Thunder’s roll halted

Thomas Burnside (Jacob Pattison)318047_10

With finals just around the corner the bye might have come at the wrong time for a young East Sunbury team in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association Johnstone Shield.

Before the bye round, the Thunder was in great form, winning its three most recent matches including knocking Wallan just before the week off.

President Mark Wilkins was critical of the bye as he said while it may have benefitted some teams in the division, the youth at the Thunder wanted to keep rolling.

“We don’t like the bye,” he said. “In the second grade of the competition we think it’s pretty average but that’s the way it is.

“If they were a bit older I’d probably say it’s a fantastic thing to have but the boys play cricket Saturday and could play Sunday, Monday, they’re fit enough to get through games.

“For us momentum is probably going to be an important thing.”

After being relegated from the competition’s first division, McIntyre Cup, last season to the second tier, Johnstone Shield, the Thunder established a clear plan and road map leading back to the top flight.

The club is assured of playing finals heading into the final round.

“We’ve set up a long term plan,” Wilkins said. “They’re a young group, they’re inexperienced but they’re getting better. There’s no high end experience in that side, there’s only a couple of 30-year-olds.

“They’re well led, they work well together, they’re brilliant in the field, they’re fit. They’re a bit younger than a few of the other sides so they get through the overs.

“It’s a long term plan, we aim to get back into division 1, we’ll earn our spot, if it’s this year or next year.

“We’ve got a long term goal with guys that are going to hang around for a few years and I’d be very surprised if we don’t have a few more come on board next year because they love the fact that we’ve got a very young side and they blend well and mingle well. I think it’s a popular place to play cricket.”

The Thunder is set to face Aintree for the final match before finals. With Aintree in third place and East Sunbury in second, the sides could match up again in finals, where Wilkins suspects they would have a better chance of claiming victory.

“We’re probably unlucky that we’ve got to face Aintree in another one-dayer,” he said. “Our side is fit enough to get through 75 overs without an issue.

“We pride ourselves on batting through an innings and trying to bowl and field right through the whole day. They (Aintree) are a one day side currently so it suits their style.”

“The greatest thing about the finals is we play Saturday-Sunday, those that play on Saturday might pull up a bit sore on Sunday, but being a young youthful side we probably won’t go though that.”