Despite having one hand on the premiership cup, Gisborne won’t be taking Sunbury lightly on the final day of Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup grand final.
The Dragons know better than any that anything can happen in a grand final, after snatching the premiership last season at the eleventh-hour.
At the weekend, the Dragons managed to bat the whole 120 overs, leaving Sunbury to do the chasing in the hot weather. The Dragons finished 9-307.
Dragons’ playing coach Simon Harman said the batting performance was exactly what the club wanted.
“It was really pleasing, especially today,” he said after the game.
“We would have been happy with 240 to 250, or anything above that, and to bat out the whole time.
“The spread of runs was just exceptional and a real team effort. We had an even spread of contributors yet again, which is what we want.”
The Dragons had been 6-187 overnight after half centuries to Harman (51) and Beau Valka (73). Jason Wilson was unbeaten on 37, with Clinton Young to come in after skipper Jarryd Vernon was out on the last ball of the day.
It was then that the Dragons’ batting depth really came to the fore.
“The tempo that Youngy and Jason brought was really good,” Harman said. “Jason added another 30 runs to his score, and then Jay King came in and batted like we haven’t seen in a while. Roby Lane also stuck around.”
Wilson finished with 63, while King produced an equal career-best score of 51 (no).
King, fresh from having fun with the bat, then got the wicket of Sunbury playing coach Justin Nelson early on, with Darcy Nolan getting Paul Webber not long after.
The best was yet to come for the Dragons.
“They [the bowlers] bowled in a high pressure situation to a team that had been in the field for 120 overs,” Harman said. “Youngy is pretty resilient.
“He came on when they were 2-30, and they seemed to be around that mark for a long time. He ended up on a hat-trick ball.”
Young took three wickets without Sunbury scoring.
Sunbury was 5-51 at stumps, still more than 250 behind, with a day to play.
Harman said the Dragons are clearly focusing on the job at hand next week.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We have to do everything right to ensure we have success next week.”
For the Dragons, it was a busy weekend for grand finals, with five senior teams playing off.
In C-grade, a century to Geordy Nolan helped the Dragons to 213 against Riddell. The Bombers are 6-128.