Super Sale-Maffra

Sale-Maffra won the men's Gippsland Cricket League premiership for season 2021/22. Pictured are (back row) Adrian Burgiel, Isaac Love, Jack Tatterson, Tom Morrison, Taylor Tatterson, Mark Durrant (manager), Jack Rietschel, (front) Rohan Blandford, Nathan Massey, Sam, Anstee, Dylan Bolton and Ben Jones. Photo: Contributed.

Liam Durkin

Sale-Maffra secured the men’s Gippsland Cricket League premiership on Sunday.

A strong performance with the bat saw the Sharks post 9/241 batting first against Traralgon District.

The total proved to be enough on the Glengarry wicket, in what netted a fifth GCL flag in seven seasons for Sale-Maffra and also thwarted the Tornadoes quest for back-to-back titles.

Sale-Maffra openers Adrian Burgiel and Rohan Blandford set a strong platform, combining for a partnership of 65 at the top.

Both players took the game on, with Burgiel cracking 39 from 31 balls and Blandford 45 off 56.

Runs continued to flow from Steve Spoljaric, who top scored for Sale-Maffra with a busy 51 off 65.

Handy contributions featured among the rest of the card, as Taylor Tatterson and Nathan Massey each made 24 and Ben Jones scored a run-a-ball 21.

Traralgon kept themselves in the contest by picking up wickets at semi-regular intervals throughout the 50 over allotment.

Anthony Scott ended with figures of 3/24 and captain Lee Stockdale took 3/28 from his 10 overs.

The pair then went out to open the batting for the Tornadoes in pursuit of the total.

A promising start by Traralgon saw Scott and Stockdale take the score to 30 before Sharks spinner Isaac Love turned the game on its head.

After removing Stockdale, Love took the big wicket of Nat Freitag and then followed up by seeing the end of Scott, who looked set after scoring 30 from 28.

The Sharks first change bowlers then got stuck into the Traralgon middle order.

Al Jenkin did his best to stabilise the innings, but his dismissal for 42 saw the scoreboard reading 6/121.

From there, Sale-Maffra was able to close in on victory, as Traralgon, in trying to do the right thing so the run rate did not climb, continued to play their shots and presented opportunities for wickets.

In the finish, the Tornadoes were bowled out for 143 inside 40 overs. Sale-Maffra captain Dylan Bolton completed a good day for his team, nabbing 5/14 from 7.3 overs. Love took 3/35.

The performance rounded out a remarkable rise for Sale-Maffra, who have gone from wooden-spooner to premier in the space of 12 months.

The men’s final was the only GCL decider played.

The season had previously been suspended due to COVID concerns across all grades, however the men’s final went ahead due partly to the fact Sale-Maffra and Traralgon were mathematically assured of qualification while the season remained active – the only grade where this was the case.

Ordinarily GCL final day coincides with the awarding of All Gippsland caps and other

acknowledgments from the regular season, but these were not presented due to the compromised nature of the shortened season.