By Justin Flynn
Collendina started its season with a hard-fought win against gutsy A1 Grade newcomers St Leonards.
The Cobras batted first at St Leonards and things were looking up for the Saints when gun batsman Ben Ricardo fell for a duck.
Co-coaches Curtly Balshaw and Nathan Walter then steadied the innings with a 31-run stand, but Walter succumbed to youngster Sam Roberts for a brisk 22 from 26 deliveries.
Balshaw and all-rounder Andy Higgins combined for a 62-run partnership with Higgins making 25 from 65.
Balshaw eventually departed for a patient 33 from 90 balls while Robert Stonehouse rounded off the innings with an unbeaten 25 from 26 to give the Cobras a score of 7/150.
Charlie Lamb then put Collendina on top with two wickets to have the Saints reeling at 2/10.
Saints skipper Andrew Spenghler tried valiantly to lift his side with a superb 59 from 54 balls and Roberts chimed in with 25 from 29 balls.
At 9/121 the game appeared over but Alex Bonner and Chris Hockey gave the Saints a glimmer of hope until spinner Jacob Gasier (3/20) took the last wicket to win the game by 19 runs.
Jye Hearps took 3/37 for the Snakes and Lamb’s two early wickets were crucial in the win.
“We didn’t do much wrong with the ball,” Walter said.
“Spenghler hit them really well. Curtly (Balshaw) batting for almost 40 overs as an anchor gave Higgo (Higgins) and Rob (Stonehouse) the chance to be able to swing in the middle and late stages.
“Composure at the end when they looked threatening was great by the bowlers. Jye (Hearps) was massive to wrestle back the game when they took control a bit in the middle stage and get things back on our terms after a good start.”
The Cobras face flag favourites Anglesea at home tomorrow while the Saints will start favourites away at Barwon Heads.
Collendina staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Winchelsea in B2 Grade.
Batting first Dina was 1/53 with Sam Tucker making a fine 40, but at 8/83 things looked dire.
Dave Treharne then entered the fray and slammed 37 not out while young Max McLachlan remained patient to be unbeaten on 14. The Cobras ended up with a competitive 8/138.
Treharne then completed a player-of-the-match performance, taking 4/10 with his left-arm seamers to bowl Winch out for 126.
Dean Britt and McLachlan snared two scalps each in what was the most unlikely of victories at one point.
Jan Juc gave Collendina a lesson in C1 Grade.
The Sharks made 3/255 batting first with Xavier Huxtable crafting 105 not out. Seamer Clynt Combridge was the best bowler with 2/27.
In reply, the Cobras at least batted their overs out, making 6/120 with Garry Wingrave starting the season well by making 54. Peter Mohr (20) was the only other batsman to make double figures.
Jan Juc got the better of Collendina in D Grade.
Dina made a competitive 9/151 batting first with Chris Pitfield (28) and Julian Wilson (25) the mainstays.
In reply the Sharks made 4/169 with Sam Beasley the best of the bowlers with 2/17 from eight overs. Justin Miller took 2/37.