Inverloch’s Lewis Rankin worked up some serious pace on Saturday as he strained to get the breakthrough against Wonthaggi Club in the A1 grand final at Scorpion Park in Leongatha. m531318

Club’s Alex Geyer came in at a tense stage in the match, first wicket down, and played cautiously at first, as the situation demanded, but went on to make a solid contribution of 37 when it was most needed. M451318

Umpires Graham Laird, left, and Greg Goss with man of the match Ryan Thomas. N251318

LDCA president Russ Matthews presents Club captain James Sheerin with the A1 cup. N242318

Ryan Thomas blasts Club to another premiership

A WITHERING burst of batting from Ryan Thomas has led Wonthaggi Club to another A Grade Division 1 premiership against Inverloch at the weekend.
It was a much closer contest than last year when the two teams met, but the same result.
The start of the match at Scorpion Park in Leongatha was delayed due to the heavy rain that fell in the morning and continued into the early afternoon.
But when it stopped the ground dried quickly and play began – the match reduced to a 71-over a side affair, instead of the usual 90 for finals at that level.
Club won the toss and decided to bat on the beautiful looking deck.
Mitch Thomas and Sam Huitema provided a solid start backed up by Alex Geyer at
first drop.
There was still time for 50 overs on Saturday after the late start and at stumps, everything had gone to plan. Club was 3/140 with 21 overs to bat on Sunday with wickets in hand.
Ryan Thomas and Daniel Turton were the not out batsmen and after safely negotiating the night before, Thomas let it be known to all what his intentions were on Sunday morning.
He dispatched Inverloch skipper Kit Rotthier for a six on the second ball of the day and the runs kept coming at pace.
Turton joined in on the fun as they took the score to 222 before Turton was dismissed by Tom McQualter.
Thomas didn’t last much longer, stumped by Wal Taberner off the bowling of Will Rankin.
Handy cameos from Jake Wallace and Mark McCall ensured Club had posted an imposing total of 286. Club had doubled their score in 20 overs.
McQualter was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets but all four bowlers used got some tap on Sunday.
Inverloch’s run chase started steadily with Tim Thornby and Brett Debono opening up and seeing off the Ryan Thomas and Ryan Birkett.
But it was pretty slow going and when Debono tried to increase the tempo he was brilliantly caught by Ryan Thomas off the bowling of Alex Geyer.
Next in Warren Stewart took his time to settle, but he couldn’t resist a short wide ball from Zane Macdermid and Mitch Thomas did the rest at point.
Thornby batted on patiently and put together a handy 60 run stand with Taberner before Thornby was dismissed by McCall for 54.
The run rate required pushed up toward eight an over and sensing the need for boundaries, Club skipper James Sheerin stuck most of his fielders on the rope.
Mark McCall ran out Rotthier and another super catch, this time from Turton to get rid of McQualter, put Club in the box seat.
Inverloch needed 100 runs off the final 11 overs with dangerous Dave Newman and Will Rankin at the crease.
They were restricted to mostly ones and the odd two with Ryan Thomas and Birkett bowling well.
Then two sixes in two balls, one from each of the batsmen, gave Inverloch some hope.
But it was short lived.
Birkett knocked over Newman with a Yorker, and not long after, Turton ran out Rankin and it was all over then.
Inverloch was all out for 234. Thomas and Birkett were the best of the bowlers, supported by a typically high standard job by the fielders.
Umpires Greg Goss and Graham Laird awarded Ryan Thomas with another man of the match award.
Laird thanked the skippers for their cooperation throughout the rain delays.
Both captains praised the Leongatha Town Cricket Club for the preparation of the pitch in trying conditions.
Rotthier said Thomas was the difference between the two teams.
“He and Daniel Turton turned the game this morning.”