It was a mixed final round of the season for North Alphington's seniors, as the second XI fell short in a finals-deciding clash with Hartley while the first XI won comfortably in the wet to claim top spot and a home final next week.
1st XI: North Alphington 140-6 (F Clancy 33*, M Obst 31, C Obst 25) def Trinity Willison 66 (L Martin 3-10, F Clancy 3-19, L Waters 2-17, L Hogan 1-5, N Obst 1-7) by 74 runs at Pitcher Park.
Wet weather nearly prevented any play at Pitcher Park, but North Alphington’s first XI were able to put the conditions to one side and seal a home semi-final with a strong all-round performance.
Batting first following a delayed start – attempts to render the pitch playable featured several brooms, a shovel, towels and various searches for sawdust (not forthcoming) and a leaf blower – openers Matt and Carl Obst were able to get the scoring flowing early in spite of a painfully slow outfield. Their departures allowed Trinity Willison to find a way back into the game, as the scoring rate slowed and wickets fell in a fairly steady flow. North Alphington eventually found a competitive total through Finnian Clancy, whose unbeaten 33 featured the only boundaries of the first innings and allowed the hosts to take 40 runs off the final three overs of the innings.
The total of 140 proved more than enough, as North Alphington made early inroads with the new ball to leave the visitors 14-3 in the eighth over. From there, Louis Martin and Liam Hogan kept things tight and made several breakthroughs of their own in the middle overs. Some late innings hitting pushed Trinity Willison’s total to 66, but the result never looked in doubt and Clancy completed an excellent all-round performance with the final three wickets of the match.
With other matches left drawn due to the conditions, the win was enough to put North Alphington into first place and set up a home semi-final against Blackburn North United. While tougher matches will undoubtedly follow come finals time, a good last round effort will provide the first XI with plenty of confidence as the season nears its end.
2nd XI: Hartley 172-4 (C Sonnberg 1-31, L Edwards 1-43, O Gyomber 1-40, M Sparrow 1-6) def North Alphington 170-7 (R Lewis 48, D Gyomber 30, D Bell 29, M Sparrow 17, Luke Edwards 16 no) by six wickets at Dandenong Police Paddocks.
North Alphington Second XI’s season is over.
An 11th-hour charge to the finals failed at the last hurdle on Saturday when NACC ran into a brick wall by the name of Isanka Warnakulasuriya. The virtual LOC3 elimination final was dominated by the talented LOC1 allrounder, who took 2-20 off eight tight overs and then blasted an imperious 84 as Hartley chased down 170 in just 29 overs.
At the attractive, semi-rural Police Paddocks five minutes north of downtown Dandenong, NACC batted first and useful contributions from consistent opener Richard Lewis, in-form skipper David Bell and the always dangerous Dennis Gyomber laid the foundations for a very solid total of 7-170. Luke Edwards returned to the side from a debilitating Achilles injury with a useful cameo.
In reply the Hartley boys backed themselves with the bat and smashed 16 fours and six sixes to stroll to victory and a semi-final date with Marcellin. The NACC attack and fieldsmen tried valiantly to stem the tide, but to no avail.
So ends an excellent season for NACC, where the side was always in the hunt for a finals tilt and actually grabbed fourth spot in the penultimate round before stumbling when it counted. Dennis Gyomber (406 runs, third best in the comp), Stuart Mudge (308), Richard Lewis and Darcy Rowland led the way with the bat, and it was mostly juniors who starred with the ball, spearheaded by exciting legspinner Ollie Gyomber (20 wickets, second best in the comp), accurate opening bowler Archie Bell and luckless medium-pacer Lachlan Edwards.
Roll on the 2022-23 season.