You’d hate to be an opposition captain attempting to plot the downfall of Williamstown in this season’s Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association finals.
With no glaring weaknesses, the Seagulls have one of the most even teams, from players one through to 11.
There’s a mix of age and experience, senior players who are some of the best time-honoured leaders in the competition, and younger players with enough experience not to be overawed by the impending finals’ campaign.
There’s depth in their batting; five batsmen – Brent McMinn (505 runs), Dale McDonald (414), Mitchell Streiff (363), Craig Sheedy (329) and Matthew Dervan (272) – all scored more than 250 runs this summer. And there’s an imposing bowling attack; five bowlers – Patrick O’Malley (25 wickets), Daniel Popa (23), Bryce Preston (23), Sheedy (20) and Streiff (16) – all took more than 15 wickets.
How do you stop a side with so many weapons?
Williamstown’s veteran all-rounder Sheedy knows that if one player is down on a particular day, chances are another handful will step up, which is the reason the Seagulls clinched the minor premiership and are the team to beat going into finals.
“We haven’t gone out of our way to make it like that, it’s just sort of evolved that way, with different guys performing each week,” Sheedy said.
“We understand that you’re not going to get runs and wickets every week, that’s just how cricket works.
“But we’ve been able to find enough blokes each week to contribute enough to get us over the line.”
Sheedy puts Williamstown’s success down to some good old-fashioned hard work and stability at the top. Captain-coach McDonald has implemented a program and the players have universally bought into it.
“Dale’s running a really tight ship, and he’s very organised,” Sheedy said.
“People have been following that; they’re all jumping on and we’re all on the same page … the hard work is starting to pay off now.”
Williamstown is not taking anything for granted though. The Seagulls know they will have a target on their back as the top-ranked side when finals begin on Saturday.
“We’ve done the hard work, got ourselves in a good position, now we’ve got to push even harder now to make sure we’re playing in the last game of the year, and we get on top in that one,” Sheedy said. “That starts from the first final.
“It’s great that we’ve done what we’ve done to get where we are, but we’ve still got a long way to go to make sure we get what we want.”
The Seagulls are gunning for their first top-flight premiership in a decade.
They also have their seconds and thirds in finals action – both of those sides finished the season as minor premiers too, ensuring the club wrapped up the KG Fewster Club Championship award.
“The ball’s in our court now,” Sheedy said.
Williamstown will host Taylors Lakes in week one of the finals at Williamstown Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in other qualifying finals, Altona gets on the road to meet Noble Park, while Werribee also gets on the road, heading east to Balwyn.