Lake Illawarra have put the South Coast Cricket competition on notice after claiming a thumping victory over The Rail.
In a replay of last season's grand final, the Lakers again got the wood over their rivals on Saturday, with the reigning premiers recording a 55-run win at Howard Fowles Sports Oval.
Lakers captain Kerrod White won the toss and elected to bat, and the hosts responded by posting an imposing 9/261 from their 50 overs. White led the charge with an aggressive 83, while Dylan Rae picked up three wickets for the Razorbacks.
In reply, the visitors were cruising at 1/125, before Lake Illawarra fought their way back into the contest.
After Rae fell for 55, The Rail lost wickets at regular intervals as they were bowled out for 206. Will Gamble was the pick of the attack with 4/44 from 10 overs while Ryan Smith chimed in with three wickets.
"I'm very happy with the win," White said.
"We had an injury in the warm up and then the conditions were windy when we were trying to bowl, so it was challenging as captain, and for our bowlers bowling up hill and stuff like that. So I'm stoked that the young kids stood up again and got us home with the ball.
"The Rail will definitely be a contender this year, and with the history over the years between our two clubs, that's the game where everyone wants to stand up.
"So to beat them like that after the grand final last year, and to keep on rolling is definitely a good feeling."
Despite the loss, the Razorbacks still remain on top of the South Coast Cricket first grade ladder, with Ex-Servos and Berry-Shoalhaven Heads pouring on the pressure in second and third place.
The Lakers sit in fourth position, however, White says there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"Our highs and lows have been very far apart. When it's really good, it's really good. And when we're down, I wouldn't say we're down and out, but it's been tough," he said.
"We've got an inexperienced side, although a few of us older blokes are around there. But it's still inexperience in situations and each week, we find ourselves put in different situations with the young guys.
"I think they've handled it pretty well, but the highs and lows are going to be very far apart for the rest of the year."
Elsewhere, Ex-Servos hung on for a thrilling one-wicket win over the Dolphins at Sanctuary Point Oval; Albion Park beat Shellharbour by four wickets at Tom Willoughby Oval; Berry-Shoalhaven Heads thrashed Bomaderry by 179 runs at Berry Sports Complex; and North Nowra Cambewarra claimed a 23-run victory over Kookas at Bernie Reagan Sports Ground.
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