By Tara Murray
The buy-in from the playing group has helped East Sunbury exceed expectations in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association Johnstone Shield competition.
Under a new leadership group, the Thunder set about getting back on track and starting to build for the future.
With one day left in the regular season, the Thunder are set for a finals spot and could claim the minor premiership.
Thunder captain Lance Watts said they were thrilled with how the season had panned out so far.
“When I arrived at the club we wanted to start building for the next few years, it wasn’t about playing finals straight away,” he said.
“We’ve exceeded all expectations. The buy-in from players for spots, by all reports we haven’t had that the last few years.
“We’ve got at least 15 guys to choose the first side. It’s made quite a difference.”
While the Thunder sit 14 points clear of fifth spot, Watts said they were not thinking their finals spot was secure.
After day one of their final round match with Wallan, the Thunder are one step closer to finishing in that top four.
East Sunbury won the toss and decided to make Wallan bat.
It proved to be the right decision, as the Thunder bowled the Magpies out for 108 in the 41st over.
Watts said they were thrilled with that outcome. “We don’t want to relax,” he said.
“We expected a difficult fight in the last round, Wallan is a decent side and played in the McIntyre Cup the last couple of years.
“It’s quite a quick ground, we were happy to bowl them out for that.” Steve Grey took five wickets, with Watts saying that he had turned back the clock.
“His experience helps with both the bat and ball.”
After losing an early wicket, the Thunder batted well, finishing 1-72 at stumps. Josh Smith and Shannon McDorman are the not out batsmen.
Watts said they couldn’t have asked for much more from them.
While in total control, Watts said they know they haven’t got the win yet.
“The key is to get the points and go from there.”
The finals make up will be sorted next week, but Watts said should they make it, they think they are in with a shot.
“We’ll go out and give it a red hot crack. Finals are a different game, we’ll take it one game at a time.”
In other matches, there was plenty of wickets across the board. Gisborne, which needed a win to try and move into the top four, bowled Macedon out for 105.
The Dragons are 1-33 in reply. Sunbury Kangaroos, who are in the same position as Gisborne, bowled Sunbury United out for 120, with Mace Green taking 6-32 for the Kangaroos.
Rupertswood had a disappointing day with the bat, bowled out for 89 by Bacchus Marsh. The Bulls are 2-50 in reply.