Back-to-back titles for Sharks

David Braithwaite

SALE-MAFFRA made it back-to-back Gippsland Cricket League senior men’s premierships with a relatively easy win over Leongatha at Yinnar on Sunday.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, the Sharks claimed wickets at regular intervals as Leongatha struggled to find boundaries or rotate the strike on a pitch taking a lot of spin.

At 2-3, things were looking dire for Leongatha, but Daniel Mock and Luke Manders got the side into the 30s before Manders departed for 18.

Mock continued, scoring an innings high 29, but his dismissal ignited a lower order disintegration as Leongatha lost its last five wickets for 27 runs.

Walter Taberner did his best to farm some of the strike with the tail, scoring 17, batting at number seven.

The Sale-Maffra bowlers remained disciplined, with the five bowlers used finding breakthroughs.

Spinners Dylan Bolton and Jack Rietschel sustained enough pressure before striking the killer blow. Bolton took 2-25 and Rietschel a miserly 3-7 from 8.2 overs with four maidens.

New ball specialist Jonny Lash also chimed in, taking 3-24, while Brad Scott and Ben Jones took a wicket each and gave little away, conceding just 17 runs between them in seven overs.

Leongatha scratched out 83, which was only six runs less than its winning total against Traralgon in the final home-and-away match seven days prior.

The game was kept interesting as Sale-Maffra found itself 4-38 and, given the conditions, was still some distance away from the required total.

However, the Sharks remained calm, and won in the 24th over with five wickets still in the shed.

Scott and Josh Davis combined for the winning partnership, the pair putting on 38 for the fifth wicket. Scott got off the mark with a maximum and scored 22 and Davis remained unbeaten on 25.

Leongatha’s Tim Wightman took 2-20 in a commendable effort.

The runners-up may well have lamented the unavailability of all rounder Tim Kiely, who is a proven performer in big games.

Rietschel had the quadruple honour of captaining the premiership team, captaining the All-Gippsland XI, winning player of the tournament and player of the final.

Fellow Sharks Cormac Hassett, Rohan Diamond and Lash were also selected in the All-Gippsland XI for their consistent performances throughout the regular season.

All Gippsland cricket associations will now turn their attention to Melbourne Country Week, which begins on Monday.

SALE-MAFFRA completed a dominant season in the under 18s with an emphatic victory over Bairnsdale at Churchill.

Upon calling correctly at the toss, captain Jake Wynd elected to bat, with openers Tom Morrison and Henry Anderson getting the Sharks off to an ideal start, putting on 64 before Morrison was dismissed for 27.

Anderson then combined with Noah Hurley (24) and Wynd (27) throughout the middle stages, as Sale-Maffra continued to tick the score along.

Anderson was dismissed for 85, saving his highest score of the season for when it mattered most.

A hit and run approach toward the end of the innings got Sale-Maffra a sizeable total of 7-226, which proved to be well beyond Bairnsdale’s capability.

With its confidence shot after chasing leather for the first half of the game, Bairnsdale was never in the hunt and was bundled out for a paltry 60.

The match quickly turned into a victory dance for Sale-Maffra, as all six bowlers used took a wicket.

Wynd was the most prolific, taking 3-12 and Toby O’Reilly took 2-5.

Anderson was named man of the match.

THE Sharks women’s team didn’t experience the same joy as its senior men and under 18s, losing its final to Bairnsdale at Newborough.

The result denied Sale-Maffra a hat-trick of GCL women’s titles.

With the match reduced to 25 overs a side because of unfavourable conditions, Sale-Maffra searched for quick runs and posted 5-101 after being sent in.

Skipper Megen Wrigglesworth led all comers with an unbeaten 36, while opener Delwyn Ahern made 19 and wicket-keeper Lily-Mae Lyndon scored 14.

The Sharks got off to the ideal start with the ball, claiming a Bairnsdale wicket in the first over, as the two Wrigglesworths, Grace and Abby, combined to see the back of Jasmaine Baxter-Saunders.

Despite the early joy, it was all Bairnsdale from then on, with the minor premier passing the required total without losing another wicket.

Captain Beckie Stevens and opening bat Sally Guthrie remained unbeaten with scores of 55 and 42 respectively, with Bairnsdale getting home in the 19th over. Stevens was adjudged best-on-ground for the final.

Megen Wrigglesworth was awarded the women’s player of the year for her efforts in averaging 88 with the bat and taking the second most wickets in the competition.