By Tara Murray
Sunbury has its eyes on an outright win and top spot in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 5 Russell Pollock Shield.
Facing Sunshine YCW in a do-or-die match in the final round, the Roar has the upper hand after day one.
With six sides fighting for four spots, second-placed Sunbury has already claimed first innings points, while all other matches are still up for grabs.
Roar captain-coach Craig Ballinger said their mindset heading into the game was the key behind their performance.
“We entered the game in a bit of a finals mindset,” he said. “
If we didn’t turn up and perform, that’s the end of the season.”
The Roar took a risk taking Jay King into the game under an injury cloud.
The Roar had hoped to bat first to give him another week to recover, but it wasn’t the case, but King wasn’t needed to bowl anyway.
“We’ve got quality players coming through and making the most of the opportunities when they are there,” Ballinger said.
“This week it was Jason McGowan who took 6-22.”
The Roar bowled Sunshine out for just 48.
They used three bowlers, with Michael Treweek also taking three wickets.
Ballinger said Treweek continues to make batters play and make mistakes.
The Roar were keen to make sure that they got the job done on day one, with wet weather already playing a major role this season.
Ballinger said at the same time they were pretty cautious.
“Last round we were in trouble at 5-40 quickly, so we had to get through the first hour and not lose wickets.
“We wanted to bat a bit of time and hopefully get the points.”
Sunbury will resume at 4-110. Ballinger made 54.
Ballinger said despite having secured first innings points, they wanted to claim an outright win and try and secure top spot.
The first innings victory is enough to secure a finals spot.
“We’re going to go hammer and tong to go and get an outright,” he said.
“Moonee Valley is in a bit of strife and if we can get the job done, hopefully we’ll play a couple of home finals.
“The pressure is off and you can already feel it around the rooms, a sense of relief.”
All six of the Roar’s senior sides, five men’s and one women’s, have made finals.
Ballinger said it was a first for the club.
“It’s starting to show how much the club is starting to become a destination club, a club with a point of difference.”