BLACKROD, inspired by Sri Lankan sub professional Shashrika Pussegolla, put a difficult start to the season behind them with a day they will never forget at Tonge.

Joey Pryle’s side racked up a stunning 328-6 before bowling their hosts out for 94, securing only a second win in seven Association fixtures.

Pussegolla hit 101 off 93 balls, including eight fours and four sixes, before taking 8-46 from 14.3 overs of off-spin and taking a catch at slip.

Enfield’s current pro, standing in for compatriot Pramod Maduwantha – unavailable due to international duty – shared 213 for the third wicket with Thushendra De Zoysa, last year’s pro who made 118 off 119.

“We think it’s our all-time club record score,” said Pryle. “We’ve been in operation since 1900, and those involved at the club now can’t remember in our times ever getting 328.

“I said to the players, ‘This is a historic day. You could be looking back and saying I was there’.

“It could also be our biggest ever victory margin (234 runs).

“You don’t get days like this every week. We have a lot of older members who talk about the glory days. One day, in 20 years, these lads will be talking about when they got 328 against Tonge.”

Earlier this season, Pryle, whose side were second bottom before Saturday’s performance, spoke about selection problems.

He said: “I’m over the moon with the lads’ response because we’ve had a bit of criticism and problems with availability and commitment. But it’s been a different headache this weekend because we’ve had a few players back.

“I knew that once we got our players back we’d be competitive. And it’s proving so.

“If we can keep this group together for a few weeks, we’ll be difficult to beat.”

Pussegolla is standing in for Maduwantha, currently on duty with the Sri Lankan development squad, for six weeks in all.

“Shashrika has been sat there watching it rain for two weeks. As soon as we get him on the park, he has a stormer,” said Pryle.

“We have him for another month. He can’t play one of those because Enfield have a Saturday game, but we should have him for the Hamer Cup quarter-final, which we qualified for on a bowl-out against Golborne last Sunday.”

After Pryle elected to bat, Pussegolla and De Zoysa came together at 42-2 in the 16th over and were separated at 255-3 after 43 when the pro departed. De Zoysa continued the attack.

“They both settled in with nothing flashy and then opened up when they both got to 50,” added Pryle, who believes Blackrod and Tonge are clubs cut from the same cloth.

“Tonge are a good set of lads, but everything that could go wrong did.

“I’m sure they’ll bounce back because they’re a good side, tough to beat. That’s what Danny (Delvard, cricket manager) has aimed to do with them.

“They’re very similar to ourselves in the way they go about things.

“They’ve come a long way in the last three years, giving young lads a go. That’s what I want to do.”