Sunshine has bundled minor premiers East Coburg out of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association north A1 finals to move through to the season decider.
The Crows will meet Moonee Valley in a four-day grand final starting Saturday and go in full of confidence despite being the lowest-ranked team in the finals.
“It’s one-all between the teams for the year, but I’m really confident going in,” Crows captain-coach Troy Stone said.
“We beat them last game, but it’s a four-day grand final, so it’s a battle of toughness and whoever performs best over four days will win.”
The bowlers can take credit for Sunshine’s stunning 17-run first innings win over East Coburg at Brearley Reserve over the weekend.
The Crows could only muster 127 in the first innings, but it was enough as their bowlers left a trail of destruction to have the Easts all out for 110.
With East Coburg in all sorts of trouble on 6-14, Sunshine appeared to be cruising to a mammoth win, but Easts’ lower order dug in to make it a little bit too close for Stone’s liking.
“They came out today aggressive and we knew they would be, but they sort of got away,” Stone said.
“They put on 60-odd for the 10th wicket, so they gave us a fright.
“It came down to the wire.”
East Coburg middle-order batsman James McMahon (55) and tail-ender Daniel Brisci (27) were tough nuts to crack. Asela Dasanayaka Aluthge was the partnership breaker for Sunshine, first snaring the wicket of Brisci and then removing McMahon.
Dasanayaka Aluthge finished with 3-18 off 9.5 overs.
The man-of-the-match for Sunshine though was all-rounder Charith Fernando. Fernando topped his side’s run scorers with 44 and backed it up with the ball to take 4-39 off 15 overs, including four of the top five East Coburg batsmen.
“He’s a classy player and we’re certainly happy to have him on our side,” Stone said.
Caroline Springs went down by three wickets to Moonee Valley.
Mujtaba Hussain (72) and captain Kane Sevior (57) guided Caroline Springs to 190 on day one.
The Valleys passed the target seven down in the 86th over.
In senior division, Keilor produced a fairly meek performance against Yarraville Club, going down by 120 runs.
Set 223 for victory, the Blues were bowled out for a disappointing 102 in 45.3 overs with Kaushal Lokuarachchi top-scoring with 24.
The top flight grand final will be battled out between Yarraville Club and Doutta Stars, who beat Seddon by six wickets.
In west A1, Grand United played out a tie with Williamstown Congs, but it was enough for United to advance to the grand final as the higher ranked side.
Chasing 202, United reached the score in the 62nd over, with skipper Dillon Hinge leading the way with 38.
United will face undefeated Seabrook in the grand final.
In north west B1, Deer Park made light work of Sunshine Heights to record a 117-run win. The Lions victory was set up on day one when they posted 233 on the back of 75 from James Leach.
The Heights had no answer to bowlers Ricky Suvada (4-19) or Angelo Emmanuel (4-26) and were bowled out for 116.