Gladstone Park’s fairytale ending didn’t come to fruition with the Burras falling short in the North West Metropolitan Cricket Association’s George Luscombe Shield grand final at the weekend.
After almost folding last season because of a lack of numbers, the Burras picked themselves up and rose up the ladder this season. Having knocked off ladder leaders Buckley Park in the semi-final, the Burras had the task of facing up to perennial premiers Kealba-Green Gully in the grand final.
The Cougars’ experience showed through at the right time to get the win.
For Burras president Glenn Smerdon, the result was bittersweet.
“I’m so proud of the way the boys have performed all season,” he said. “Considering where we have come from, it’s another step in the right direction. In the end the best team won on the day.”
Early on, the Burras looked in control of the match with Francis Keenan running through the Cougars batting line-up. He snared 7-16, leaving the Cougars in trouble at 9-119.
The last wicket partnership put on 90 runs to push the score past 200 and put the game back on an even keel.
The Cougars were bowled out for 209.
Keenan finished with the figures of 7-37.
Smerdon said Keenan’s performance in the grand final was only the beginning of what he believed would be a great career and the reason why they recruited him.
The Burras didn’t get off to the best start with the bat and were 1-18 at stumps on Saturday.
Sunday didn’t get any easier, with the Burras struggling to form partnerships. They were eventually bowled out for 128.
Smerdon said they had been confident going into day two, but the Cougars experience showed through.
“We thought we could get the runs despite it not being an easy ground to score,” he said.
“They bowled really tightly and bowled well.
“They got consecutive wickets and we weren’t able to recover after that.”
Smerdon was full of praise for outgoing captain-coach Andrew Shanahan and the work he had done for the club the past two years.
“We’ve known internally for the last few weeks that he was going to step down,” he said.
“The way he had led the boys has been amazing. He will continue to contribute to the club and is an important person for the club going forward.”
Smerdon said they hoped the grand final appearance would be the start of something bigger for the club.
“We had five home-grown players in the side and they all performed well,” he said.