A HAT-TRICK by Fraser Oates for Cowaramup was the individual highlight in the opening round of A-Grade cricket in the Busselton-Margaret River fixtures on Saturday.
Playing against St Marys at Barnard Park, Oates dismissed Marc Ford (caught), Ben Mattock (bowled) and Jordan Clohessy (lbw) with consecutive deliveries during his spell of 5-20 to join the elite ranks of bowlers who have taken hat-tricks in the top division of the local cricket league.
Runs were at a premium in the opening round of A-Grade cricket, with both games seeing sub-100 totals scored.
Put into bat at Barnard Park, St Marys were bowled out for 97 by Cowaramup, with Ajith Rajapaksha (31) and Marc Ford (16) the best of the batsmen for the home side.
Saints then humbled Cowaramup for 74 to win a tightly-contested game by 23 runs.
Rumesh Silva (25) was the only batsman to reach double figures for Cowaramup in their return to A-Grade cricket.
One of the highlights for St Marys was the debut of left-arm fast bowler Thomas Keeffe, formerly of the Serpentine-Jarrahdale competition in Perth.
Keeffe took 3-7 off seven overs and also held two excellent catches at cover.
Medium pacers Ben Mattock (3-21) and Danny Hatton (3-28) also played important roles in the win for Saints.
Unfortunately the game between St Marys and Cowaramup was marred by poor behaviour, with several players having to face the BMRCA's disciplinary tribunal this week.
At Bovell Park, Yallingup-Oddbods proved too strong for Margaret River Hawks.
Put into bat on a good track, Hawks were dismissed for 71, of which Shane Joyce (33) amassed nearly half the runs.
Evergreen fast bowler Neil Langenhoven (3-13 off seven overs) was the pick of the attack for YOBS, with Ben Payne (3-16) and left-armers Matt Connaughton (2-7) and Jayden Mewett (2-12) also starring.
YOBS had few problems in reaching the target, finishing on 2-72 off 16.4 overs with Luke Wedderburn (39 not out) finding good early season form with the bat.
In B-Grade cricket St Marys also came up trumps, defeating Yallingup-Oddbods by six wickets in another low-scoring encounter on the synthetic wicket at Barnard Park.
Seamer Kevin Rice collected the first five wickets of the game in a devastating spell of 5-15 as YOBS slumped to a disastrous 7-30 before making a partial recovery to finish on 90 all out.
James Whiteford (33) was easily the top scorer for YOBS.
Saints knocked off the runs with contributions from Ash Leaney (35) and Ryan Lohr (32) to finish on 4-94 after 19.4 overs.
Vasse comfortably accounted for Dunsborough in the other B-Grade game, played at Dunsborough.
Batting first, Vasse were reduced to 8-84 thanks to a great performance by Elijah Truscott (5-16 off nine overs) for Dunsborough.
Tom Perks (48) and Shane Bromilow (39 not out) then came together for a match-deciding stand of 95 for the ninth wicket as Vasse finished their 45 overs on 9-185.
Dunsborough were humbled for just 54 all out in reply, with Nathan McClymont bagging six wickets in a sensational debut for Vasse against his former club.
This Saturday's opening round of C-Grade cricket will see YOBS face off against YOBS Academy in their inaugural derby, while Dunsborough host Cowaramup, St Marys play Vasse, and Nannup are at home to Margaret River Hawks.