St Michaels opening batsman Michael Mitchell didn’t take long to find his feet.
The Englishman arrived in Wagga just over a week ago, but made his presence felt in the first round of the Twenty20 competition on Saturday.
He finished unbeaten on 70 as the Saints cruised to victory against South Wagga at Geoff Lawson Oval.
Captain-coach Ryan Forsyth was impressed by how Mitchell adapted to the conditions early.
“He was really good,” Forsyth said.
“The wicket was fairly tough to bat on early but it was a really composed innings and he built his total.
“He kept rotating the strike early on then picked up a few boundaries later in his innings.
“It was really impressive.”
It wasn’t Mitchell who impressed but the team as a whole.
“We had a core group of players who were there last year but also saw a couple of new fellas come in and a couple of young fellas come in and play,” Forsyth said.
“Each individual did their thing when required.”
Despite losing fellow opener Luke Hipwell (0) early, Mitchell and Forsyth set up the 22-run victory.
They put on 88 before Forsyth was dismissed by Joel Robinson for 42.
Fellow Englishman James Evans chimed in late, scoring 11 runs off four balls, to help St Michaels to 3-146 from their 20 overs.
The Blues started their run chase well at 1-62, but two keys wickets to Evans plus a run out by Forsyth halted their momentum.
Evans bowled out the Blues’ top scorer Jeremy Rowe (33) and also removed Brayden Ambler (32) to help put his time in the box seat.
In the meantime Forsyth ran out the returning Alex Jones for three.
South Wagga couldn’t sustain their required run rate and finished their overs on 6-124.
Forsyth and Evans finished with two wickets each to their credit.
“We built to a really competitive total and were able to bowl to it,” Forsyth said.
“Part of that was our fielding and while it is only early days we were pleased.”
Forsyth was also impressed with the efforts with youngsters Damon Hardinge, who opened the attack, and Jack Mason with the ball.
In a clash of two winning sides to start the season, St Michaels take on Wagga City on Saturday.
South Wagga will be looking to fire back against Wagga RSL while Kooringal Colts and Lake Albert are both out to record their first wins of the season when they go head-to-head.
The top four teams qualify for the finals to be played on October 21.