LAKE Albert captain Isaac Cooper says his team is primed to test themselves against competition benchmark South Wagga next week after his six-wicket haul sparked a Wagga RSL batting collapse on Saturday.
After being sent in the Bulldogs began well with Sam Perry (23) and Ethan Perry (25) putting on a 31-run opening partnership, before they lost 10-35 to be dismissed for just 66.
The rout began with a couple of run outs before off-spinner Cooper claimed 6-10 to set up Lake Albert's second win in three games to start the season.
A couple of breakthroughs from Nick Grant (2-20) reduced Lake Albert to 3-24 in their run chase before Cooper (19 not out) and Sam Smith (19 not out) guided them home inside 18 overs with an unbeaten 43-run partnership.
Cooper didn't play for the Bulls last year with a knee injury and said it was pleasing to bounce back after last Sunday's Twenty20 loss to St Michaels.
"It doesn't come around that often for me like that. It's been a while since I got a six-for," Cooper said.
"I got lucky, I just put the ball in OK areas and got the rewards.
"They (RSL) started their batting innings alright but a couple of run outs set the tone, and and we managed to capitalise on a couple of chances."
"Last year I just played a few games back home in Junee. I had some knee issues so I took the year off, but the body's holding up alright so I can't complain at the moment."
Cooper was full of praise for youngster Smith, who has made a huge impact with both bat and ball this season after being promoted from second grade.
The 16-year-old batted lower down the order in reserves but has been a shining light in the top grade coming in at number four, making 29 and taking 5-23 with his spinners in last week's Twenty20 win over Kooringal Colts.
"He's taken on a bit more responsibility with the batting and he's really impressed me this year up the order, and bowling a bit as well," Cooper said.
"It's been a reasonable start to the year so far for us with two wins from three games."
Cooper said they're looking forward to testing their progress against defending premiers South Wagga, who have enjoyed an unbeaten beginning to their title defence.
"The boys are all keen and it will be good to see how we go against the benchmark," Cooper said.
"It's about trying to get on top early. They've obviously got a good batting and bowling line-up so you have to take your chances."
Wagga RSL will look to bounce back immediately when they host Kooringal Colts at Wagga Cricket Ground in another 40-over fixtures this Saturday.