Like a fine bottle of wine, Gino Saracino just gets better with age.
The Old Students veteran and premiership star guided his side to a sensational victory against Tatura on Saturday.
Tatura won the toss and elected to bat at Howley Oval, all out for a competitive 239 off 40 overs.
But cometh the moment, cometh the man.
Saracino, a school teacher to most of his opponents, gave a cricketing lesson, well a masterclass, in fact, smashing the winning runs with a six over mid-wicket to finish unbeaten on 83 off 80 balls, guiding the Students to 5-240.
‘‘He is all class, he pulled it out of the bag when we needed him most,’’ Students coach Daniel Coombs said.
‘‘We were always sort of on track with the run rate, but we lost a few wickets and then he saw us all the way home.’’
Felix Odell (70) was also instrumental in the chase, striking a 111-run partnership with Nick Breslin (39) to get the Students off to the best possible start.
Odell continued his impressive start to the season, backing up from last week’s 83 and Coombs hoped that form could continue.
‘‘He is looking in really good nick at the moment and hopefully that continues,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘He has his eye in, he is playing some brilliant strokes and I feel he and Nick really got us going early on.’’
However, the result could have been completely different for Students, for the second time in as many weeks, who failed to take their chances in the field.
Tatura coach Tim Kelly (77) was dropped, albeit in a half chance, when he was still in single figures, as was opening batsman Michael Archer (44).
‘‘We have been okay with the ball,’’ Coombs said.
‘‘It was a difficult wicket, but I feel we just need to capitalise on our chances in the field and the game could have been completely different.’’
Saracino caught Mat Cornwall for a duck, while former Central Park-St Brendan’s youngster Connor Hayes (53) was also caught out after he spent just more than an hour at the crease.
Tatura has begun the Haisman Shield season with back-to-back losses, but it is not panic stations just yet for Kelly.
‘‘It does put us on the back foot to start the season,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘In saying that, I do feel we have the quality in our side to match it with any team, but we just need to work our fielding — to be honest, it wasn’t up to A-grade standard.
‘‘I feel sorry for our bowlers, they shouldn’t be ashamed of how they bowled it is just that Old Students batted really well and we were slack in the field.’’
Not only with the bat were Archer and Kelly damaging, but the pair also took five wickets between them, with the latter hopeful more players would continue to step up.
‘‘We had a few contributors on Saturday, we probably just needed one of our top four batsmen to go on and make 100,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘Archer and Hayes batted really well, while our bowlers were let down by those in the field. We just were not proactive in the field.’’
Tatura 239 (Tim Kelly 77, Connor Hayes 53, Michael Archer 44, Brendan Crouch 3-36) lost to Old Students 5-240 (Gino Saracino 83 not out, Felix Odell 70, Nick Breslin 39, Tim Kelly 3-42).
Gino Saracino (Old Students): The veteran turned back the clock on Saturday, producing a match-winning knock.
Saracino led the charge as he smashed 11 fours and six on his way to 83 not out off 80 balls, guiding Students to their first win of the season.