The Imperil Hotel Tigers were in good shape when Damien Baldwin strode to the crease in a Twenty20 season-opener against the Sign Print Stitch Stars at Kitchener Park on Friday afternoon – the mercury hovering around 40 and the Tigers’ batsmen on fire.
But, in what Tigers co-captain Mitchell Swain says is a truer indication of Baldwin’s talent than his form for Albion this season, the No.5 made sure his side’s good start was not wasted: his 53 not out helping propel the total to 4-193.
Opener Josh Smith (49) and Brad Swain (37) also played key roles for the Tigers.
And then Tigers veteran Troy Sands and teen talent Lachie Barton both claimed three wickets as the Stars were dismissed for 128 in the 17th over.
Skipper Swain paid tribute to Baldwin, who has struggled for Albion this season – scoring only 81 runs in seven innings, at an average of 13.5 and with a highest score of 36.
He described Baldwin’s batting on Friday as “fantastic”.
“I guess as a captain, and I’ve been captaining for a few years now, there’s probably a group of players that I like to pick every year, and Damien Baldwin is certainly one of them,” Swain said.
“I think he’s fairly underrated as a player. He bats really well, can bowl – he bowls little medium-pacers as well.
“I think he’s a fantastic little cricketer … he performs really well for me. So he’s certainly good to have in the side.”
A ball count was not kept on Baldwin’s innings but he struck a six and six fours.
Opener Kaleb McIlveen (45 of 30 balls) top-scored for the Stars.
In the second game at Kitchener Park, the McDonalds Chargers beat the Tamba Industrial Bulls by 35 runs.
After winning the toss and batting, the Chargers made 7-158 – with openers Ryan Cooper (40-ball 58) and Jake Vigor (29-ball 36) top-scoring.
In reply, Bulls opener Adam McGuirk (31-ball 47) top-scored, while James Mack and Farran Lamb both claimed two wickets for the Chargers.