Sunbury will need a miracle with the bat if they are to pull off a highly unlikely victory in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup grand final.
Sunbury’s skills and patience will be tested on the last day of the grand final after Gisborne hit itself into a winnable position after the first two days.
The Dragons made the most of their batting time, batting the whole 120 overs, to push the score to 9-307 to put themselves in a good position.
Sunbury playing coach Justin Nelson said the Dragons batsmen made the most of their opportunities.
“It was a tough 120 hours in the field in that heat,” he said.
“Full credit to Gisborne. We bowled well, and only had one catch put down in the field.
“They have a fantastic batting side with a lot of finals experience and it showed.”
The Dragons had four batsmen make 50s, including number nine, Jay King who made an unbeaten 51 on Sunday.
For Sunbury, it was a tough couple of days for the bowlers in the heat. Four players bowled more than 20 overs each. Skipper Jason McGann, who bowled 33 overs, took 4-71 including 11 maidens.
Nelson said they had hoped to get through to stumps at about 2-70 or better having had to face 35 overs.
The innings didn’t start well with Nelson out for five and fellow opener Paul Webber back in the sheds not long after, leaving Sunbury 2-16.
It didn’t let up when the change bowlers came on, with Clinton Young stepping up for the Dragons.
He took three quick wickets without Sunbury scoring, and at one stage was on a hat-trick.
Sunbury was 5-51 at stumps, still more than 250 runs behind.
Nelson said while they know it’s not an easy task, they haven’t given up hope.
“A good situation would have been 2-70 at stumps,” he said.
“Now we have to bat out our overs [on day three] and we’ve got 85 overs to get the runs.
“We’ve still got some experienced batsmen at the crease. Jason McGann is really experienced, while Jack Landt has made a century in a grand final before.
“Heath Boffey can stick around and Apo Stephen who came back into the side can also bat.”
Landt will resume on five not out, while Craig Ballinger who has already faced 72 balls will resume on 18.
Nelson said there wouldn’t be any change to training during the week.
“We won’t be doing anything different,” he said.
“We’ll try and get as much bat on ball as we can and hopefully we can make the runs on Saturday.”