The LDCA A Grade Premiers for 2013-14 are Wonthaggi Workmen’s Cricket Club after a dour struggle with their nemesis of the previous year. OMK, at the Wonthaggi Turf last weekend. Members of the winning team are L-R back, Mitch Davey (12th), Jacob Thomas, Gav Britt, Ryan Thomas, Dave Britt, Joel Liddle, front, Sam Huitema, Mitch Thomas, Tim Hooper (c), Daniel Turton, Jay Baker and Gavin Bolding.
WONTHAGGI Workers won their umpteenth A Grade Cricket Premiership at the Butch West Oval last weekend, however, after they managed what looked to be a very gettable total of 181 on Saturday, it was no sure thing.
But there’s an old adage in cricket that you don’t know what a good score is on a wicket until the other team bats on it.
And that certainly proved to be the story of last weekend’s LDCA A Grade Cricket Grand Final.
“It was a fair wicket for both teams but we knew after batting on it on Saturday that both teams were going to have to work hard for their runs,” said a relieved and delighted Wonthaggi Workers’ captain, Tim Hooper, at the presentations afterwards.
He praised groundsmen Butch West and Aldo Sartori for their efforts, and the Bass Coast Shire staff were also thanked but he acknowledged that the rain, at a crucial stage during the week, had limited preparations on the wicket which lacked the bounce of a hard, dry deck.
So, as it turned out, Workers’ 181 was the winning score, but the OMK players had a right to feel satisfied with their work as they left the field on Saturday and looked to be in it with a big shout when play resumed at 11am on Sunday.
But, oh dear, they were certainly under the pump early with twin speedsters Jacob Thomas and Ryan Thomas firing down their thunderbolts.
In a dream start for Workers but a nightmare for OMK both openers were gone without any runs on the board; Adam Miller out to Ryan Thomas, caught by Gav Britt and then Jesse Van Rooye out to a controversial LBW decision given by umpire Graham Laird… but then again they’re always controversial.
Trouble became disaster soon after when OMK captain and prolific run-scorer Jason Wilson was gone for one with the total on 3/7. It was always going to be a long way back from there and OMK’s batsmen never really got their noses in front after that.
Crucial in the final analysis were the modest partnerships formed by Wonthaggi Workers’ players right through their innings, eking out 10s and 20s, while also batting out the 90 overs.
Opener Dave Britt 29, did a good job of providing some stability at the top of the order while brothers Ryan and Mitch Thomas also put on 29 each to get the score past the 150 mark.
There were still a lot of overs left when tailenders Jacob Thomas and Joel Liddle came together but they pushed the ball around in an unbeaten partnership of 23 which finished with a flourish of four by Liddle to get the score to 181.
Both teams had their game faces on as they left the field on Saturday knowing it was very much ‘game on’ on Sunday.
Despite the disastrous start to their innings, OMK’s chase had some bright moments and leading up to lunch it looked as if Tom Wyatt 33 and Daniel Lloyd 31 were getting it back on even keel with the score at 3/65.
But in sight of lunch, Wyatt was controversially given out caught. The talented young sportsman, who has taken his considerable footy skills to Casey Scorpions this year, isn’t one to linger as a rule when given out but his delay at the crease was an indication that something wasn’t quite right.
But, it’s in the book now and proved to be a blow from which they didn’t recover.
Kris Kerr, Barry Wyatt and Russell Greaves added a few more runs but when the veteran Gavin Bolding was brought, he immediately hit a difficult length and made short work of the tail – OMK all out for a fighting 111, still well short of Workers’ modest total.
Ryan Thomas was named ‘man of the match’ for his 29 and 4/33, both equally important in the context of the result.
The win put Workers back on top of the LDCA where they have ruled the roost for many a long year.