By Hayley Wildes
WGCA LOWER GRADES
REVIEW – GRAND FINALS
Officer finished its dominant B Grade season in style as the Bullants scored a comprehensive win over Cranbourne Meadows at Officer Recreation Reserve.
The Bullants elected to bat first and despite losing opener Justin Hinkley (0) early, Wayne Duke (36) steadied the innings, before Shannon Marum (96) went ballistic in an incredible knock.
At 5/92, Officer needed a strong partnership and with Marum (five fours and six sixes) belting boundaries at every opportunity, he paired with Darren Kneebone (29) to put on a match-winning 109-run stand.
Kneebone played a sublime role in rotating the strike as Marum took over, belting his 96 runs in just 78 deliveries. After 70 overs, the Bullants posted a total of 7/211. Sibghat Ullah (3/53) was the pick of the Rebels’ bowlers.
In reply, Cranbourne Meadows got strong top order contributions from Jasmeet Virdi (47) and Sami Muzaffar (42) to look in control at 2/109.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, Daniel Irvine (6/24) had other ideas, bringing about a batting collapse as he tore through the batting line-up to help dismiss Cranbourne Meadows for 150 in 53 overs.
Pakenham Upper/Toomuc took control of the grand final against Pakenham on day one as their bowlers produced when it mattered most.
After the Lions elected to bat first, only Scott Webster (37) and Michael McLaren (20) were able to make over 11 runs as Blake McGrath (4/29) and Nicholas Braham (3/44) ran riot.
Pakenham simply couldn’t build any substantial partnerships as Pakenham Upper/Toomuc kept the pressure on all day and eventually dismissed the Lions for just 105 runs in 44 overs.
In reply, the Yabbies – despite being 2/26 early – were never really in any trouble as skipper Jake Abel (41 not out) and Ben Clough (37 not out) guided Pakenham Upper/Toomuc home for the loss of just two wickets in a fine display.
In what was an extraordinary game of cricket, the battle for premiership glory between Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll and Merinda Park had to be seen to be believed.
Saturday’s action saw the Marygoons elect to bat first and openers Alan Downes (30) and Russell Jackson (23) got strong starts, but were unable to really get going.
Skipper Geoffrey Ball (50) produced a vital half century from the middle order, but the wickets continued to fall as Kanwaljit Handa (5/48) and Mark Thomas (3/42) bowled brilliantly for the Cobras.
Eventually, the Marygoons were dismissed for 159 in 69 overs.
In reply, the Cobras struggled early to stand at 3/38, before a steadying partnership between skipper Craig Robertson (58) and Tyson Bertrand (23) produced 33 vital runs. With Shamraiz Medhi (4/42) and Abhi Sharma (3/47) taking key wickets, Robertson’s teammates fell all around him.
In one of the more unbelievable finishes in WGCA grand final history, the scores were tied at 159, with the Cobras having one wicket in hand and Robertson facing Sharma.
Incredibly, Robertson was caught by Geoffrey Ball off the first delivery of the 60th over to see the game end in a 159-all tie. In a heartbreaking finish for the Marygoons, the Cobras claimed the premiership due to the rule book stating in the result of a tied grand final, the team that finished higher on the ladder will be crowned premiers.
Merinda Park finished third on the ladder with nine wins, two losses and three draws, while Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll finished fourth with an 8-5-1 record.
Clyde went into the grand final against Pakenham Upper/Toomuc as favourites and got the job done in resounding fashion at Clyde Recreation Reserve.
The Cougars won the toss, elected to bat and openers Wes Smith (30) and Shane Jack (25) got the team off to a strong start with a 56-run partnership.
Brett Whittingham (58) came to the crease and he anchored the innings with a composed half century, while Josh King (32 not out) provided vital runs towards the end of the innings to help Clyde to a strong total of 8/211.
In reply, despite their openers – Matt Southall (25) and Adam Sellers (14) – combining for 34 runs, the Yabbies suffered a batting collapse, losing their 10 wickets for just 56 runs to be all out for 90. Tristan Walton (3/7), Zac Shepherd (2/13) and Wes Smith (2/24) were the multiple wicket-takers.
Catani made light work of Pakenham in the F Grade decider. The Cats elected to bat first and despite standing at 3/22 early, strong contributions from Chris Duncan (59) and Danial McFarlane (27) got the innings back on track.
Zac Downes (5/43) and Hiren Patel (4/26) were men on a mission for the Lions as the Cats were dismissed for 134 runs in the 68th over.
Pakenham failed to make the most of having restricted Catani to a modest total as eight batsmen were unable to make over four runs in a brutal bowling display from the Cats.
Cameron Wagstaff (6/33) was near-unplayable as he tore through the Lions defence and Nathaniel Wade (4/23) was super dangerous as well. Pakenham was dismissed for just 57 runs in 28 overs.