McGann steals show for Sunbury

Sunbury batsman Justin Nelson. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 206292_01

Tara Murray

A stunning bowling display from Jason McGann turned the Victorian Turf Cricket Association Russell Pollock division 5 grand final right in Sunbury’s favour.

Having set a strong total with the bat, the Roar and their opponents Moonee Valley didn’t expect what was to come next.

McGann ripped through the Moonee Valley top order, taking five wickets, including a hat-trick, to leave Moonee Valley reeling at 5-1.

Roar captain-coach Craig Ballinger said they hadn’t seen anything like that before.

“You can’t write a script for that,” he said.

“I haven’t seen a bowling spell like that to open an innings, let alone a grand final when the pressure is on.”

The hat-trick is McGann’s second this season, after never having got one previously in a long cricket career.

McGann’s performance was one of several to help put the Roar on top after day two of the four day grand final.

The Roar were sent in and for one of the first times this season they had to bat first.

Ballinger said they were planning to bat had they won the toss to give their batters a chance to shine.

Sunbury managed to make 232 in nearly 90 overs, including batting nearly 10 overs at the start of day two.

Ballinger said it was nice to have the chance to post a really good score and make Moonee Valley pay for sending them in.

“It’s the first time we’ve really batted the overs,” he said.

“We’ve had different people stand up at different times and it makes it hard for these guys to jump on the stats.

“Jordie [Tentonello] has just delivered for us again. Me and Juzzy [Nelson] did the work at the start and took the sting out of the game.

“We would have liked a bit more out of the middle, but Jordie did what Jordie does.”

Tentonello finished with 68 not out, while Ballinger made 62.

After being in trouble at 5-1, Moonee Valley put on a partnership of 71 to take the score to 5-72.

Jay King then got the big wicket of Anthony Cafari, who Ballinger said was the key man for Moonee Valley.

Two more late wickets would fall, leaving Moonee Valley in trouble at 8-78.

Ballinger said they were happy with how things were placed despite not claiming a first innings victory on weekend one.

He said they weren’t focusing on what might happen over the next week due to corona.

“You can’t take too much into it, you’ve got to focus on the job at hand,” he said.

“Being a grand final and a long way to go, as you saw [Josh] Gorry and young Cafari dug in and showed the rest of them what they have to do.

“We’re focused on four days of cricket. We knew what we were in for and we’re mentally prepared to play four days of cricket.

“We didn’t get carried away and we stuck to the same process that we’ve been doing the last four to five games.