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By Richard Millott


Ferntree Gully & District Cricket Association’s Under 16 players have proved to be the benchmark of Metropolitan Melbourne, ending the VMCU Carnival as Jim Beitzel Shield Premiers.

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Last Sunday’s decider at Schramms Reserve in Doncaster ended the campaign on a high in a professional performance against Eastern Cricket Association. Winning the toss and using the facilities first, FTGDCA got off to a great start with Olinda’s Jake Riordan leading the way at the top of the order with 57 after nearly 2 hours at the crease to help set up the innings at 3/92. Proving depth at the crease is not a concern, Upper Ferntree Gully’s Gregory Lord and St John’s Tecoma junior and Knox Gardens senior, Ben Marget, combined to finish off strongly, putting on 68 runs in the final 40 minutes of the innings to help FTGDCA to 4/178 from their 45 overs. Both batsmen ended up on 44 not out, with Marget going at better than a run a ball.


Knoxfield’s Luke Plumridge struck early to have the Eastern CA chase at 1/0, which then set the precedent of a restrictive effort with the ball and in the field. With the score at 3/34, the ever-increasing required runrate saw a spate of run-outs from the Gully squad, with no less than 4 run-outs leaving the hosts reeling at 8/86 with wickets shared around the economical bowling scorecard. Olinda’s Jonty Scott was the only multiple wicket-taker with 2/16 from his 6 overs, with the opening Knoxfield pairing of Jake Simpson and Luke Plumridge being efficient in keeping runs to a minimum – Simpson sending down 6 overs for 0/7 including 3 maidens, whilst Plumridge ended the day with 1/9 from his 6 overs, also including 3 maidens.

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The celebrations began shortly after with the Eastern CA’s final wicket coming just shy of 37 overs, dismissing the hosts for 95. In an added boost, Jake Riordan took home an additional medal having being named Player of the Match.


The successful squad, coached by Eildon Park’s Sean Woodward and managed by Greg Paroissien of Knoxfield, begun with first-up defeats against Inner South East and Eastern in narrow results, before a run of wins against North West Metro, Mornington Peninsular and Ringwood District ensured a finals appearance against the ladder-leading and undefeated Western Region. Setting 9/87 from their 30 overs as a target, FTGDCA booked their place in Sunday’s Final dismissing Western Region for 68 after another tight effort with the ball.


Gregory Lord lead the way with the bat across the campaign, scoring 231 runs across the carnival at 57.75 to be the Competition’s lead runscorer, whilst Jake Simpson’s 71 against Mornington Peninsular was the highest individual score. With the ball, Jonty Scott claimed 12 wickets at 9.17 from his 7 matches, with FTGDCA represented as the leading wicket-taker through his efforts. Lord was voted by his premiership peers to be the Player of the Carnival, polling 14 votes from the matches.


After an undefeated Preliminary stage, the Phil Arnold Shield Under 18 Squad were defeated at the Semi Final stage in their Premiership defence against the eventual Premiers, Box Hill Reporter DCA. Wickets were hard to come by as BHRDCA posted 4/154, proving insurmountable on the day despite Lachlan Jansen’s 63 not out forming the majority of FTGDCA’s 105 in reply. St John’s Tecoma’s Andrew Wilson starred with his efforts with the ball, his competition-leading 14 wickets coming at an average of 11.00, including 5/32 against North West Metro, whilst Upwey’s Lachlan Jansen scored 188 runs at 47.00 to lead the FTGDCA effort. Wilson was a runaway winner in the Player of the Carnival with 31 votes.


FTGDCA were also present in the finals of the Russell Allen Shield, with the undefeated Under 14s departing the competition at the Quarter Finals against West Gippsland by 2 wickets. Dismissed in trying conditions for 103, the WGCA passed the target late in the piece to finish 8/104, reversing the result from their Round 1 encounter. Tyler Hoffman provided the team with 182 runs from his 6 matches at 45.50 – an effort which his team mates voted him as Player of the Carnival, whilst with the ball Lysterfield’s Ben Leehane claimed 9 wickets to lead the FTGDCA effort.


Likewise, the Keith Mitchell Shield Under 12 squad reached the Quarter Finals before a strong showing from Box Hill Reporter DCA ended the FTGDCA’s campaign early. The squad made their appearance with a 3-2 record across the preliminary matches, before Box Hill’s 144 proved too much on the day, FTGDCA finishing at 8/113. Rowville’s Nisith Amarasinghe scored 142 runs at 35.50, whilst also being leading wicket-taker with 6 wickets at 18.50 to take out the Player of the Carnival.


A tight competition saw the Keith Mackay Shield team miss out on Finals, with the Under 16s team winning the opening 2 matches before the competition caught up. Mountain Gate’s Mitch Tucker provided one of the highlights, claiming 6/9 from just 3 overs against Diamond Valley. Knoxfield’s Lachlan Saunders-Emerson scored 141 runs at 23.50, whilst Tucker’s 9 wickets lead the way at an average of 6.33. Saunder-Emerson was awarded the Player of the Carnival for his efforts over the campaign.


In Des Nolan U14 Cup, FTGDCA encountered some strong competitions, finishing the campaign working hard with their West Gippsland victory as a highlight. Michael Taylor of Mazenod scored 92 runs at 18.40, whilst Andrew Gordon did South Belgrave proudly, leading the way with 7 wickets at 9.57. Belgrave’s Felix Wallis-Carnie was presented as the Player of the Carnival after polling 17 votes.


The Josh Browne Plate took on extra significance this season with the passing of the Junior Cricket legend, with the FTGDCA team putting in their best efforts on a daily basis. Whilst results did not go their way, the team fought hard and proud. Michael Farrand of South Belgrave reached 70 runs across the carnival, whilst Eildon Park’s Zack Linton claimed 6 wickets at the leading FTGDCA bowler. Upwey’s Oskar Taylor lead the way overall, his teammates selecting him as their Player of the Carnival with 21 votes


In the Girl’s Claudia Fatone U12 Shield, a hard draw did not help a young FTGDCA team who came up against last year’s Premiers and runner’s up in the 3-match preliminary rounds. Mountain Gate’s Lola Allain was the lead runscorer with 30 runs, whilst 4 wickets to Eildon Park’s Ava Rebeiro saw her finish the campaign as leading wicket-taker. Allain was voted by her team as the Player of the Carnival – her performances polling 18 votes to win the award.

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