TWO centurions took South Croydon to the top of the RDCA Lindsay Trollope Shield ladder on Saturday.
Michael King (120 not out) put on a 173-run partnership for the sixth-wicket with Travis Degenhardt (106) to guide the Bulldogs to 6-301, easily passing Mooroolbark's day one total of 107.
When the pair got together at 4-55, the Bulldogs faced a hard road to victory, but their partnership took their side well past the winning margin.
Bulldogs captain-coach Josh Stewart praised the match-winning partnership.
"The game became interesting when we got to 4-55. They worked together and got through a tough period then cashed in later on."
King has a long history of making runs at Premier Cricket level, but his century was his first as a Bulldog. Degenhardt, better known for his bowling, scored his first senior ton.
"The most impressive thing about their innings was the way they complemented each other," Stewart said.
"Travis is an aggressive player who plays his shots, so Michael was really a conduit for Travis in the way he continued to work the ball around and allowed him to be play his natural way."
King batted through the Bulldogs innings. "It was an amazing effort, testament to his concentration and ability to pick the right ball when the game is on the line."
The Bulldogs batted out the day and Stewart believes his side was in desperate need of a long innings. "There were a few reasons why we batted on," he said. "We have got some guys in the side who haven't had much time in the middle in the first couple of games and they benefited from the chance to bat.
"We also wanted to reward Travis and Michael for batting so well in letting them get the chance to get their individual rewards.
Mooroolbark's Matt Whittaker (3-68) was his side's best bowler.
Stewart said the Barkers would continue to trouble sides this season.
"The scoreline makes things look flattering, but it was tough early on and I expect Mooroolbark to again be there or thereabouts at the end."
In other matches, North Ringwood beat Ainslie Park by two runs to inflict the Parkers' first loss of the season. Chasing Ainslie's 125, the Bulls were never comfortable against a steady Parkers' attack with Mark Arnot (4-29) taking bowling honours.
Matt Stoikos (26) and Leigh Jones (25) top scored and it was left to the last three Bulls batsmen to put together 22 runs to get them over the line.
Resuming at 3-24, Warranwood was never in the hunt, chasing Croydon North's 120.
Mark Alexander (4-41) and Nasri Shafiq (3-5) dismantled the remaining Sharks batsmen to have them all out for 90. Batting a second time, the Knights were reduced to 7-90, with Evan Johnson (4-24) doing the damage.
At 2-130 shortly before tea and with Marcus Adams (74) in control, Bayswater Park looked a chance of chasing down Wantirna South's 234.
However, Drew McKay (5-46) and David Ryan (3-27) had other ideas and the Sharks lost 8-41 to be dismissed for a disappointing 177.
Norwood's 8-331 had it chalk up its first win of the season with a comfortable win against South Warrandyte's 232. Chris Irvine (7-88) bowled tirelessly with only Josh Barrett (67) and Ben Neagle (49) able to counter the Vikings' attack.
Lindsay Trollope Shield: South Croydon 24 points, 1.81 per cent; North Ringwood 24, 1.55; Ainslie Park 16, 1.20; Wantirna South 12, 1.19; Mooroolbark 12, 0.61; Bayswater Park 8, 1.08; South Warrandyte Hawks 8, 1.01; Croydon North 8, 0.55; Warranwood 0, 0.87; Norwood 0, 0.55.—Roy Ward and Tony White