By Colin MacGillivray
THE Gisborne and District Cricket Association Jensen Shield season came to a heartbreaking end with an 108-run grand final drubbing at the hands of Bacchus Marsh.
Despite having beaten the Bulls twice during the home-and-away campaign, the Wallan players were unable to produce their best in the season decider.
Bacchus Marsh raced to 88 without loss before Wallan spinner Ruben Rode made a stand, removing Bulls opener Kapil Dua leg before wicket for 65 for the first of his four scalps.
Rode was a clear standout for the Magpies and Brent Hanson struck twice in two balls to limit the Bulls, who finished their 40 overs 8/183.
Having made totals of more than 200 in the previous two weeks, Wallan had reason to be confident of chasing the total, but never settled into its innings.
Opening batsman Ryan Cumberland had his leg stump upended early in the innings after he misplayed a pull shot, and Wallan never looked like recovering afterwards. The team was bolwed out for 75 in only 22 overs.
“We definitely didn’t handle the occasion well at all. We were beaten by the better team on the day,” Wallan captain Steve Bell said.
“They bowled very tight and didn’t allow us any easy runs. They stopped us from getting any score on the board at all, and maybe we panicked and tried some big shots to try to get some runs, but it never happened.”
Bell said despite the loss, it had been a positive year for the Magpies.
“To go from not making finals to coming runner up is a good effort. I still do think there is a lot of improvement within the ones team at the club,” he said.
“There are a few things we really need to work on. We need to work harder at training and be more committed than what we were this season.”
Thirds claim victory
The news was far better for the Wallan thirds, who took out the division four premiership with a five-wicket victory over Melton Centrals.
After Centrals won the toss and batted, the Wallan attack got straight to work.
Giant 17-year-old Matt Wood struck early to remove Melton’s Moneeb Khalid and first-drop Sandip Kalia, while spinner Steve Falla worked from the other end.
Steve Matthewman continued the run of tight bowling with well-placed medium pacers, taking three middle-order wickets to have Melton Centrals 5/79.
Beau Fowler removed Melton’s Bailey Storer caught and bowled at the tail end of the innings, with the home team finishing 8/132.
The run chase got off to a rocky start when Jason Dodd was controversially given out for four, but Tim Page (23) and Brad Bishop (man of the match with 57) stabilised to help put Wallan in a winning position.
Bishop was eventually stumped, but Steve Kerr (23) and Craig Hemphill (7) brought up the winning runs with more than three overs to spare and five wickets in hand.
Captain Robbie Fowler said it was a fantastic way to cap the season.
“The opportunities to play in a grand final don’t come around every year, let alone winning it. They’re gold when they present themselves, and you’ve got to grab that opportunity,” he said.
“The partnership in the middle with Bishop and Falla, and the way they scored the runs so quickly just busted the game open.
“Our hard work was with the ball. We strangled them with the ball and they just couldn’t keep going. They never really catapulted the innings. We had six guys over 45 and two 15-year-olds, and they were absolutely pivotal.”