THE most successful club of the modern era in local cricket, Wonthaggi Club, claimed their umpteenth piece of silverware last Sunday when the 20-20 season concluded with a semi-final and grand final.
However, while they were convincing winners of the grand final against Leongatha Imperials at Inverloch, they had to survive a dangerous situation in the semi-final on the same deck earlier in the day against Phillip Island.
Club looked to be coasting at 1/47 after they held the Island to a gettable score of 7/118 off their 20 overs, despite grassing a few outfield chances. But a flurry of wickets in the middle order, losing 6/43 at one stage, had them in a bit of trouble at 7/90.
Mitch Thomas held the job together with an unbeaten 55 and he found a willing partner late in Alex Geyer, 21, who cracked a couple of fours to ease the tension.
The other semi-final, between Nerrena and Leongatha Imperials was a fairly sedate affair after Nerrena managed a spluttering 8/117 off 20 overs at the Leongatha Turf; only Zack Trease 16 and J Hoy 14 not out getting to double figures.
By comparison Imps did it easily, passing the target in the 16th over and with only four players needing to bat; Mark Lafferty 29, Ryan Higgins 36, Sam Vagg 38 not out and Jack Ginnane 10 not out.
The final though, was a different story with good contributions down the batting order from Club; especially from Mitch and Ryan Thomas, 40 and 37 respectively, and James Sherrin run out for 21. Imps reduced the damage late with some snappy work in the field producing three run outs.
But Imps’ innings never really got started after opener Mark Lafferty pulled a ball hard to square leg where he was caught well by Sam Huitema.
Both opening bowlers, Ryan Thomas and Ryan Birkett were hard to get away, and the pressure for runs built quickly.
All the Club’s bowlers chipped in and they bowled Imps all out for 103. Ryan Thomas was named man of the match in the final with 37 and 1/8 but his younger brother Mitch could easily have been named player of the finals for his key efforts with the bat in both games.
Graham Laird and John Schelling were the umpires in the final.
More photos on page 56
Workers survive semi scare to claim 20-20 shield