TIM Smart denied Templars a dream start to their title defence in the Sunday League with a brave innings of 73 not out, which enabled the Scorpions to force a draw at Kowloon Cricket Club yesterday. Smart coming in at first-drop, held his side's innings together, to frustrate the defending champions hopes of beginning the season on a sweeping note with the maximum 20 points awarded for an outright win. At the end Templars garnered 15 points (eight for a winning draw and seven bonus points) which might have been a satisfactory day's play if not for the fact that at one stage they were cruising towards victory. Having scored 262 for four and declaring in the 49th over, Templars were sitting pretty with the Scorpions losing their top six wickets for 14 runs with only eight overs bowled. Visions of an early shower for captain Steve Atkinson and his Templars were rudely frustrated by Smart's valiant knock which came off 136 nervous balls. He was superbly supported by skipper-for-the-day Gavin Erasmus who remained undefeated with 20. 'I did it last season too against Templars when we were in a similar position,' said Smart afterwards. He certainly looked the ideal man to have in a tight situation. He kept one end going while the rest of his teammates lost their heads and their wickets. Once the tail was exposed, Smart took as much of the strike as possible. His determination knew no bounds. He gave only one chance in his knock, when on 22, Ian Chapman at backward square leg failed to latch on to a difficult catch. That was only a momentary lapse in concentration. He regathered his wits to keep a toiling Templars attack at bay. Smart was joined by Erasmus in the 19th over with the Scorpions' scoreboard a dismal sight - eight for 39. The pair coolly batted out the rest of the innings, 27 tension-filled overs, to see their side finish on 120. Their effort earned Scorpions four points. It must have been like manna from heaven after having faced defeat for most of the day. Templars began their 1994-95 season in spectacular fashion when openers Rahul Sharma and Pat Fordham put on a massive 183 in 37 overs. Having returned from a business trip from India just hours before the match started, Sharma shook off his tiredness to commence from where he left off last season, the first batsman in the territory's history to score a 1,000 runs in one season. Sharma was soon in his stride, hammering the Scorpions' bowling attack all over the field. The former Ranji Trophy player blasted 131 in only 144 deliveries. It comprised of 11 boundaries and four sixes, the most memorable one a pull over mid-wicket off Erasmus to bring up his century. Colony captain Fordham was also in superb nick. Unfortunately with a century his for the taking, he spooned up a simple catch to Richard Grey at square leg to be out for 90 (two sixes and 11 fours). Fordham continued his good form behind the wickets, taking five catches. Sharma also stayed in the act, taking three wickets while at the other end, left-arm pace bowler Earl Pereira also grabbed three wickets. But all the good work was undone by Smart, who overshadowed everyone else with his innings of grit and courage. In other games, Little Sai Wan and Wanderers collected maximum points with wins over Vagabonds and IRC respectively.