FORMER Yenda skipper Tom Spry believes the Jets can truly contend for this season's GDCA title after breaking their duck with a shock win over struggling powerhouse Exies.
Keeping in theme with a season that so far has brought upset after upset, the Jets stormed to a 30-run win on Saturday at Exies No.2 Oval against a side heavily tipped to take out the entire competition.
Exies are now the only local side without a win following a result that has suddenly filled the Yenda camp with confidence, on the back of two listless performances with the bat.
Spry believes if the Jets can produce performances like Saturday's more often, they are in with a real shot at glory this season.
"We've always thought we could compete with the top teams over previous seasons, our problem has been competing with the sides around us," he told The Area News.
"I think last year we beat Exies and Coro, but it's just been a lack of runs at times that has let us down.
"If we can keep this up then that'll put us in good stead against all teams."
New skipper Shaun Stubbs - who took over the reins from Spry - called for a vastly-improved showing from his key batsmen during the week, and took matters into his own hands with a match-defining partnership alongside opener Andrew Potter.
Yenda looked in trouble early after losing Jason McKenzie for no score, but Stubbs and Potter withstood the heat from a starstudded Exies attack to combine for a valuable 73-run stand.
By the time Stubbs was trapped LBW by Andy Arnold (3-25), the Jets were 2-73 – a total better than their entire opening round effort, and only two runs short of last week’s innings in the loss to Hanwood.
“Getting knocked over for 70 two weeks in a row doesn’t give your bowlers much of a chance, so it was a great performance with the bat and a great win overall,” Spry said.
“Stubbsy and Potter were really patient, I thought. We’ve been a bit guilty of that in the past, tending to go hard at everything, but they let the balls go that they didn’t have to play at, and put the bad ones away.
“They batted extremely well and it’s good for those two to get a good score under their belts this early in the season.
“It was a really good, responsible partnership, which is exactly what we’ve been lacking. You only need one of those per innings and you’re halfway there.”
It also took the pressure off the rest of the batting line-up – and while nobody was able to match their feats, the likes of Dean Cunial (22) and Dale Brownlie (14) were able to score freely and help compile a more-than-competitive total.
Yenda were bowled out for 136, with Arnold and Glenn Bock (3-29) making the key breakthroughs for Exies.
Exies struggled from the outset of their innings, losing opener Phil Burge for just three runs and limping to 2-43 before a stunning spell from Brett Hazelman brought them unstuck.
Hazelman tore through the middle order, claiming Tucker (4), D Brown (0) and up-and-comer Dylan Gillett (0) to complete a damaging two overs.
“It was a good little spell for us and it came at the right time,” Spry said.
Any hope of an unlikely Exies comeback was doused when Spry trapped Luke Shannon (20) in front, leaving powerful tailender Mansell (20 not out) short on support.
While Hazelman was the pick of the bowlers, Ken Turner bagged four wickets, including both openers and number four Jamie Winkler (4).
“I think he was our leading wicket-taker last year. He never seems to look like he’s taking many but in the end you see how many he’s got under his belt,” Spry said.
Spry described the win as a “confidence-booster” in every sense of the word.
“Everyone was pretty pleased about getting the monkey off our backs,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a bonus that we’ve still got Peter Vardanega and Matty Staines to come back into the side in the next week or so, and that will only bolster our line-up.”