BOWLERS took centre stage as Yarra Valley Cricket Association clubs made the most of sunny conditions on Saturday.
In DJ Strachan Shield action, last season's losing semi-finalists, Mt Evelyn and Warburton-Millgrove, staged a close-fought finish at Mt Evelyn as both sides looked to erase the disappointment of last season.
In a scratchy affair, the Burras opened up with the bat and with a solid 67-run opening partnership between Isaac Andreuza (33) and Scott Darwall (37) looked set for a significant score.
Warburton-Millgrove lost its way as exciting young spinner Jed Thompson made his more experienced rivals uncertain as he picked up 6-37 restricting the visitors 147.
In reply, the Rovers innings never took flight as a series of disappointing shots by the top order left their inning teetering.
Youngster Jesse Fraser (49 not out) looked to have rescued the innings, but the introduction of the experienced Luke Darwall (2-2) saw the fall of the final two wickets with the home side one run short.
Seville is another side looking for redemption in season 2012-13 after a disastrous batting collapse in last year's final saw them fall agonisingly short of premiership glory.
Opposing them in this week's action was Healesville, a club that despite its lower grade and junior side successes has had minimal success in the top grade.
Seville opened the action with the bat and looked scratchy at best. At no time did it look like posting a winning score as it folded meekly for 68.
Disciplined bowling from Chance Burridge (4-14), Andy Harrison (2-12) and Brad Chandler (2-19) gave the Blues no opportunities to get out of their batting rut.
In return, the Bloods would've been confident of chasing down the mediocre target.
For the first time in his stint at Seville, former Sri Lankan international, Ishara Amarasinghe was available for action from the first ball of the season and it couldn't have come at a better time for the visitors.
Amarasinghe (5-21) and Matt Tilney (2-14), quickly put the home side on the back foot as they have done to many sides over recent seasons. Despite their small total, captain Dean Troyhan (2-19) ensured that the remainder of wickets were polished off with the Bloods still four runs short.
Yarra Junction hosted Woori Yallock with both sides looking to make a positive start to the season in their quest to return to finals action.
Woori Yallock batted first and found run-scoring tough going against disciplined bowling and slow conditions on the large Yarra Junction Reserve.
Exciting youngster Quentin Hodgkinson (3-10) and the reliable Terry Ottrey (2-11) made sure the Eagles kept things tight, with gifted Tiger all rounder Simon Young (36) ensuring the visitors batted out their overs for a modest 7-101.
With a strong batting line-up and in familiar surrounds, the Eagles would've been confident of chasing down the target.
Tear-away quick Jackson Wright (3-25) quickly put the wind up the home side and with the support of Simon Young (3-17) had the Tigers in front.
Reigning THR Drummond medallist David Lever (35) looked as if he would keep things together for long enough, but as he exited so did the chances of his team, which fell 13 runs short of the target.