3-16 as South West disposed of Western Barbarians by eight wickets.
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