Katandra could hardly have asked for a better start in its top-of-the-table clash with Numurkah.
The Eagles, led by skipper Jedd Wright’s five-wicket haul, tore through their opponents in 57 overs, bowling them out for 118.
In a game almost certain to decide who finishes on top of the Haisman Shield ladder, the Blues would not go down without a fight and took three crucial wickets late in the day.
The Eagles were 3-38 at stumps in 24 overs after Blues skipper Liam Gledhill struck twice to get rid of Michael Peters and Chris Skolyarev.
But the early running belonged to Katandra, which rattled off the last six wickets of the Numurkah innings for 28 runs.
The Blues had worked their way into the game well to be 4-90 with Gledhill (29) and Jahlan Lau (35 n.o) settling in and building a partnership.
Gledhill’s departure sparked the collapse though; he was stumped off Wright’s bowling and the captain was not done there.
He took four of the next five wickets with Peters taking the other as Numurkah slumped to 118 all out.
Wright said getting rid of the opposition skipper had been the turning point.
‘‘The bowling was pretty good, we probably took a bit too long to get the spinners on though,’’ he said.
‘‘But I thought all the quicks did a good job on a pitch that is hard to bat on.
‘‘(The Gledhill dismissal) was obviously really important, and it took a great stumping from Luke (Nolan). I guess it took a bit of luck to get him but it did give us a good bit of momentum.’’
Katandra played carefully with the bat and took few risks, but lost Ben Clurey for nine to be 1-15.
Gledhill bowled Peters for two and had Skolyarev stumped without scoring, before Nolan and Wright steadied to get through to stumps with seven wickets in hand.
‘‘I suppose it’s pretty evenly poised,’’ Wright said.
‘‘The pitch is one of the hardest to bat on going around, so we were happy to bowl. I suppose it would be better if we were only one wicket down, but we’re right there.
‘‘We’ll go in pretty confident, hopefully the pitch will be a bit easier to bat on without all the footmarks.
‘‘We need to make sure we’re aggressive and keep the score ticking over and not get bogged down. But if we can get one or two decent partnerships we should get across the line.’’
Numurkah built the pressure well late in the day with the low scoring rate, but will need early wickets on day two to keep hold of top spot.