You run out of superlatives to describe the impact veteran all-rounder Craig Sheedy has over Williamstown.
The Seagulls would likely not be perched on top of the sub-district cricket ladder had Sheedy not opted to come out of retirement in his 40s.
“He’s so good,” Seagulls’ playing assistant coach Brent McMinn said. “He’s a massive part of our success this year. It’s not only his batting and bowling, it’s his experience as well.
“Just having him around the team is priceless.”
Like so many times before, Sheedy played the role of match-winner for Williamstown in Saturday’s 95-run mauling of arch-rivals Werribee at Williamstown Cricket Ground.
Sheedy gave the Seagulls a shot in the arm with the bat, making a quickfire 56, including two fours and three sixes, to get them to a respectable 8-172 off the allotted 45 overs.
He then did the bulk of the damage with the ball, taking 4-9 off six tight overs, leaving Werribee in ruins, all out for just 77, in 28.3 overs.
But, unlike seasons past, Williamstown is not as reliant on its veterans to win matches. Sheedy may be the base of this sweet cake, but there are many tiers and layers of icing on top.
“We’ve got a lot of depth,” McMinn said. “A couple of young guys have stood up really well.”
There can be no underselling the value of middle order batsmen Mitchell Streiff and Matthew Dervan. Streiff made a patient 27 in a 68-run stand with Sheedy. Dervan batted with the tail to make 30 not out and give the Seagulls a big enough score to defend on a flat wicket.
Even number 10 Daniel Popa left his mark with 22 not out.
It was the same with the ball and in the field, though – the work was shared by each and every Williamstown player.
Bryce Preston’s 3-12 off 5.3 overs, including two in the first over, set the tone. Popa capped a neat game with 2-20.
It’s this kind of team work that has Williamstown on top of the sub-district ladder.
“We’ve got a really good team balance at the moment,” McMinn said. “We have a lot of faith in each other … that’s what good teams do.”
Williamstown will face sixth-placed Taylors Lakes in a mouth-watering, two-day game starting on Saturday at Lionheart Reserve.
Meanwhile, Altona has further dented Yarraville’s finals chances with a comfortable 49-run win at the Yarraville Oval on Saturday.
The A’s posted a commanding 7-213 off 45 overs after a 110-run opening partnership of Aaron Maynard (66) and David Kinsella (40).
Yarraville was bowled out for 164 in 41 overs. Matthew Love was top-scorer (70), while Shannon Clarke did damage for the A’s with 4-19, taking his season’s wicket tally to 20.
Fifth-placed Altona travel to Hoppers Crossing on Saturday; Yarraville visits Croydon.