DAY one definitely belonged to the bowlers at Berry Sporting Complex, with 18 wickets falling in Berry-Shoalhaven Heads’ clash with Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen.
While they boast two of the best batting line-ups in the competition, the replay of last year’s grand final has been a very low-scoring affair so far.
Ex-Servos got the opportunity to bat first, but their skipper Daniel Gleeson must have been hoping for a better start after he was out for a duck from the bowling of Ty Cherry.
Cherry did a lot more damage to the Ex-Servos batting line-up, also taking the wickets of Mat Ganderton, Chris Bramley and Blake Morris to finish with figures of 4/44.
Lain Beckett (25) and Trevor Thomason (25 not out) offered some resistance for Ex-Servos, but they could only manage 106 before they were bowled out.
Phil Dell’Orefice had another good day with the ball, taking 3/16, while Brad Carey bowled well with 2/21.
While 106 might not be considered a large total most of the time, it was looking like a big ask when the Magpies got their turn to bat.
Lain Beckett was on song for the defending premiers after making his return from a successful Imparja Cup campaign, creating some real nightmares for the Magpies batsmen.
Beckett picked up experienced campaigners Glenn Brandon and Brad Carey early on and not even the in-form Kerry Penfold had an answer to his bowling after he was caught at short leg for 7.
He was soon on a hat-trick when Dale Lovatt was unable to cope with a brutal bouncer on his first ball, popping up a simple catch to Trevor Thomason in close.
Although he missed out on a hat-trick, Beckett took two more quick wickets to leave the Magpies reeling at 6/29.
The Magpies had a slight reprieve with Nathan Thomas (16) and James Milne (12) weathering the storm for a while, but they were still in real trouble at the close of play.
Blygh Herron (17) and Phil Dell’Orefice (2) were the not out batsmen for Berry, who will resume on day two at 8/78.
Lain Beckett was easily the pick of the bowlers with 7/18, while Shane Phillis also took a wicket.