Premier Cricket: Melbourne wins opener

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MELBOURNE’S Premier Cricket season got off to the best possible start with a win over North Melbourne in a weather-affected match at Junction Oval.

With daylight savings not taking effect until the early hours of Sunday morning the one-day game began at 10am and spotty morning rain affected the chances of a full match.

North Melbourne won the toss and batted first, but was able to face only 28 overs out of a possible 50.

Carl Sandri top-scored with 24 not out from 46 balls but it was an otherwise sorry day for North. They lost wickets consistently, eventually reaching 7/81 at the close of their innings.

A 34-run partnership between Sandri and James Damjanovski (12 off 53) was the only time North appeared to have some control.

Patrick Smith was the chief destroyer for Melbourne, taking 4/24 off seven overs to ensure his side would be chasing a small total. He was helped by fellow opener Chris Thompson, who bowled three maidens in nine overs and took 1/24.

Set a revised target under the Duckworth-Lewis method, Melbourne reached 4/72 off 14.3 overs for a win. Robert Cooper scored 34 not out off 48 balls to do most of the damage, but former Australian test batsman Brad Hodge managed only 10, caught by Damjanovski after scoring two fours from 11 balls.

Matthew Stevenson was expensive for North Melbourne, going for 29 runs from his five overs, but took two wickets to give North a slight hope.

ST KILDA lost to Fitzroy/Doncaster in another weather-affected match at Schramms Reserve in Doncaster.

Fitzroy/Doncaster skipper Lloyd Mash won the toss and wisely sent St Kilda into bat, which saw them coughing and spluttering to 6/71 off 32.3 overs. Matthew Frith top-scored for the Saints with 27 from 68 balls.

In response Fitzroy/Doncaster lost just two wickets for 51 runs as they reached their revised target from just 10.1 overs. Mash set the tone with 19 from just 12 balls.

Three of the nine games in the opening round were drawn due to wash-outs.

Melbourne plays Carlton in a one-day match on Saturday while St Kilda will take on Richmond.

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