Flag bid caps Lancefield rise

Nathan Malone appeals on his way to taking seven wickets for Lancefield. Picture Damian Visentini

Lancefield has already exceeded pre-season expectations, so a Gisborne and District Cricket Association B-grade premiership would be icing on the cake.

In only their second season ever in B grade, the Tigers are a win away from claiming the premiership and securing a spot in the McIntyre Cup after a semi-final win at the weekend.

Tigers coach Luke Barker remains shocked at the development that has come from the side in recent years.

“Three seasons ago we were playing in D grade and now we’re a chance to be playing in McIntyre Cup,” he said.

“What these kids have done over the last few seasons is amazing. As a coach, it’s very pleasing.

“Before last season, only two members of the team had played B grade or higher. Six years ago most of these players were playing E grade.

“There’s only two players who aren’t locals and come through the system.

“We’re pinching ourselves.”

The Tigers earned a shot at the premiership by knocking off the most experienced side in B grade, Sunbury United, in their semi-final at Lancefield.

United, which has won several McIntyre Cup premierships in recent years, was hoping to head straight back up to the top grade.

United batted first and looked in control at 3-173. But as has been the case many times this season, the Tigers dug in.

“We probably thought 200 was on par and would have been a decent score,” Barker said.

“They lost the last seven wickets for 22 runs. The boys stuck at it and luck went our way.”

Nathan Malone turned it on with the ball, taking seven wickets as United was bowled out for 195. Brett McDorman top-scored for United with 92.

The Tigers needed something special for the chase and it was Luke Malone who stepped up.

Barker said he had been telling Malone for weeks that a big score was around the corner and so was glad he came when it really counted.

“It was a special innings,” he said. “Nathan made 33 as well. Nathan has gone to another level. It’s a real credit to both of them and what they’ve done this weekend is really special to them and their family and friends.”

Lancefield finished 7-199, with Malone making 96 not out. Damien Edwards was the pick of the United bowlers, taking two wickets.

The Tigers will face Wallan in the grand final after the Magpies easily accounted for Macedon.

Barker said they were confident of being able to take it up to the minor premier.

“We made 260 against them in the final round and they chased it down,” he said. “We didn’t have Matt Bowden bowl … he’s won the B-grade bowling average.

“It’s finals and anything can happen.”