Sydenham/Hillside’s off season decision to make the move to turf cricket has been vindicated, with the club’s senior side through to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association’s north A1 grand final.
Just days after losing a North West Metropolitan Cricket Association semi-final last season, Storm captain Kane Twentyman set about looking at what they needed to do to make the transition to the VTCA.
“We started recruiting and seeing who we could secure, who we were going to chat with the day after losing the semi-final,” he said.
“It’s paid dividends … the guys knew what we needed to do to have some success. We recruited the right people.
“Some of the guys were playing in their seventh semi-final on the weekend without playing in a grand final. It’ll be the first grand final for those guys.”
Adding to the excitement for the Storm, the club’s three top sides have all made grand finals.
Twentyman said there was a lot of excitement at the club on Sunday night after all the results had been confirmed.
Having finished fourth, the Storm’s top side took on minor premier Moonee Valley in a knockout semi-final at the weekend for a spot in the grand final.
Batting first, the Storm got off to a good start before losing three quick wickets to be 3-78. Twentyman and Ameya Naik got the side back on track with an 85-run partnership before both lost their wickets in quick succession.
Wicketkeeper Dylan Knight kept the scoreboard ticking over and helped push the score past 200. All of the lower order contributed, with the Storm being bowled out on the second last ball for 265.
Knight top-scored with 51.
Moonee Valley’s inning started in a similar way to that of the Storm – a good opening partnership before the loss of a couple of quick wickets.
Despite the loss of regular wickets, Moonee Valley looked on track for victory at 5-209 with plenty of overs remaining.
“I kept looking at the scoreboard throughout the innings to see where they were compared to us,” Twentyman said.
“They had a young fellow come in at four [Anthony Cafari] and he showed a few of the senior guys how to go about it.
“Once we got him out, we were confident of getting the win.”
The loss of 3-4, including Cafari, turned the match in the Storm’s favour.
Despite a couple of determined late-order batsmen, the Storm got the job done by bowling out Moonee Valley for 247.
Declan Highgate took three wickets including that of Cafari, while Steven Sandhu, Twentyman and Naik took two wickets each.
In the grand final, the Storm will face Sunshine YCW, which defeated Sunshine in the other semi-final.
Last time the teams met, Storm took the points, but Twentyman is expecting a lot closer affair over the next two weekends.