By Tara Murray
Sunbury is through to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association Russell Pollock division 5 grand final in its first year of the competition.
Having made the move to the VTCA this season, Sunbury has made itself right at home and is clearly one of the two standout teams in its division.
Roar captain-coach Craig Ballinger said it was a massive achievement for the club.
“For our first year in the competition, our firsts and seconds are both through to the grand final.
“To have both sides in grand finals is a lucky bonus.
“We [the first XI] set ourselves at the start of the year, without being cocky, we were confident we could make the grand final.
“We thought we could do it … The job is half done.”
The Roar’s semi-final against Melton South Royals had a delayed start.
Wet weather during the week left the ground wet on Saturday and the match became a one-dayer on Sunday.
The Royals won the toss and elected to bat, with Ballinger saying it was a toss you were happy to lose.
The Roar’s bowlers did the job early on, bowling the Royals out for 75.
“We would have been happy to bat first,” Ballinger said.
“We bowled well early and the group continued to do what they were doing.
“Jason McGann had one dropped first ball, which showed we were on early.
“If I’m being critical, they probably got 20 runs they shouldn’t have got.”
Jason McGowan was the star early on, taking 4-16 off eight overs.
Ballinger said McGowan had stepped up in the past few weeks. “He’s taken his game to another level,” Ballinger said.
“We knew that he had it in him. When Jay [King] went down, Jason got his chance to open the bowling and he’s taken it. “It shows our depth.”
Sunbury got off to a horrible start with the bat and was in trouble at 3-8. Ballinger said the first 10 overs with the bat was one area of their game they still had to work on.
“We played a couple of sloppy shots,” he said.
Jordan Tentonello was key in rescuing the innings, making a hard-earned 27. I
n just his first year at the club, the 18-year-old has shown ability above his years and allowed players down the order to play their natural game.
Stephen Treweek hit the winning runs with a six, with the Roar finishing 4-77.
Ballinger said Treweek’s confidence with both bat and ball rubs off on the rest of the group.
The win sealed promotion for next season for the Roar and a spot in the grand final against Moonee Valley the next two weekends.
Ballinger said the indications early in the season were that these two teams were the best two teams in the competition.
Moonee Valley leads the ledger 1-0 this season with the other game washed out.
“We saw them right at the start of the season, with Stevie nearly getting us home. “We have come a long way and they have developed as well. It should be a good game.”