THE Leongatha and District Cricket Association (LDCA) Country Week side returned home with a runner-up finish after succumbing to the powerful Ballarat Cricket Association in Friday’s final.
Ballarat proved to be the only hurdle LDCA couldn’t overcome, with its only loss of the preliminary matches coming against Ballarat in the fourth round, before going down again in the final.
Although the final result was disappointing, this year’s three wins and a finals berth was a step up from last year, when LDCA won two of its four matches.
After defeating Mornington Peninsula 2 in a thriller at Frankston last Monday, LDCA faced Shepparton at Moorabbin Reserve last Tuesday.
Leongatha batted first and posted 7/189 off 50 overs, highlighted by opener Mitchell Clark’s 46 and Sam Graham’s 36 through the middle order.
A fine bowling display saw LDCA bowl Shepparton out for 136 in the 39th over, with Tom Officer (3/24 off nine overs) and Kit Rotthier (3/30 off seven overs) causing damage with the ball.
LDCA batted again and finished 6/40 off 10 overs.
Leongatha had a big win over Sunraysia in a rain reduced 30-over match at Casey Fields on Wednesday.
Sunraysia batted first and were restricted to 8/138 with Jason Wilson claiming 5/13 off six overs for LDCA.
Mitchell Clark (36) and Mark Lafferty put the result beyond doubt with an opening stand of 90, before Lafferty continued to strike the ball at ease on his way to 83 off 71 balls including seven fours and two sixes.
Wilson also got amongst the runs with 51 off 39 balls including six fours and two sixes, as Leongatha reached 5/207 off 30 overs.
LDCA were overwhelmed by the strong Ballarat outfit on Thursday, bundled out for 125 in the 46th over.
Opener Mitchell Clark stood firm for the LDCA, carrying his bat throughout the innings for 63 not out.
The low score proved difficult to defend, with Ballarat hitting 8/193 off 53 overs.
Tim Wightman was the pick of the bowlers with 4/24 off nine overs.
The final at Werribee on Friday gave LDCA another crack at Ballarat, but Ballarat proved too strong once again.
Leongatha batted first and reached 9/136 off 50 overs.
Sam Graham top scored with 29 and Damien Symmons made 26.
The paltry total was easily chased down by Ballarat in the 30th over, with the loss of just four wickets.
Shane Dole picked up 2/18 off 3.4 overs for LDCA.
Mitchell Clark finished as leading run scorer for the week with 156 at an average of 39, while Tim Wightman was the leading wicket-taker with nine wickets at an average of 15.11.