Centrals Wanderers skipper Gareth Faul strode to the Jack Brabham 2 crease on Saturday with his side three down after Orange City sparked a mini-collapse, and promptly belted the Warriors' attack to all corners on his way to 99.
After walloping 113 against CYMS Kellys just seven days earlier, the scene was set perfectly for Faul to post his second Orange District Cricket Association Third Grade ton in as many weeks, and his teammates' raucous celebrations were primed.
He'd already hammered six boundaries and four maximums so, naturally, he confidently looked to go big again and skipped down the wicket to Orange City tweaker Gus Cornish (4-29), but was beaten, and Warriors' gloveman Lawson Hamling whipped the bails off.
While Faul fell agonisingly short of a second straight ton, his innings inspired the Wanderers to their fourth victory from the opening five rounds, one that crucially keeps them in touch with competition leaders Spring Hill.
Jake Kopp (25) and C Johnson (28) added 56 for the first wicket before they and Nic Freedman (7) fell in quick succession to bring Faul to the crease, he and Sean Kelly (60) piling runs on in a quick-fire, 19-over-over partnership.
Kelly was actually stumped in the same Cornish set as Faul, the 37th, but the damage had been done as the Wanderers posted a formidable 7-256 from their 40 overs.
But for Andrew Rutledge's second straight half century, he made 52, Orange City offered little resistance in being skittled for 132. Kelly backed up with the ball, taking 3-39 to complete a strong all-round performance.
The result of Spring Hill's clash with the Gladstone was unavailable at time of publication while Cavaliers (2-86) defeated Centrals White (84) and CYMS Bourkes (3-102) took down Kellys (7-98) in their green and gold Third Grade derby.
Max Pearce pumped an unbeaten 65 to lead Cavaliers to a narrow, chasing win in Second Grade, the maroons successfully running down Centrals' 176 with four wickets and an over to spare. Joel Thomas starred with the ball for Cavaliers too, taking 5-25 from his eight overs.
In the other Second Grade game Kinross stunned reigning champions Orange City in a low-scoring thriller.
The students' bowlers shared the wickets as their skittled the Warriors for just 99 at Kinross Main Oval, and edged home by one wicket with just three balls to spare.
They looked to be cruising at 3-63 before usual gloveman Troy O'Keeffe (3-15) sparked a collapse to the tune of 5-14, Arnie Tancred (4 not out) and Nelson Shepherd (4 not out) eventually nudged the students home in the final over.
Kinross Blue (8-136) continued their unbeaten start to the Centenary Cup season with a derby win over Kinross White (131) while CYMS (3-156) easily accounted for Orange City (9-153).
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