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Newcomers make Gisborne District cricket final

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

In its first-ever Gisborne and District Cricket Association, GDCA, season, Broadford has made the Johnstone Shield grand final in what should be an epic match against Wallan.

Hosting Kilmore for one last time in the 2023/24 season, Broadford posted a sizeable 8/311 on day one that the visitors could not overcome, leaving them on 10/191.

Kilmore had scraped into the finals series in the season’s final round, however select players were in top form against Broadford as Brett Buttler took five wickets on day one and, on day two, Leon Zelvys put on 52 alongside 97 from coach and captain Jacob Walton.

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Broadford still proved to be too much to handle as James Ingham, coach and co-captain Gareth Sharp and Ash Wood posted 89, 75 and 73 respectively, followed up by three wickets apiece from Taylor Shell and Bryce Fleming.

LEADING THE WAY: Broadford co-captain Gareth Sharp eyes a ball on Saturday. ​

Sharp said Broadford managed to settle in despite losing a few early wickets, with Braden Hickey among multiple players that hit their stride to make important contributions.

“[We got] to a really imposing total of 311 and you just don’t really lose many games from that position, so it gave us a lot of options [on day two],” he said.

“We got two early wickets and had them 2/3, which killed the game quite early. It was just a bit of a formality, but Kilmore played well, chasing 311 on day two is a massive task for any club.”

Kilmore announced on Sunday that club icon Kevin Craddock had decided to retire from cricket after a long career as a top batsman, which included his 96 in his Player of the Match performance in this year’s Freddie Baines Shield.

CONSISTENT: Kilmore’s Josh Squire mid-bowl. ​

At Broadford, Sharp said he was proud of the season his side had put together and looked forward to the home grand final at Harley Hammond Reserve.

“At the start of the season we had a revolving door of players in and out of the side, so it’s been really good to progress from that and have a bit of consistency,” he said.

“I think we’re a real red-hot crack against a really good Wallan side … it’s a big advantage to be able to play at home and in that familiar environment that we’re used to, and hopefully we can play good cricket.”

Wallan and Broadford have faced each other twice this season and sit one-one for wins, with Wallan the Johnstone Shield’s top team for the first half and Broadford taking up the mantle since the Christmas break.

Wallan secured its spot in the grand final by defeating Aintree 7/368 to 10/157 at the weekend, headed by 147 from Kieran Atkin and 65 from captain Bryan Vance, as well as a late unbeaten 57 from Todd Keenan.

Scott O’Donnell also took five wickets for Wallan, leaving the side with a lot of momentum ahead of this weekend’s match.

Coach Steve Bell said he expected the grand final to be a ‘very tight, interesting game’.

“We’re feeling okay about it, I think it’s clearly the two best teams playing,” he said.

“Playing on turf I don’t think is going to worry us, at the end of the day it’s just a bit of grass. Obviously it’s different, but it’s not something we’re going to worry about.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a close game between two good teams.”

McIntyre Cup

ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Romsey’s Matthew Milne was on fire for his team’s final home and away match, posting an unbeaten 202. Photo: Romsey Cricket Club.

The final GDCA match of the home and away season was a demonstration of Romsey’s dominance, spearheaded by a colossal 202 not out for top batsman Matthew Milne.

Milne opened for the final day of action against Diggers Rest Bulla Village on Saturday and stayed out in the searing heat all afternoon, supported by 42 from fellow opener Jed Richardson and eventually 141 from coach and captain Ben Way.

Consistent all-round bowling from Romsey on day one kept the visiting Burras to 10/222, which was then dwarfed by the home side on 5/462 – helping it to leapfrog the undefeated Gisborne for top spot on the ladder.

Semi-finals kick off at 1pm this Saturday, with Romsey hosting Sunbury Kangaroos and Gisborne at home against Sunbury United.

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