Seabrook has brushed aside the nerves and lived up to its favouritism tag with a comprehensive semi-final win over Gellibrand in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association west A1 at Bruce Comben Reserve at the weekend.
The Saints were hot favourites after going through the home-and-away rounds undefeated, but captain-coach Leigh Edwards knows that high expectations come with pressure.
“Being the team that’s meant to win, so to speak, you’re always a bit nervous,” Edwards said. “Especially after going 11-0 and not having lost a game all season. So I was very happy with the outcome.”
Seabrook will go into the four-day grand final against second-ranked Grand United at Crofts Reserve in Altona North, starting on Saturday, as the favourite once again.
The two sides met in the final regular season round, the Saints winning comfortably. United had to survive a scare in its semi-final, against Williamstown Congs, moving through after a tie.
United will be no pushover.
It has lost two games all season, so a ripping finale is a strong likelihood.
“We’ve been the two best teams all year, so bring it on,” Edwards said.
“We both deserve to play off in the final and may the best team win. It’s going to be a fantastic game.”
All facets of Seabrook’s game are peaking at the right end of the season.
The Saints’ bowlers hardly put a foot wrong on Saturday, bowling Gellibrand out for 100.
The most pleasing aspect for Edwards was the shared effort, with Matthew Rayner (3-26), Walgama Eranga (2-15), Vishva Weerakoon (2-19) and Hitesh Bavarva (2-21) all claiming multiple wickets.
“It’s been the story for the whole year,” Edwards said. “We haven’t relied on one or two – everyone has really been contributing.”
Edwards was full of praise for Rayner, a homegrown player.
“He’s a bloke who’s played his whole life for the club and he’s the one who’s pushing this whole charge,” Edwards said.
“In warm-ups, he’s the one that’s leading the group and he takes it out on to the field.
“He’s motivating us, he’s up and about the whole time. He just loves the game and is on top of the world at the moment.”
Seabrook only had one or two hiccups en route to easily surpassing the target.
The Saints finished on 3-160 before the captains agreed to call the game off.
Eranga led the push towards victory with 45 before Mitchell Grubb had a bit of fun after the score was passed with 61 not out.
Andrew Hodgart managed yet more red ink in a final, finishing with 32 not out.
“We played a semi-final last year and he was not out after 60 overs,” Edwards said.
“He was not out in the grand final after 90 overs.
“He’s gone through 35 overs today and he’s not out again in this game.
“You just can’t get that bloke out.”