GULLY GLORY AT VMCU CHAMPIONSHIPS
FTGDCA’s Under 18 squad capped off a memorable campaign taking out the Phil Arnold Shield against Diamond Valley on Sunday.
The highest age group in the VMCU Junior Carnival, the FTGDCA squad were recognized as the Premiers of Melbourne’s metropolitan junior talent, with no less than 7 players of the squad coming to the tournament with Norm Reeves Shield experience.
The FTGDCA were on the wrong end of the opening match against last year’s finalists Western Region JCA, before an unbeaten run to the finals with wins against North West Metro CA, Eastern CA, Inner South East CA and Ringwood District CA.
Performances during the preliminary rounds were well shared, with Jack Marget proving value with the bat. The Knox Gardens prodigy knocked up 237 runs in the first 5 matches, highlighted with an unbeaten century against RDCA on the back of an unbeaten 58 against Inner South East CA.
Likewise, Reilly Griffiths journey into Premier Cricket was supplemented with VMCU representative duties, the former Upper FTG junior supporting Marget on multiple occasions with 139 runs across the 5 matches.
The undefeated run during the preliminary rounds helped FTGDCA complete the regular round in second place, obtaining a home Semi Final against the South East CA.
In a heat-shortened affair, FTGDCA lodged a scorecard of 5/129 – Marget again pivotal with 70* retired. South East CA were held to 8/120 in response, Kyle Gwynne taking 3/32 to help restrict the visitors and book a place in the Grand Final against Diamond Valley CA.
Played at Wyndham Vale Reserve, Diamond Valley won the toss and elected to bowl first. Tom Edwards and Reilly Griffiths set the tone early, putting on 104 for the opening stand. Both players scored half centuries – Edwards 50 and Griffiths 75 respectively – before the support of Chris Rumble and Luke Saultry helped push the FTGDCA total to 6/182 from the 45 overs faced.
With early wickets both vital and required, Sam Humphries and Tim Parker provided the breakthroughs required to place FTGDCA in a solid position at 3/33 with the ball. Knoxfield’s Jordy Ludbrook was given the ball and took the stage to produce the most important spell of his career, taking 4/3 from his 6 overs, including 4 maidens. Kyle Gwynne’s 2/24 helped to reduce Diamond Valley to 9/55, with celebrations commencing shortly after with the fall of the final wicket for 87.
The Basin’s Tom Edwards was awarded Player of the Match for his 50 runs combined with 5 catches in the field. As a rubber stamp to his talent, Jack Marget was named a tie for Player of the Tournament – a massive achievement from the pool of 141 talented players across the tournament.
With the bat, Marget was unstoppable with 312 runs at an average of 104, whilst Gwynne proved potent with the ball, claiming 17 wickets at 6.82.
The leaders of the successful squad - Jack Marget, Luke Saultry and Tom Edwards – have played consistently as part of the squad, along with Sam Humphries, in a number of FTGDCA Representative squads starting in 2011/12 as Under 12 players.
Team Manager Gary Saultry was full of praise for the team, winning the highly competitive competition in only it’s second year as an FTGDCA squad.
“It was a fantastic effort from everyone involved to be able to bring 13 talented cricketers together and turn them into tournament winners in 7 matches”, said Saultry.
“The cricket played was described as clinical by others teams as each player was able to perform their role to a high standard which provided the basis to build a strong performance. The leaders of the team developed their own game plan, which they adapted to suit the different situations faced.
“The future of the FTGDCA was on show and it impressed all that took the time to watch it.”
Credit must be given to Rhys Marget who, along with Gary Saultry, was responsible for identifying, recruiting, trialing, selecting, managing and coaching the team.