Sunshine United is using last year’s grand final disappointment as a motivating factor behind its premiership push this season.
The Tigers are back into the Victorian Turf Cricket Association north west division grand final for a second consecutive year after slaughtering Altona North by 153 runs in the semi final at Crofts Reserve last weekend.
Tigers captain Neeten Chouhan said the bitter memories of last year’s grand final loss to Seddon were still fresh.
“It’s big for the club that we’ve got ourselves back into the grand final,” Chouhan said.
“We know what losing a grand final feels like last year, so our aim is to turn that around.”
It was all hands on deck for Sunshine United on Saturday as they posted 9-221 off 80 overs.
Chouhan was top-scorer for the Tigers with 56 before he was run out, but there were handy contributions throughout to ensure they made it a difficult run chase for Altona North.
“It was a good batting wicket, so we knew we had to take advantage,” Chouhan said.
“We got contributions right to the end.”
Chouhan kick-started the innings in a 55-run second wicket partnership with Leigh Sheridan (20). Sangaran Nandhalal (26) and Adam Duxson (38) made important contributions through the middle order.
But the Tigers needed runs from unlikely sources to go past 200 and they got that through tail enders Liam Portelli (30 not out) and Michael Glowacki (24).
It could be viewed as a break out innings for Portelli.
“An incredible knock,” Chouhan said.
“He played good cricket shots, attacked at the right time and defended the ball well.
“He’s still young, he’s 21, but he has some good batting talent that we knew he had and now he’s showing he can do it.”
Altona North never had a sniff of chasing down the target.
North was bowled out for a miserable 68 in 40 overs.
Glowacki continued his stellar summer with the ball, taking 4-29 off 12 overs. He is the leading wicket taker in the team with 29 scalps at an economical average of 9.8.
But the story of the game was the return of Sheridan. The left arm spinner took 3-5 off seven overs, including four maidens.
“He’s been a senior player for the team for a long time,” Chouhan said.
“He’s just come back from an injury, so he needed to get a few games in the seconds and thirds under his belt, but he was always going to be one of those players we look at to play in the finals.”
Sunshine United will face Haig Fawkner in a four-day grand final starting on Saturday.