By Sam Watson
• B Grade, Division 1
PHILLIP Island has won the B Grade Division 1 premiership, successfully chasing down Koonwarra’s respectable total at Leongatha Secondary College’s East Campus.
Koonwarra L/RSL captain James Rushton won the toss and chose to bat, and things weren’t looking great early.
Both openers were gone for single figure scores and Phillip Island looked to be right on top.
First drop batter Brad Anderson slowed down the pace of the game immensely and his steady 28 got the Cougars back on track, but it was the brilliant batting of Brendan Tomada and Rushton that had Phillip Island worried.
Tomada would go on to make a well-paced 63 and Rushton made 54 off as many balls, putting his side in a strong position.
Phillip Island veteran Clint Wilson was the one to dismiss Rushton, and he picked up the next two wickets, restricting Koonwarra to 7/186 after 50 overs and finishing with 3/30 off 10 overs.
Phillip Island knew they’d have to have a solid start to challenge Koonwarra, and they did with both openers getting amongst the runs.
One of those was captain Steve McIntyre who made 38 and the other was Kurt Lane who made 59, which included six fours and three sixes.
The opening stand was 69 runs, with Lane contributing 59 to that partnership, but the pressure was back on once he was given out LBW.
Koonwarra’s bowlers took a couple of quick wickets, and the pressure was building with every over that went by.
But Phillip Island recovered, with Matt Dennerley and Wilson making 20 and 21 respectively.
And despite Koonwarra’s resiliency and their ability to take wickets, Phillip Island passed their score with just two wickets in hand at the start of the 48th over.
Callum Buckland did his best for Koonwarra, taking 3/32 off eight, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Phillip Island’s experienced batters.
Once again, it was a well-deserved premiership for Phillip Island, only losing one game all season and remaining the best side in the division all year.
Poowong-Loch pull off fairy tale finish
• B Grade, Division 2
IN one of the greatest stories in Leongatha and District Cricket Association history, Poowong Loch has won the B Grade, Division 2 premiership, less than 12 months after the club looked to be on its knees.
After only being able to field one side in the 2020/21 season, and with multiple players departing the club in the off season, the future of Poowong Loch was in serious trouble.
But with hours of hard work from a tight knit committee, collaboration with the league board, and the appointment of Peter Miller as coach, they had revived the club, the team and its players, and reached the B2 grand final against OMK at Koonwarra Recreation Reserve.
Miller had played all year, but would sit out in the grand final, entrusting his players to get the job done against his former club.
The first point of order was winning the toss, which they did, and chose to bat first.
Brothers Said and Anwar Magnusson started their innings very patiently, seeing off their opening bowlers and making sure they wouldn’t take any scalps.
But once Anwar was out for 15, another two fell shortly after and their hard work looked to be undone at 3/36.
However, Shannon Rozario was prepared to save the day, and he put on an 81-run partnership with Michael Buzasi to give them the upper hand.
Rozario’s dismissal while on 58 spelled an end to the partnership, and OMK broke through for another immediately after, getting Buzasi out LBW on 21.
But then the fireworks came, with Greg Miller blasting 59* off 34 balls, leading Poowong Loch to 7/194 after 50 overs.
OMK would’ve felt bullish about chasing their opponents total down in 50 overs, but they would’ve felt hot under the collar when one opener was gone for a duck and the other for only five, both falling victim to Buzasi’s cagey deliveries.
Captain Russ White got his side back in track, but Buzasi struck again, bringing them to 3/23.
White continued batting while more of his teammates struggled, and the pressure was put on big hitter Owen Fitzpatrick to perform.
White’s steady innings came to an end on 31, but Fitzpatrick started to find his groove, hitting four fours.
Once again, it was Buzasi who got the critical breakthrough for Poowong Loch getting Fitzpatrick caught on 32.
With the game still in the balance, Matthew Walker 35 and Patrick Jobling 21 fought hard late, but Poowong Loch proved to be too strong in the final stages, winning by 17 runs.
Buzasi finished with 4/21 off 10, proving to be the difference in the second innings.
The emotional and exhilarating win signals a new era for Poowong Loch, and who knows what the future may hold for the club now they’ve showed they can deliver silverware for their players.