The young, the old and a few in-betweeners contributed to Sydenham Hillside’s narrow first-innings lead over Sunshine YCW in a cracking Victorian Turf Cricket Association north A1 grand final at Town Centre Reserve on Saturday.
The pup of the Storm team, young gun Declan Highgate, was the chief destroyer with the ball on day two, while the veteran of the side, Warren Hackney, set up the weekend with a half century.
After securing a 13-run first-innings lead, the Storm will go into day three on 1-30, an overall lead of 43 and, more importantly, with their destiny in their own hands.
“Finishing fourth, we were coming in the lower ranked side, so the pressure was on us to win the game,” said Storm skipper Kane Twentyman.
“Now Sunshine YCW have to come at us and try to take the game back.”
With two days remaining, Sydenham Hillside will need to be at its best to fend off Sunshine YCW. Day three will be critical for the Storm, but Twentyman is confident his side can improve on its first-innings batting.
“We’ve got some guys that owe us – we’ve had four ducks and two run-outs,” he said.
“If we can eliminate those errors and make them get us out, we’ll set ourselves up beautifully.”
Sydenham Hillside posted 221 off 72.4 overs in its first dig.
As he has done so often over the years, Hackney provided the backbone of the innings with 56 at the top of the order.
“That was a good steadier for us,” Twentyman said. “He just put away the bad balls and got that 50 in pretty good time.”
Twentyman (41) and Ameya Naik (36) combined for a vital 73-run fourth wicket stand. The Storm innings had stalled a bit until late runs from tailenders Tristan Krizanic (23) and Alex Hassett (16no).
Tharanga Jayawardhane was the pick of the YCW bowlers with 4-61 off 23.4 overs.
With pristine conditions over the course of the first weekend, the Storm bowlers needed to bowl at their best. Twentyman applied the pressure with an economical 3-40 off 17 overs, but it was Highgate who sent shockwaves through the YCW order in his second spell.
He finished with 4-51 off 16 overs, but his second spell was devastating, including a block in which he took 3-5. YCW was dismissed for 208.
“He came on and cleaned their tail up,” Twentyman said. “He was just too good, too fast.”
The third day’s play will begin at 1pm on Saturday.
In north-west division, Sunshine United has a major task in front of it against Seddon, which went to stumps on day two of the four-day grand final on 6-374 off 160 overs at Laverton Park. United had no answer for Seddon opener Ben Speake, who made 204 not out.