Lalor Stars didn’t enter a team in the Northern Region T20 competition last season.
Now, just 12 months later, the club is one win away from claiming its first T20 title.
The Stars upset Riverside to grab a spot in the grand final against Diamond Creek.
On paper Riverside, ladder leader in Diamond Valley Cricket Association top grade, entered the match as clear favourites against the Stars, who play in the DVCA second grade.
But that meant little on their T20 showdown last Tuesday night.
Riverside made 7-123 from its overs, with Jordan Steele taking three wickets.
Stars chased down the runs with 10 balls remaining, making 4-124.
Andrew Fergusson top-scored with 41 not out as the Stars got contributions from most of their batsmen.
Stars president Scott Hayse said it was a massive achievement for the club.
The previous best result for the Stars in the competition was a quarter-finals appearance.
“A few of the boys said they wanted to put a team in and we just took it one game at a time,” he said.
“We’ve just knocked off arguably the best team in the competition and now we play the second best team this week.”
Hayse said the focus for the side entering the semi-final was to restrict Riverside to between 100 and 120.
The Stars will use a similar approach when facing Diamond Creek, which won through to the grand final by defeating Bundoora United.
Hayse said the wins in the T20 competition had lifted the confidence of the side and that was showing in the Money Shield competition.
The Stars sit two points outside the top four with one and half matches to play.
They were last at Christmas.
Hayse said the disappointment of last season, when they were first with two rounds remaining before missing finals, still hurts the players.
The Stars will have to play well to get past Bundoora United.
“It’s the second last game and if we can win this and win the last game we might sneak into finals,” he said.
“The ball is in our court and if we win both games it gives us a chance.”
United made 9-234 from its overs, with the top eight batsmen all reaching double figures.
Skipper Mathew Ross top-scored with 84 at the top of the order.
In other matches, Mernda made 202 against Hedielberg, with Stephen Solyom and Stuart Wright hitting half centuries.
There was plenty of wickets in Mill Park’s match with Research Eltham Collegians.
The Tigers were bowled out for 146, before having the Collegians in trouble at 4-41 at stumps.
In the Barclay Shield, Bundoora is in control against Old Paradians.
The Bulls would have been disappointed with making just 139, but early wickets have the Wolves in trouble at 4-18.
Jason Kaminski has three of those wickets.
Epping made 167 against North Eltham Wanderers, who are 0-7 at stumps.
The T20 grand final will be held at WA Smith Reserve, Lalor, on Tuesday night from 5pm.