Lancefield’s third flag in five seasons has seen it rise from a lowly ranked Gisborne and District Cricket Association side to a McIntyre Cup team.
In 2012-13, the Tigers were playing in the E-grade competition and dreams of playing in the McIntyre Cup weren’t even considered.
The side managed to take out the E-grade premiership that season and it was followed by finishing runners up in D-grade in 2013-14 and won the C-grade premiership in 2014-15.
Playing in the B-grade competition last season, the Tigers were happy just to stay in that grade.
This season’s challenge was to win a final. They exceeded that, claiming a sensational grand final victory against Wallan on Saturday.
The Tigers had first innings points in the bag last Sunday and were looking to pile on the runs on Saturday.
They were bowled out for 207 at tea, with a 299-run lead and with about 40 overs to bowl.
Luke Malone top scored with 58.
The Magpies came out attacking, but with that wickets fell – the Tigers bowling them out for 180 in 29.5 overs.
Tigers captain-coach Luke Barker said they had been reasonably confident of being able to secure the outright victory with the total they had set Wallan.
He said they hadn’t batted well earlier in the day, but had still managed to put 200 on the board.
“They were always going to fight it right out to the end,” he said. “We knew we had to get three or four wickets early.
“With 20 overs to go they still had a sniff until we got a couple of wickets.
“We took some great chances and fielded really well. Everyone played their role which was pleasing.”
Malone took five wickets in the second innings, while Matthew Bowden took three wickets to go with his seven from the first innings.
The two bowled unchanged in the second innings.
Bowden was named man of the match. Barker, in his third season as coach, said no one could imagine the rise of the club over the past five seasons.
The club will now play in the top grade for the first time since 1994-95.
“They’ve always had the talent and I don’t think they believed how good they are,” he said.