ACT/NSW Country captain, and NSW Blues reserve wicketkeeper-batsman, Jay Lenton has ensured his side posted a competitive total on day one of four in their final round Toyota Futures League fixture against NSW Metro in Wollongong.
Lenton made a pivotal 81 from 149 balls leading ACT/NSW Country out of a tricky situation at 5/80 in the second session at North Dalton Park. The visitors were bowled out for 257.
NSW Metro are 0/2 at the close of play after 19-year-old Ryan Hackney (1 not out) and Daniel Solway (1 not out) negotiated one over before stumps.
Blues speedster Liam Hatcher wreaked havoc for the ACT/NSW Country top order. He claimed three of the first five wickets to fall and finished the day with 3-33 from 11 overs.
ACT/NSW Country lost three wickets within five balls with the score on 80. Two fell to Hatcher and one to fellow Blues paceman Charlie Stobo. He returned 3-52 from 22.3 overs.
In his first Futures League match back from a fractured finger, Lenton passed fifty for the second time in the competition this season.
The Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper-batsman shared valuable partnerships with both leg-spinning allrounder Tom Engelbrecht (28) and fast bowler Joe Kershaw (44).
He added 72 for the sixth wicket with Engelbrecht and 66 with Kershaw for the seventh.
Another Sydney Thunder keeper-batsman Matt Gilkes, who replaced the injured Lenton in the BBL before he too sustained a muscle strain, also made a patient 49 from 117 at the top of the order.
Lenton hit seven fours and three sixes during his important knock and was the final wicket to fall.
Every one of the six bowlers used by Metro captain Nick Bertus claimed a wicket. Blues rookie and Australian Under 19 keeper-batter, Baxter Holt, completed three catches behind the stumps.
Fellow Blues rookie Jordan Gauci also claimed three catches in the field.
Fast bowler Benji Floros made his debut for ACT/NSW Country on day one.
Floros hails from a prodigious cricket family. Brother Jason Floros captained Queensland and played 15 First Class matches as well as 28 List A games for the state.
Together with his brothers Matthew and Tim, Benji has previously represented Australia at Indoor Cricket.