Werribee captain Tim O’Brien has taken aim at Wyndham council after his side was bundled out of the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association south-west group finals on Sunday.
The Tigers were forced to host a “home” semi-final on enemy territory at Melton after they were kicked off Chirnside Park in the middle of March to make way for pre-season football games.
Instead of playing at their Watton Street ground, where they were undefeated all summer, the Tigers had to move their game to MacPherson Park, historically one of the toughest away grounds in the competition.
It did not end well for Werribee – it was beaten for the first time since the middle of November in a five-wicket loss to Melton.
O’Brien was seething that his side was unable to host a final it had earned the right to after finishing the season in second place on the ladder.
“Our council doesn’t think cricket is important enough as football in the cricket season and we’ve had to wear that,” O’Brien said.
“The cricket club is absolutely filthy on it and we’re hoping that it will never happen again because it’s cost us big time this year.
“When your own council is not even backing cricket when we’ve done some research where cricket is going to be the biggest game in the shire of Wyndham with the population that’s growing – they’ve got to take a good hard look at themselves.”
Werribee’s cricketers made way for big-drawing AFLW and JLT Series games.
Crowds came to see North Melbourne and Adelaide in the AFLW and North Melbourne and St Kilda in the AFL pre-season.
Instead of re-configuring the ground for cricket after the AFL’s big guns had left, Wyndham council granted the Werribee Football Club use of the ground for practice matches and early VFL games.
It was the decision not to revert the ground back to cricket that ticked O’Brien off.
“We went to the council and said there is only going to be six hours of football played at this ground, so we want to get the ground back for finals next week,” he said.
“They knocked it on the head because they’d already promised [football] practice games.”
O’Brien believes the premiership window is open for Werribee in sub-district cricket.
He is urging Wyndham council to back the Tigers’ dream of a flag next summer.
“We think we’ve got a side that can win a premiership,” O’Brien said.
“Hopefully, the council can support us and get the ground ready to go for cricket, too.”
Werribee did not handle the conditions well at Melton at the weekend.
The Tigers were bowled out for 103 in 38 overs. Matthew Harmer was the Tigers’ lone shining light with a run-a-ball 35 in the lower order.
“We didn’t get enough runs on the board in pretty difficult conditions,” O’Brien said.
Melton passed the target in the 58th over.
Brad Apps (3-29) and Jonathan Burton (2-36) toiled hard with the ball for Werribee, but the total was too small to defend.
A back injury to strike bowler James Freeman at training on Thursday night hampered the Tigers.
The final nail in the coffin for the Werribee season came when top side Caulfield suffered an upset loss that eliminated the Tigers from the finals.
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