IN the opening two rounds of the YVCA's DJ Strachan Shield one fact has become clear: teams have to take their chances.
For Mt Evelyn and Seville, the two clubs will be experiencing different ends of the fickle nature of cricket.
For the second week in a row, the Blues will be counting themselves lucky to escape with two close fought wins, while the Rovers will be ruing two lost opportunities.
Mt Evelyn won the toss and elected to bat. After an early onslaught from opening bowlers Ishi Amarasinge and Matt Tilney, captain Kane Jones (47) and Shane Luck, although scratchy, managed to steady the ship and give a base for the visitors to build on.
The wicket of Jones immediately after drinks put a huge dent in the Rovers' ability to put on runs and despite batting most of their overs, 125 looked a little short of a pass mark.
And short it looked as Seville openers Leigh Atkins and Scott Rackham looked relatively comfortable in taking the score to 60 without the fall of a wicket.
Three quick wickets either side of the drinks break turned the game as an inspired spell of bowling from Luck and Jones slowly but surely tipped things in Mt Evelyn's favour.
With some toing and froing, it came down to the last over and with 10 runs to get, a couple of lusty blows from the bat of Burns quickly finished off the game and Seville escaped with the points.
Healesville rectified their agonising round three loss with victory against Woori Yallock. For the second week in a row, the Bloods gave their followers plenty of grey hairs and heart palpitations as they struggled to chase a low total.
Woori Yallock opened proceedings and struggled to be all out for 106 with no batsman making any real impact on the scoreboard. Chance Burridge (3-35) impressed again with his ability to get key wickets while supported by the ever-reliable medium pace of former captain Steve James (4-29).
In reply, the Bloods coughed and spluttered as they nearly made a meal of the chase. Hard-working Tigers all rounder Simon Young put the screws on the innings early, and at no stage did the visitors look at ease chasing.
A bright cameo from Mark Powell (30) kept the Bloods' noses in front and they managed to do what they couldn't a week ago —secure victory in a tight contest by one wicket.
Hoddles Creek are fast becoming one of the more admired clubs around the association after a hard-fought win against Yarra Junction.
Having battled away from home last season, early season rains have made their home ground unplayable. With limited practice facilities, compounded by injuries and players leaving, the Wombats have had a less than ideal preparation for the season.
Yarra Junction batted first, and in a continuing trend across the association, failed to bat out their allotted overs. Young gun Trav Nightingale was the mainstay of the innings with 38, and despite not batting out the overs, 121 would be a tough total to chase on the well-grassed Yarra Junction oval. Quick Nick Bark impressed with 3-14, while Simon Garside (3-19) kept things tight.
In reply, the Wombats battled hard for points against an Eagles bowling line-up intent on securing the home side's first victory this season.
Spinner Daniel Lever (3-26) and youngster Quentin Hodgkinson (2-17) ensured the Eagles were always in the contest. However, a determined effort with the bat from Garside (45) ensured his all-round efforts were rewarded with victory for his side with two wickets remaining.
The blowout for the weekend was the clash between Coldstream and Warburton-Millgrove, as the defending premiers flexed their muscles for the second week running and made short work of the Burras.
For the second consecutive week, the Crocs batsmen looked the most assured of all Strachan Shield teams as they posted a significant score of 9-159. Opener Stephen Phillips was the Crocs' mainstay, being the innings' anchor with a classy 61.
The Burras' woes with the bat continued as they never looked in the contest and were quickly disposed for 66.
Relative unknowns to the competition Carl Dikshei (4-35) and Harry Burnett (3-7) made short work of the home side and ensured that Coldstream will be the team to beat as its depth and multiple contributors make it the complete side.