B Synthetic Grand Final: North Alphington 131-8 (L Martin 27, N Devidas 23, M Obst 18, C Obst 17, L Waters 12*, L Hogan 11*) def Burwood 128-7 (N Obst 2-19, F Clancy 1-10, M Khan 1-17, N Devidas 1-25, L Waters 1-26) by 2 wickets at Ramsden St Oval.
The B Synthetic grand final hung in the balance from start to finish, but a nerveless 22-run partnership for the ninth wicket was enough to claim the North Alphington first XI’s second consecutive premiership in a grand final rematch with Burwood. Chasing 129 for victory, North Alphington lost wickets steadily throughout, but some composed batting from Liam Hogan and Luke Waters in the final overs decisively turned the match in North Alphington’s favour, with Waters sealing victory with a pair of boundaries in the 39th over.
The chase was built on several handy contributions, with Matt Obst playing an important settling role at the top of the order as North Alphington looked to recover from a pair of early wickets. His departure left the score at a precarious 35-3, but a solid 27 from Louis Martin and a typically aggressive 23 from Nik Devidas cut down the target. Their departures kept Burwood in the game, but Carl Obst steadied the ship with an important 17 before he was run out with 28 runs still needed. The loss of Finnian Clancy to an excellent outfield catch left North Alphington in a tough spot, but Hogan and Waters showed brilliant composure under pressure to seal the win.
Earlier, North Alphington set up victory with a strong bowling effort to limit Burwood to just 128 off 40 overs. After taking the first wicket at the end of the third over, North Alphington were made to work during a 49-run second-wicket stand, but tight bowling and some excellent fielding kept the run rate down. Finnian Clancy eventually provided the breakthrough, and Mohsin Khan and Nik Devidas provided a pair of strikes several overs later to put North Alphington in a strong position. Burwood were able to get a few runs away as they looked to move the score along, but North Alphington recovered well at the death to limit the final total.
In the end, North Alphington’s first XI were able to stand up with the game on the line to provide a fitting end to another excellent season. Nik Devidas capped off a stunning individual campaign with the player of the match award for the final, although the many key contributions which got North Alphington over the line meant he faced stiff competition from across the board. Plenty of new challenges await next season, but North Alphington’s ability to perform under pressure has been a key part of recent successes, and should hold the side in good stead going forward.