A REMARKABLE 99 from opener Rohan Blandford proved to be the match winning innings as Bairnsdale stormed home to win its 10th senior Gippsland Cricket League title against Sale-Maffra on Sunday.
The victory thwarted the Sharks’ bid for a hat-trick of GCL premierships.
After winning the toss, Bairnsdale had no hesitation in electing to bat first in conditions favourable for batting at Leongatha.
After losing Scott Davidson early, player of the match Blandford then combined with Phillip Neville as the pair put on 152 for the second wicket. Neville departed for a well made 55 before the right-hand/left-hand combination of Billy Collinson (24) and Hayden Erfurth (33) ticked the scoreboard along at a run-a-ball to see Bairnsdale post 5-238.
Stuart Anderson was Sale-Maffra’s only multiple wicket taker as scalps proved hard to come by.
In response, the Sharks put in a determined effort but were ultimately left about 39 runs short, bowled out for 197 in the 48th over.
Starts to Anthony Scott (24), David Atkinson (37), Brad Scot t (25) , Jack Tatterson (24) and Stephen Parry (42) were ultimately in vain as spin twins Stephen Grobler (3-38) and Billy Collinson (3-23) did the damage to see Bairnsdale through.
FOR the first time since 1988, and the first time in the under 18s age group, Central Gippsland returned home as the premier youth association in Gippsland.
The association’s investment in the Peter Siddle Squad, a program aimed at developing young players within Central Gippsland for Premier Cricket in Melbourne, vindicated itself as it easily accounted for Sale-Maffra in the grand final at Leongatha.
Central Gippsland skipper Benn Zomer led from the front in a player of the match performance, notching a fine half century at the top of the order.
He was ably supported by Will Kennedy, who played a busy innings which kept the run rate around a run-a-ball.
With 130 on the board in the 35th over, Central Gippsland would have been looking at the 220 mark, however some tight bowling toward the end by Sale-Maffra’s Brayden Glenn (3-28) and Charlie Morrison (3-38) restricted it to 193.
At the tea break the match had the makings of a pulsating run chase, yet some terrific new ball bowling by Central Gippsland took the sting out of Sale-Maffra’s attack and when it lost the first two wickets with only seven runs on the board, the Sharks found themselves on the back foot.
Leo Connolly took four wickets and Zack Brown three as Sale-Maffra was bowled out for 140, with Morrison’s knock of 41 the only score of substance.
It was Central Gippsland’s second GCL title in as many weeks, having also defeated Sale-Maffra in the under 18 twenty20 final seven days earlier.
A FIRST class bowling performance from Jake Wynd saw Sale-Maffra win the under 16s final against Central Gippsland at Korumburra.
After electing to bat first, Sale-Maffra secured handy partnerships of 20s and 30s. Run getters for Sale-Maffra were Kyle O’Reily (38), Noah Hurley (30) and Tom Mann, whose innings of 48 down the order included some monstrous sixes over the fence.
Blair Clymo was outstanding with the ball for Central Gippsland, ripping his leggies to claim 3-16 off 10 overs.
Aydan Connolly also chipped in, taking two wickets with his medium pacers as Sale-Maffra closed at 9-212.
Central-Gippsland was in a good position early in its innings, sneaking along at 1-67 before Wynd introduced himself to the attack. Wynd’s nine overs consisted of five maidens and a return of 3-16 to leave Central Gippsland in a daze.
Only Clymo, who was run out for 28 just as he looked to get going, and Cooper Burgess (who survived five successive leg before wicket appeals early), with 34, managed to trouble to scorers.
Central Gippsland posted a respectable 153, but it wasn’t enough as Sale-Maffra enjoyed the spoils of victory.