HAWTHORN-Monash University has seen some dark days in the past few years. Saturday was not one of them as two Hawks batsmen broke a 106-year old club record stand.
Hawks captain David Alleyne (136) and 21-year-old Northamptonshire import Rob Keogh (94) made 217 for the fourth wicket, breaking the record 215 set by J H Stuckey and L N Rainey in the club's first season in the competition in 1906-07. The club was then called East Melbourne.
After coming together at 3-34, the English duo rebuilt the Hawks' innings and their partnership was only undone when Keogh was sent back by Alleyne and run out.
The Hawks batted out the day, making 5-296 against Northcote in good batting conditions at Monash University.
Alleyne praised his batting partner for his efforts. "We have been working hard throughout the preseason on putting partnerships together.
"We tried really hard to maintain the momentum and put together a good partnership. To break an established club record was unexpected."
Keogh came to the Hawks this season to get a summer of cricket under his belt and develop his skills.
Alleyne said having a county player like Keogh, who is the same age as many of the young Hawks players, provided a key example to the side.
"We were in a spot of bother early on when we came together, so we wanted to occupy the crease.
"We played ourselves in and put away the bad balls, which Rob did magnificently.
"It was really unfortunate the one mistake he made was attempting a run that wasn't there and I had to send him back, ending a fantastic partnership.
"He is a young guy trying to make his way in the game and — more importantly for the club — the same age as many of the other boys, yet playing at a level they aspire to."
Alleyne said his bowlers would need to be primed for a strong performance when play resumes this Saturday.
He said the Hawks would continue to build on Saturday's good play over the coming weeks. "It speaks volumes of the hard work done by Keith Jansz as coach to instil the basic values of the game and we've done that from the start of last season. We're making steady progress, but that is all it is at this stage."
The Hawks play day 2 against Northcote at Monash University from noon this Saturday. —Roy Ward