The struggles continue for reigning T20 and one-day Cricket Illawarra premiers Northern Districts Butchers.
Having struggled in the T20 competition and failed to qualify for this season's decider early next month, the Butchers' defence of their one-day title also got off to a rocky start on Saturday, losing to Keira Lions by five-wickets at Keira Oval.
But Wollongong, the team Northern Districts beat in last season's one-day final, have had a much better time of things in season 2023-24.
The Lighthouse Keepers will contest the T20 final against Keira on November 10 and on Saturday kicked off their one-day campaign with a crushing 261-run victory over Balgownie.
Wollongong batted first at North Dalton Park and compiled a massive 5-320 from their 50 overs thanks in large parts to an almost 150-run partnership between Cooper Maddinson (153) and skipper Toby Dodds (46).
Maddinson, who faced just 142 balls, was particularly ruthless on the attack with 94 of his 153 runs coming from boundaries, including three massive sixes.
Dodds said that was one of the best centuries he had seen his No 3 batsman play.
"It seemed like every shot Cooper played hit the middle of the bat, it was something special," Dodds said.
"He's a quality player, he's looked like he could pull something like that off for a few years now. He's been batting well and yesterday it came off.
"It was unbelievable standing at the other end watching it."
Dodds, who is a carrying a back injury and playing as a batsman only for the first six weeks of the competition, added his role was to give as much of the strike to Maddinson as possible.
"I was just playing as a batter on Saturday really and I was just trying to dink it around and get Maddo on strike. The way he was hitting them, we were always going to get a big score."
Maddinson's impressive knock came on the back of handy contributions from Wollongong openers Jayden Zahra-Smith (33) and Ethan Debono, who smashed 37 from just 21 balls.
Balgownie struggled in reply with only two of their batters reaching double figures, opener Shannon Crewdson (16) and lower-order batter Kody Freeman(29).
Four batters were dismissed without scoring a run as Bally mustered only 9-59 in response.
Wollongong bowler David Wood did most of the damage with the ball, snaring 6-18 from his 10 overs.
Cooper Bramley(2-21) and Pushpinder Jassal (1-20) also bowled well.
Meantime, Wests Illawarra captain Udara Jayasundara spearheaded his team to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Corrimal at Figtree Oval on the back of an impressive bowling spell which saw him snare 6-10 from five overs.
Jayasundara combined with Harry Egerton (2-22) and Lachlan Welsh (2-16) to dismiss Corrimal for just 91.
Wests lost just Jason Kriss (31) in their response of 1-97, with Bailey Abela (41) and Nicolas Nicastri (16) the not out batsmen.
Jayasundara was an "extremely proud and happy captain" after the match.
'We had four or five under 18 players in our squad and were lacking experience but all the youngsters played really well," he said.
"I was especially pleased with our young bowlers Harry [Egerton] and Lachlan [Welsh]. Bailey [Abela] and Nic [Nicastri] also did very well with the bat.
"I was expecting it was going to take four or five weeks for us to be anywhere near our best but to play so good and win our first game of the season is really pleasing.
"I'm extremely proud of my young team."
In the only other round one game to go ahead Keira Lions did well to secure a five-wicket victory over the visiting Northern Districts after the Butchers could only manage 9-106 batting first.
Matthew Salakas (28 retired not out) was the only Northern Districts batter to pass 20, while Keira was well served in the bowling department by Blake Cattle (3-15) and Troy Coleman (2-23).
The Lions started their run chase poorly losing three quick wickets before Zach Churchill (44) and Aaryn Kornberger (39) guided the home team to victory.
Heavy rain on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday meant the IPPC v Port Kembla and Dapto v University fixtures were abandoned without a ball bowled.
Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.