Darley hasn’t had many grand final appearances – and now that they’ve made one, they’re aiming to make it count in the Ballarat Cricket Association.
The Lions last tasted premiership success when they were still playing in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association. They’ve never played in a grand final since moving to the BCA in 2002-03.
Coach Heath Pritchard said this year’s grand final against Wendouree will be special for the players and the club.
“It’s good to have made it and it’s given us a chance,” he said.
“Now we’re there we want to win it and that’s the way we’ll go about it next week.
“It’ll mean a lot to supporters at the club, the ones who worked so hard to get a turf wicket in and put the hard work in.
“It’s certainly exciting, but it’ll be the players who feel the win most and they’ll also feel the loss the most.”
Playing finals for the first time since 2012-13, the Lions weren’t overawed by the occasion during their semi-final against Mt Clear and carried on their good late season form to produce a 71-run win.
The Lions didn’t start well, losing two early wickets, but managed to find partnerships at the right time.
Opener Lachlan Herring batted through most of the innings on his way to 116, his third century of the season.
“‘Locky’ batted really well, as did Bradley Barnes  and Drew Locke [45no] – everyone did their job,” Pritchard said.
“We were 2-18 then we got a partnership …then at 4-68 we got another partnership and then at 6-157 we got another partnership, which proved to be the difference in the game.”
Having made 7-255, the Lions were confident they could get the wickets.
“It’s always hard to make 250 in a grand final,” Pritchard said. “Ben Longhurst got a couple of wickets and knocked over their best players. The others chipped in as well.”
Longhurst took four wickets, while Matt Cape took two and Pritchard, Barnes and Sajith Rupasingha one each.
In the grand final, the Lions will face Wendouree, which is going for its first flag since 2012-13.
Wendouree beat Napoleons-Sebastopol in the other semi-final. Wendouree chased down Napoloens-Sebastopol’s total of 223 with two wickets in hand.
The last time the two grand finalists met, in round nine, Wendouree posted more than 300 to seal the win.
Pritchard said they would look to keep things as normal as possible in the lead-up to the game.
The four-day grand final will be played over the next two weekends.