By Tyler Lewis and Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 2 AND 3
REVIEW – GRAND FINALS
Dingley will return to the top flight of the Dandenong District Cricket Association after bringing home the Turf 2 title early on Sunday evening.
The Dingoes won the toss and elected to bat against the Parkmore Pirates, hoping to replicate their semi-final heroics from the week prior against Beaconsfield.
After the first wicket fell with 12 on the Lois Twohig Reserve scoreboard, Luke Spears strode the crease; fresh off a scintillating 151, and there was an immense target on his back.
And just three balls into his innings he chipped one back to Niranjen Kumar without troubling the scorers and the Pirates weren’t short of enthusiasm in the middle.
But the cool and experienced heads of Matt Hague (53), Corey Booth (69) and Calvin Barlow (79) pushed the Dingley total to 263 from its 80 overs, a total in the big dance worth more than its number figure.
Amal Athulathmudali toiled away all day, bowling 30 overs for 4/111.
In reply, Parkmore was desperate for a steady start, but it didn’t go to plan early, losing Ammar Bajwa (six) inside the opening handful of overs.
Parkmore fought hard through the middle overs, and at 1/97 looked capable of accomplishing the unthinkable.
Starts from Bevan Corneille (38), Aditya Ganesh (45) and Athulathmudali (50) had the Pirates inch closer and closer to the final phase of the season.
With just 15 balls remaining, fingernails around the North Dandenong ground were on their last millimetres as the Pirates needed 23 runs with three wickets in the shed.
But none of the set batsmen were able to kick on for a big knock to secure the match as Milan Rathnayaka cleaned up the tail.
The Sri Lankan quick, with ice in his veins, concluded the innings in style, shattering the stumps of Bradley Vantwest and Ashwin Nash in successive balls.
Rathnayaka finished with grand final figures of 6/84 from 16 overs.
The Pirates fell agonisingly short of premiership glory, being bowled out for 256 in the final over. While the Parkmore XI would be feeling bitter disappointment, the chase was an enormous achievement despite falling short.
For the Dingoes, they will return to the top-flight – Turf 1 – after just two years in Turf 2, with the club based out of Souter Oval enjoying a strong couple of seasons in the first XI.
Dingley’s Turf 2 premiership XI in season 2019/20: Matt Hague, Tom Morecroft, Luke Spears, Corey Booth, Calvin Barlow, Christo Otto, Milan Rathnayaka, Flynn McGaw, Marc King, Dyllan Andrews, and captain Damien Jordan.
In Turf 3, meanwhile, cool heads and some much-needed experience delivered Parkfield premiership glory against a brave Silverton at Keysborough.
After being sent in on day one in a clash that didn’t let up in intensity, the Bakers clawed their way to 141 from 58.4 overs, with Jesse McCarthy (48) playing a fine hand to steer the ship on a pitch that certainly didn’t assist the batters.
An equally impressive 34 from Adam Welcome was certainly vital as the Bakers pushed on from a tricky spot in the middle order to be another key cog in the competitive total.
But for Parkfield, Nico Jefferey (7/30) once again shone in a memorable finals series after claiming 6/25 in the semi-final against Springvale, proving almost unplayable to be the overriding star of the contest, while Matt Goodier (3/39) was a vital foil for Jefferey with another assured display with the ball.
At one point on day two, the Parkfield side – the benchmark Turf 3 side of the season – looked in a spot of bother with the Bakers relishing their underdog tag, but eventually, at six wickets down, the Parkers lifted to another gear.
The top side all season – which bats deep enough to steer its way out of trouble – was led brilliantly by skipper Steve Cannon (33 not out) and Wayne Perera (22 not out) who combined for the most important partnership of the season.
With each run so vitally important to the end result, the pair guided the Parkers to a glorious flag with four wickets still left in the shed, meaning the club will now enter the second tier of the DDCA.
Premiers across the grades:
Turf 1 Reserves: Narre South
Turf 2 Reserves: Dingley
Turf 3 Reserves: Parkfield
Turf 4: Doveton
Turf 5: Doveton North
Turf 6: Berwick Springs
A Grade: Springvale
B Grade: Cranbourne
C Grade: Victorian Vikings
D Grade: Dandenong West