EMERALD Brothers' captain Chris O'Shea couldn't believe his luck, caught out two shy of a century on 98 runs in their opening Central Highlands senior cricket clash with Clermont at the weekend.
"It was a full toss and would have been the first one I miss-hit all day," O'Shea said.
The captain's knock supplemented a blistering start to the new season for Brothers, posting a hefty 309 run chase for Clermont.
Emerald's Jason King pitched in with a solid 65 runs to the team total, as did Calvin Murray with 20.
Defending premiers Clermont, who were playing with almost half their regular team line-up missing, could offer little resistance against a well-stocked Emerald force. The battlers reached just 60 runs in reply, 249 runs short of their target.
"It was just a good old fashioned hiding," Clermont spokesman Dave Flower said.
Fifteen-year-old Marcus Schrader's 20-run effort was Clermont's only saviour in a side well below its best.
After a number of appearances in the Highlands top grade last year, the youngster looks to have made a good impression on Flower - one of Clermont's latest recruits.
"He (Marcus) definitely holds his own, there's no doubt about that," Flower said.
The former Rolleston player said while their opening game didn't turn out as well as they could have hoped, it was still early days in the competition.
"We should have a full strength side this week," he said.
"All going to plan we should be right up there in contention."
Justin Stark did the damage in the bowling stakes for Clermont, taking 3-41. He was well supported by Sharma who finished with 3-58.
Brothers' captain O'Shea was cautiously optimistic about what lies in store for them this season.
He said the early indications were good, but added there were still a few areas in need of a little ironing out.
"It's the first game of the season and there's a bit of rust there," he said. "We've picked up a few new players, so, yeah, it's going to be good."
O'Shea said a Central Highlands premiership was very much on their radar.
"It would mean a lot to us," he said. "The last couple of years we go alright at the start of the season, but then seem to peter off."
Brothers needed just 23 of their 40 overs to dismiss Clermont's batsmen.
The standout's in the bowling attack being Brad Jenkinson and young-gun Cameron Keene.
"They ripped straight into them," O'Shea said of his two star bowlers.
Blackwater claimed a forfeit from Emerald Magpies at the weekend, which are in desperate need of players.
Magpies' captain Robert Gale said while the outlook may appear bleak, they're remaining hopeful for a stronger showing in the coming weeks.
"It's just a matter of getting the players together," he said. "The problem is everyone's busy with work and other commitments.
"Hopefully we can get a team together this week."
However their task won't be getting easier any time soon, facing up to inter-town rivals Emerald Brothers tomorrow. Gale said anyone interested in playing is invited to make their way to Rundle Park and make themselves known.
Blackwater v Rolleston at Blackwater
Springsure v Clermont at Springsure
Magpies v Brothers at Rundle Park
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