By Michael Giles
OMK didn’t have enough runs. Their captain Daniel Mock admitted as much at the end of the A Grade Division One cricket grand final at Inverloch today, Sunday, March 14.
But they won a thrilling contest nonetheless, converting the below par total of 9/151 into the 2021 LDCA Premiership by lunchtime on Sunday, despite dropping two soda chances in the middle stages of the Leongatha Town chase and being on the wrong side of a runout decision late in the day.
How did they do it? The OMK captain singled out a few heroes of the weekend including man-of-the-match, bowler Tom Keily for taking three crucial wickets at the top of the Town order on Sunday, Ryan Williams for a brave knock of 46 off 46 balls on Saturday, Noel Creed for batting well with the tail and Adam Miller for a stoic effort with the bat, when their innings was teetering on the brink of disaster.
“Ryan got the score ticking over pretty quickly for us on Saturday and Adam hung around for probably 80 balls and really ground out a grand final innings,” said Mock.
The strategy of smothering the attack, scoring 17 off 82 balls wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.
“It just shifted momentum a bit. We were in pretty dire straits there at one stage and it just got us back into the game and allowed Ryan to do what he did, And then he (Miller) scored quite well towards the end and just kept that scoreboard ticking over when we needed it,” said Mock.
From being 4/37 early in the match on Saturday, OMK got the total up to 9/151 after 50 overs when rain, as predicted, and brought the day to a soggy end.
Leongatha Town had won the toss on Saturday and put OMK in, preferring to chase as they had done so successfully in the past. But the old Ian Chappell adage must surely be ringing in their ears now: “…nine times out of ten you bat first; the tenth time you think about it and still bat first”.
Veteran Wonthaggi cricketer Gavin Bolding agreed: “It’s runs on the board in a grand final”.
And so it proved to be.
The same cavalier style which had seen Sahan Perera hit a six off the first ball in the semi-final didn’t come off in the grand final with Town’s most talented bats Amila Ratnaike 7, Sahan Perera 10 and Madura Madusanka 2 all out cheaply to Tom Keily and back in the sheds with only 32 on the board.
Ron Abeysinghe 29 in partnership with Darcy Hume 26 and then Hume in a handy partnership of 42 with Andrew Lloyd looked to have put the chase back on track but when they went, the team lost 5/12 and it was virtually game over.
OMK dropped good changes in the gulley (Jake Cochrane) and at mid-off (Nick Auddino) but a fine caught and bowled by Tom Wyatt, together with redemption in the field for Cochrane, featuring a stunning runout to finish Town off end the match.
Town had managed only 136 all out off 47.5 overs.
In the end COVID-19 might also have played a role in the result, limiting A Grade to one-day matches this year, offering down-the-order bats little opportunity to hit themselves into form in the centre ready for the blowtorch scrutiny of a grand final.