Our all-conquering women’s 2nds took out the one-day Premier Reserve premiership to add to the Premier Seconds Twenty20 trophy that they had already put on the shelf in February, to underline their dominant season.
The men’s 1sts booked their ticket to the ‘big dance’ when they took care of Camberwell Magpies in their semi-final clash.
The girls took on Box Hill at Casey Fields where the Mustangs won the toss and batted first. In getting away to 58 before losing their 1st wicket, and being 1/95 at one stage, a big total threatened; a situation not helped by injuries to both of our opening bowlers, Jordan Watson and Rachel Carrick. Remarkably Rachel returned to the bowling crease for a second spell having, what was later diagnosed, a broken left thumb.
However Emma Medland (2/22 off 9 overs) and Breannan Harris (2/29 off 9) took wickets either side of a Sam Ryan run out that put the brakes on and we were able to contain Box Hill to 6/171 at the end of 45 overs.
Anna Harris (21) opened up with Elly Donald and got the team away to a cautious, but steady, start in an opening stand that later blossomed before Anna departed with the score on 68. Elly was joined by Larnzy D’Aquino (37 n.o.) and together they took the team to within seven runs of victory before Elly was dismissed for a beautifully constructed 90 off 106 balls (13 balls) that rightly earned her Player of the Match.
All that remained was bragging rights for who was to hit the winning runs and it seemed befitting that skipper Bridie Chesterfield did that in the 40th over for what was an undeniable emphatic eight wicket win.
Congratulations to Bridie and her team mates as well as team coach Graeme Lay, head coach Bryan Harper and women’s co-ordinator Marcella Torre who were all deservedly part of the team’s success, in addition to the positive impact they had on all our female teams this season.
The men’s semi-final went down a path that had uncanny similarities to that of their quarter-final match whereby I could easily replace the word Panthers with Magpies from last week’s report for a large part.
We again won the toss and batted although our start was less convincing being 2 for 24. Andrew Kent departed for 22 when the score was on 61 and we eventually went to lunch at 3/80. Matthew Brown looked to be in full control before he fell for 45 and when two more wickets fell in the first hour after the break we were reduced to 6/119.
Not unlike last week, Blake Thomson had dug in and after putting on 29 with Sean Sturrock before Sean departed, he once again found a willing partner in Zac Mevissen (30). Zac showed a maturity and calmness that belies his age - 17, although be an 18 year old before the final starts! – to add a highly valuable 59 for the eighth wicket.
All the while, Blake grew from strength to strength and unleashed a number of powerful cover drives in his four hour, 171 ball stay, before being run out for 88 when attempting to farm the strike; the score reading a far healthier 9/229.
As the day approached the final half hour, a Pat Smith cameo (two 4s and two 6s in his 20-run, nine ball stay) scooted the final tally along to 251. This left seven overs play that, just like last week, the Magpie opening pair survived whilst knocking off 17 runs.
Jackson Coleman (2/38 off 17 overs) got the initial breakthrough on the second morning and Zac Mevissen (2/11 off 10) followed up with his first not long after. In a day of relentless pressure, wickets were captured at regular intervals. Pat Smith (2/24) kept up the speed and aggression and Brad Melville (2/24) took important wickets with his ‘offies’.
Just when resistance looked to be setting in, Blake Thomson pulled off a brilliant run out with a great save in covers and Sean Sturrock provided the full stop, the Magpies bowled out for just 120.
So it is off to the grand final, playing Fitzroy-Doncaster at Princes Park with the three-day game commencing on Friday at 10.30 am (a 4th day ‘reserve day’ is available should a first innings result not be achieved after three days).
Men’s Premier Semi Final
1st XI – Melbourne 251 (B Thomson 88 M Brown 45 Z Mevissen 30) defeated Camberwell Magpies 120 (Z Mevissen 2/11 B Melville 2/24 P Smith 2/28 J Coleman 2/38) at Camberwell Sports Ground
Women's Premier Reserves Grand Final
2nds (One-day) – Box Hill 6/171 (cc) (E Medland 2/22 B Harris 2/29) defeated by Melbourne 2/172 (E Donald 90 A D’Aquino 37*) at Casey Fields #4