SALE-MAFFRA was unsuccessful in its bid for Gippsland Cricket League under 18 and 16 premierships, going down to Warragul in both finals.
Playing at Yallourn North, the Sharks’ under 18s were sent in to bat, with the previous day’s rain giving the Warragul bowlers first use of favourable conditions.
The Wild Dog bowlers did what they had set out, securing early wickets as the first three Sale-Maffra bats scored just 15 runs between them.
With the Sharks’ middle order not fairing much better, the score slumped to 6-44 before Alex Kuizenga scored 38 batting at number eight to creep the score to a defendable 129. With not much support forthcoming, Jonty McGuiness made a handy 17 with 20 runs coming from extras.
Warragul’s best bowlers were Eddie McGillivray, with 3-21, and Charlie Wans, who took 2-30.
In reply, Warragul got to the finish with relative ease, getting across the line in the 36th over to win by six wickets.
All of the Wild Dogs’ top order contributed, with openers Heath Darcy (35) and Tyler Constantine (21) laying the foundation for Jai Newcombe (27), Pat Mulqueen (19 not out) and Matthew Bow (13) to come in and tick the score along.
Cameron Wrigglesworth took 2-15 for Sale-Maffra.
UNLIKE the under 18s, Sale-Maffra’s decision to inject Warragul backfired, with the Wild Dogs able to defend their modest first innings total of 113.
Playing at Burrage Reserve, Newborough, with the notorious “Burrage Bounce” to contend with, Warragul was in all sorts of trouble early at 4-22.
Liam Serong consolidated throughout the middle overs, eventually scoring 28 from 88 excruciating deliveries.
Liam Lenders offered some support with a handy 19 as Warragul got themselves to 113.
For Sale-Maffra, Tom Morrison was superb with the ball, returning figures of 3-7 from eight overs, including five maidens. Others to have an affect were Sam Dunnett (3-23) and Archer McGuiness (2-13).
With one eye turned to victory, Sale-Maffra lost Kane Russell for a second ball duck, as they crashed to 5-36. With the sting taken out of the batting, only McGuiness with an unbeaten 19 was able to put up much of a fight as the Sharks were bowled out for 77.
Warragul found wickets at regular stages, with Michael Garner and Jai Serong each picking up two.
Liam O’Connor was most impressive for the Wild Dogs, taking 2-7 from 10 overs with six maidens nonetheless.
With the majority of cricket in the Warragul District association played on synthetic, the Wild Dogs will take a great deal of confidence out of their two junior premiership wins, and will hope a number of young players will be able to graduate into senior representative sides in years to come.