WALLAN is ‘quietly confident’ of bringing home the Gisborne and District Cricket Association Johnstone Shield on Saturday after a big semi-final victory over minor premier Rupertswood at the weekend.
The match was played over two days after being rained out after 24 overs on Saturday, but the Magpies held their nerve and rode their outstanding batting and error-free bowling to a grand final berth.
Wallan was already well on its way to a big total when rain cancelled play on Saturday, with openers Todd Keenan and Ryan Cumberland putting on 76 for the first wicket.
Cumberland fell leg before wicket to Rupertswood’s John Lane just after bringing up his half-century, but Keenan batted on unperturbed with new partner Bryan Vance on Sunday.
Vance was caught for 46 shortly before Wallan’s 40 overs were up, but Keenan got just reward for his patience with an innings of 108 not out.
A massive total of 2/216 gave Magpies skipper Steve Bell plenty of confidence.
“I think we have the best bowling attack in the comp, so I was very confident with the total we set that we were going to be able to defend it,” he said.
“All the bowlers did what needed to be done. Chris Vecchie was a standout with 4/23, which was pleasing to see because last week he was doubting his spot in the side and whether he belonged in the team.
“Brent Hanson is our best bowler, and it was pretty standard from him to get three wickets.
“All the bowlers bowled well, but the figures probably don’t reflect that. That was probably due more to the field we had set, where we were happy to give up singles because of the big total we had set.”
Bell’s field placements worked to perfection, with the high-scoring Rupertswood line-up bowled out for 184 in the final over of play.
The Magpies will now face Bacchus Marsh – a team they comfortably beat in the final round of the home-and-away season – in the grand final.
Bell said his side simply needed to replicate its form of the past two weeks.
“We have beaten Bacchus Marsh a couple of times this season, but they are a good team and we obviously can’t go in overconfident. We’re more quietly confident,” he said.
“It would be great if we could get plenty of support and people coming over to watch us in the grand final.”