SEVEN INTO FOUR IN A FANTASTIC FINALS FINALE
By Richard Millott
The final Home and Away round lived up to the hype, as 7 teams went into the round capable of continuing their season into Finals next weekend.
The Basin sent an ominous message ahead of their home Qualifying Final next week in their match against Knoxfield. Not content with the minor premiership, the Bears were looking for win number 11 of the season against the reigning Premiers, who won the toss and batted first at Batterham Reserve. The top order ground away, with Daniel Beyer the mainstay scoring 58 off 61 balls. The Knights were at 4/136 as the Bears’ bowling stocks broke through, taking the next 6/13 between them to wrap up the innings at 149. Nick Freeling claimed 4/18 from his overs to be best of the bowling, well supported by Country Week duo Jake Sherriff (3/17) and Blake Walter (2/25). The reply was comprehensive, with the Bears losing just 1 wicket on their way past the Knights’ total to be 1/152, with Joel Robertson (56*), Blake Walter (55*) and Tom Edwards (33) denying Knoxfield of any breakthroughs with the ball.
With Knoxfield defeated, the result of the Ferntree Gully Footballers match against Eildon Park took on more significance, with a Finals double chance on offer to the deadlocked teams. Early proceedings saw starts accompanied by wickets as the innings reached a crossroads at 3/41, before Jake Pollard (60*) and Josh Dowling (68) combined to put on 116 runs together to restore the momentum. The Panthers were able to keep finding runs, ending at 8/209. For the Griffens, Nick Bogar was Mr Reliable with the ball again, providing 4/35 from his 6 overs. The Griffens response was stifled by early wickets as the attack had the home team at 4/24 as the Panthers took control. Some lower-order heroics from Matt McKeown (32) and Kuldeep Sidhu (43*) saw the home team reach 8/157 as a reply.
As the Griffens concluded on 42 points, Upwey’s Finals equation was a simple one: Win and in. Their match against Johnson Park – themselves a Finals consideration with a win and a herculean percentage boost – saw the Tigers batting first in front of the home crowd. Quinten Wells lead the way, his 47 supported well from Julian Whetstone with 35 to get the Tigers to 169 as Coby Law claimed 4/28 for the Sharks. Steve Devenish answered the call of the Sharks, his 50 leading the way to a last-round win to conclude the season at 5/170. The win levelled the Sharks with 4 other teams on 7 wins for the season, however percentage saw the team from Fair Park finish 7th, just behind Upwey.
Likewise, Knox Gardens’ Finals aspirations also involved the requirement to win and gain percentage, with the Falcons playing host to Ferntree Gully. Batting first, the Falcons hit 7/190 from their overs with Joe Morsello reaching 54, despite Jake Evans claiming 3/36 for the Blues. Ferntree Gully started the chase well and on track, being 3/110 from 24 overs with thanks to Jayden Bradbury’s 61 and Adrian Catalano’s 41. Josh Gregory tightened the screws on the chase however, his 3/34 bringing the equation down to a-run-a-ball in the final 10 overs, with runs and wickets setting the stage for a grandstand finish. A runout in the final over with just 4 runs required for victory left the Blues at 187. Despite the win, the Falcons came up just short on knocking the Griffens out of 4th place, missing by 0.07%.
Upper Ferntree Gully were seeking critical points in their matchup against Belgrave. The Kings, batting first, were well provided by skipper Shane Luck who reached 111 to help the Kings to 9/192, despite Aaron Brunner claiming 3/29. Brunner again was determined to give the Pies a last-round win, his 82 the bulk of the runs with Tom Roleff claiming 3/33 for the Kings to restrict the Pies to 7/169. The Win sees Upper Ferntree Gully book themselves to continue in Norm Reeves Shield next season, whilst Belgrave finish the year in 8th place.
In Decoite Shield, Rowville locked down their Finals place with victory against Monbulk. Rowville reached 7/188 with Brett Gatehouse (62) and Alex Walker (44) propelling the target, despite Craig Broekoff claiming 4/51. In reply, James Rogers claimed 5/24 to have the wood over Monbulk, dismissed for 161 after Aaron Bermingham (42) and Brian Martin (36) scored well for the mountain-men. Rowville claimed the essential points to put them 6 points clear and into 4th place, whilst Monbulk slip to 3rd to play the Hawks again in an Elimination Final.
Monbulk’s misfortune was South Belgrave’s gain as South defeated St Johns Tecoma to claim the second chance. Andrew Evans (36) and Dean Palandri (35) helped the Saints to 8/133 from their overs, with runs hampered by Harley McDermott claiming 5/23. For South’s reply, Dan Cormack (57) and Mark Baker (43*) helped to elevate South into a Qualifying Final, claiming victory at 3/139.
Lysterfield finished nearly 3 matches clear as Minor Premiers and concluded the Home and Away season with victory against Knox Gardens. The Beavers reached 9/193, with thanks to Anthony Brolic (73) and Nathan Hicks (57). In reply, the Falcons toiled hard but ultimately struggled for answers against the bowling of Cameron Cosstick (3/19) and Brad Paull (3/31), dismissed for 128.
Whilst exact scores are not known, Mountain Gate closed off the season in style with victory over Olinda. Both teams showed promise across the season to remain in Finals equations right up to the final round of the season to finish 6th and 7th respectively.
PROVISIONAL LADDER AND FINALS WEEK 1 – NORM REEVES SHIELD
The Basin – 66pts, 1.87%
Eildon Park – 48pts, 1.23%
Knoxfield – 48pts, 1.13%
Ferntree Gully Footballers – 42pts, 1.35%
Knox Gardens – 42pts, 1.28%
Upwey – 42pts, 1.00%
Johnson Park – 42pts, 0.91%
Belgrave – 12pts, 0.68%
Upper Ferntree Gully – 12pts, 0.61%
Ferntree Gully – 6pts, 0.60%
Qualifying Final The Basin vs Eildon Park
Elimination Final Knoxfield vs Ferntree Gully Footballers
PROVISIONAL LADDER AND FINALS WEEK 1 – DECOITE SHIELD
Lysterfield – 64pts, 2.22%
South Belgrave – 48pts, 1.07%
Monbulk – 42pts, 1.17%
Rowville – 36pts, 0.97%
Knox Gardens – 30pts, 0.79%
Mountain Gate – 30pts, 0.75%*
Olinda – 24pts, 0.76%*
St Johns Tecoma – 18pts, 0.84%
(* Olinda vs Mountain Gate scores unavailable for final calculation)
Qualifying Final Lysterfield vs South Belgrave
Elimination Final Monbulk vs Rowville