Two rounds ago, Bundoora United’s biggest worry was making sure it did enough to ensure it remained in the Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Money Shield.
With two wins and other results going their way, the Bulldogs more than sealed their spot, going one step further and have snuck into the top four.
Bulldogs president Grant Flack said everything had come together in the last month of the season.
“We’re really excited after an up and down year,” he said.
“The boys have come right at the right time winning the last couple of matches. Captain-coach Matt Ross put it on the boys heading in to the [Lalor] Stars game and they were desperate not to be relegated in what has been an even season.”
As it worked out, the Bulldogs played Lower Plenty in a virtual elimination final in the final round, with Plenty Valley six points clear heading into the game.
A win by the Bulldogs would mean only an outright win by Mernda could stop them playing finals, with the Bulldogs having a better percentage than both Lower Plenty and Mernda.
Mernda got the win, but wasn’t able to get the 10 points needed, with all three teams finishing equal on points.
Flack said the pleasing thing was knowing that their finals fate was in their own hands.
In a tense game at times, the Bulldogs set up the win on day one when they made 9-233 batting out the whole day.
On Saturday, they bowled Lower Plenty out for 146 in 62 overs.
Scott Barnett took 5-49 in a good all round game.
Flack said Barnett had been a ripper since coming across from Lower Plenty a couple of years ago.
In a good sign for the club, the third XI will also play finals.
Flack said Ross had to take a lot of credit for the efforts of all the sides and their turn of fortunes.
“Matt is so positive with the group and thinks about cricket all the time,” he said.
The Bulldogs face Plenty Power for a spot at the grand final. Power has been the dominant team all season.
Flack knows they will enter the game as underdogs.
“We’re taking a bit of momentum into finals and anything can happen when you’re in finals.
“When we won it four years ago we finished fourth and played Greensborough in a semi-final and won.
“We have nothing to lose. We know we’re coming up against a good team.”
In other matches, Lalor Stars were easily beaten by Heidelberg and Mill Park defeated Eltham.
In the Barclay Shield competition, Bundoora missed out on finals on percentage.
Bundoora was one of three teams which finished on 36 points, but had the worst percentage of those teams.
Bundoora finished its season with a win against North Eltham Wanderers.
Epping and Old Pardians both suffered final round losses.