It was only the first small step in Port Kembla's rebuild, but captain Steven Sunderland is hoping Wednesday's Twenty20 win over Dapto will instill some belief in their talented young juniors.
Dapto needed three off the last ball chasing 8-109 in the opening round of the 20-over knockout competition, but were stopped short when Michael Amadio was run out.
Boosted by the return of Sydney grade star Jason Ralston, Port's innings was setup by Sunderland (51) and Daniel Phelps (21), who combined for a 70-run second wicket partnership.
Ralston, Phelps, Ethan Prosser and Cooper Walker-O'Loughlan then snared two wickets each to deny Dapto and move through to the next round against defending champions University on December 1.
"It's only one win, but we've got a lot of brilliant juniors coming through and we want to make sure that we believe in ourselves," Sunderland said.
"There are going to be games where our bell gets rung, but we're seeing the club grow, we've got teams in every junior age this season and a junior girls team.
"We're really fortunate to have Jason Ralston come back to play in this competition and having him bowl that last over.
"He's done a lot of work mentoring our young players and you can see the work behind the scenes starting to show on the field."
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Their next challenge is in the one-day competition against Corrimal at Ziems Park, after the Cougars were beaten by Wests in round one in an otherwise rain-halted start to the season.
Rain again threatens play in the region's cricket competitions, with as much as 15 millimetres predicted on Saturday.
Albion Park are the only team to record a victory in the South Coast season after beating Kiama by 86 runs.
Wests have been the big beneficiaries of the wet and wild start, beating Corrimal, Balgownie and the rain to sit alone at the top of the Illawarra ladder on 14 points.
ALBION PARK v THE RAIL at Keith Gray Oval
KOOKAS v SHELLHARBOUR at Oakleigh Park
KIAMA v LAKE ILLAWARRA at Cavalier Park
BALGOWNIE v UNIVERSITY at Judy Masters Oval
CORRIMAL v PORT KEMBLA at Ziems Park
DAPTO v NORTHERN DISTRICTS at Reed Park
KEIRA v HELENSBURGH at Keira Oval
WESTS v WOLLONGONG at Figtree Oval
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