By Hayley Wildes
WGCA DISTRICT AND SUB-DISTRICT
GRAND FINAL – REVIEWS
They were the best team all year and on grand final weekend, Cranbourne Meadows once again flexed its muscle, this time defeating Cardinia in convincing fashion to claim the 2019 WGCA District premiership.
The win was set up on Saturday afternoon, but the damage was truly done in the early stages of play on Sunday when the Rebels tore through the Bulls batting line-up.
Day one started promisingly for the favoured side at Carlisle Park Reserve as the Rebels elected to bat first and their openers got to work.
Veerpartap Singh (56) and Sunny Paul (27) combined for an opening stand of 60 runs. After Paul was dismissed, off the bowling of Josh Browne (1/26), Singh combined with Jahanzaib Athar (66) for a 65-run partnership.
Despite losing two quick middle order wickets, with Vishalbir Thind (1) and Kulith Rabel (0) both falling to the bowling of Ricky Campbell (2/29), Athar anchored the innings with a simply superb knock.
When Athar’s wicket was finally claimed, the Rebels stood at 6/187. Whilst Athar was dominant with the bat, Cardinia’s Dwayne Doig (5/101) was an absolute warrior with the ball, delivering a whopping 39.4 overs.
Solid contributions from Pardeep Singh (30) and Joraver Sidhu (23) kept the scoreboard ticking over later in the innings, and with two balls remaining, the Rebels were dismissed for a commanding total of 257.
It was a day of play the saw the Rebels take control of the game as the Bulls struggled to find ways to breakthrough when needed.
Whilst Cardinia’s bowlers struggled to make inroads on day one, there was no such trouble for Cranbourne Meadows on day two.
It was a complete Rebel domination as Tom Smith (3/9), Gurpreet Bhamra (3/25) and Joraver Sidhu (2/7) kept the pressure squarely on the Bulls batsmen as they went looking for runs.
Knowing they had plenty of runs to make up, the Bulls went after deliveries and this tactic turned out to be their undoing as the likes of openers Daniel Salvato (8) and Andrew Cianter (13), along with Matt Celima (5), Mark Andolfatto (1), Brad Remy (4) were unable to get anything going.
The wickets fell thick and fast as the Bulls went from 0/20 to 8/44 in the blink of an eye in what was one of the more brutal bowling displays in recent memory. At 8/44 in the 22nd over, the game was all but over, but Dwayne Doig (23) – just as he did with the ball – dug in and put up a fight.
Doig combined with Brad Tanner (6) to chew up some overs and put on a courageous 22-run stand. Despite it not changing the result, the Cardinia faithful that turned up to Carlisle Park Reserve was appreciative of the fight displayed by the pair.
Asim Raja (2/7) wrapped up the tail, claiming both Tanner and Doig in relatively quick succession. In a fitting finish, the Rebels claimed the premiership with the wicket of Doig courtesy of a catch from man of the match, Jahanzaib Athar.
Cranbourne Meadows’ magnificent season was capped off with a 180-run win on the biggest day of the year, having dismissed Cardinia for just 77 runs.
The win signals a new era for the Rebels, who will go up to the WGCA Premier Division in season 2019/20.
Pakenham Upper/Toomuc was on top of the WGCA Sub-District ladder for much of the season, but a round 14 loss saw them fall from first to fourth.
That final round loss could’ve dented their confidence and spoiled their season, but the Yabbies had other ideas, winning two road games in the finals to claim the premiership.
After one of the closest seasons in Sub-District history, many thought and hoped the grand final between Pakenham Upper/Toomuc and Kooweerup would follow suit, but the early signs pointed towards a Yabbies demolition.
And that was the story of day one.
Pakenham Upper/Toomuc’s Lucas Plozza (4/15) was a man on a mission as he tore through Kooweerup’s top order with reckless disregard. First, he took the wicket of Daniel Tannahill (0) and then Andrew Martin (0) to have the Demons reeling at 2/1.
Not long later, Plozza had his third wicket – Stephen Johnson (1) – to make matters even worse for Kooweerup, who stood at 3/5.
With Paul Bright (33) standing tall, next to be dismissed was Shaun Donnelly (11), once again claimed by Plozza. At 4/20, Kooweerup needed a steadying influence and Arie Hazendonk (28) combined with Bright for 49 valuable runs, putting some sort of respectability on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately for the Demons, when Bright fell – to see the Demons stand at 5/69 – it was the start of another bowling masterclass with Sahan Wijeratne (6/17) claiming the final six wickets for just 13 runs.
Plozza and Wijeratne combined for the incredible figures of 10/32 in one of the most extraordinary bowling partnerships in grand final history. With the Demons dismissed for just 82 runs, the Yabbies were absolutely in the box seat heading into day two.
With skipper John Nooy (26 not out) anchoring the innings from the opening delivery, the Yabbies had class and composure all the way through to easily account for the 82 required runs.
Nooy, along with Wijeratne (28) – who backed up his fine bowling display by leading the way with bat too – got Pakenham Upper/Toomuc home with a total of 3/85 in 40 overs.
When it mattered most, the Yabbies were the better the team and claimed the WGCA Sub-District premiership in a rout of the Demons as Lucas Plozza was named man of the match for his brutal opening spell that set the scene for a famous win.
The win will see Pakenham Upper/Toomuc go up to the WGCA District Division next season in an exciting time for the Yabbies.