Eynesbury Eagles have stormed into the Western Suburbs Churches & Community Cricket Association’s A.E Lowe Shield grand final.
The best side in the competition all season, the Eagles again starred with the bat, posting yet another 300-plus score in their semi-final encounter with Rockbank.
Eagles captain Luke Castle said the match could have unfolded differently if the Rams had taken their chances early on.
“There was a bit of pressure on us, having finished on top of the ladder,” he said.
“At the start of the day they dropped myself and Tristan Francis. It could have been 2-6, but instead we ended up being 0-190 and it went on from there.
“Tristan made a massive 124, while I made 61 and my brother [Hayden] made 62.”
The Eagles finished 343, bowled out with 8.1 overs remaining. Daniel Piccolo took five wickets for the Rams.
With a big total on the board, all the pressure was on the Rams, who needed a good start. Instead, it was the Eagles who got off to a flyer.
“My brother was bowling the first over and on the fourth ball he clean bowled Jackson Spencer, who is their best batsman,” Castle said.
“Their captain, Neil Burton, hung around and played a handy knock of 49, but didn’t have much support.”
The Rams were bowled out for 137, handing the Eagles a 206-run win and securing their grand final spot.
Hayden Castle claimed 5-25, while Ray Davis took three wickets.
Despite having made the grand final, the Eagles aren’t happy yet. They still have bigger fish to fry.
The last time the Eagles faced their grand final opponent, West Melbourne, the Eagles had an easy win on the back of centuries from the Castle brothers.
“The boys said after the match that the job isn’t done until we win the premiership,” Luke Castle said.
“Last time we smashed them, but finals is a different ball game.”
The Eagles will have a couple of tough selection decisions during the week, with Graham Brooks and Reece Andrews available for selection.
“Graham made 500 runs last season playing for Manor Lakes and batting at six or seven takes the pressure off,” Castle said. “He’s a quality all-rounder.
“Reece has been in Hawaii, but will be back next week. It’s hard to make changes to a winning semi-final team, but I think we’re a more even side with both of them in the team.”
In a Tasman Smith Shield C grade semi-final, the Rams defeated Eynesbury.