After half a season spent on the road due to its Chirnside Park redevelopment, the Tigers finally get a homecoming this weekend hosting Balwyn in a two-day blockbuster.
“We’re back…” Werribee captain Tim O’Brien said gleefully. “They’ve re-done the square and the ground is up and running, but we’ll be out of portables for clubrooms.
“We’re going to get a good facility at the end … we’re looking forward to getting back on our home deck and, hopefully, having a home ground advantage.”
Werribee’s players stayed positive as they travelled to faraway places, such as Endeavour Hills, Mount Waverley and Croydon. They understood short-term pain was necessary for the long-term gain of the club when the swanky new facilities are complete in January next year, but the travel has taken its toll.
“It’s been pretty tough yards travelling away every game,” O’Brien said.
Werribee did well to win its first three games on the road, but there has been a lack of pomp in their play in recent times – the Tigers lost four of the past five games, hitting their lowest point on Saturday, all out for 77 in pursuit of Williamstown’s modest total of 8-172 at Williamstown Cricket Ground.
The return to Chirnside Park could not have come at a better time as the Tigers slide to eighth on the ladder. O’Brien is hoping for a lift in the batting department.
“Our batting hasn’t been great since the Noble Park game, so we’ve got a lot of work to do on our batting going forward,” he said.
Losing two wickets in Saturday’s first over was always going to be poison for the Werribee run chase. Shaun Dean (19 not out) and Chris Hennessey (17) tried a fightback, but to no avail.
When Hennessey was dismissed, it sparked a batting collapse, and Werribee lost 8-50.
“Losing two wickets in the first over wasn’t the ideal start,” O’Brien said. “We just couldn’t put any partnerships together.”
It’s a pity Werribee batsmen did not take care of business because the bowling unit was up and about earlier in the day.
Aside from a Craig Sheedy blitzkrieg (56), including two fours and three sixes, and some handy runs from Matthew Dervan (30 not out), Mitchell Streiff (27) and Daniel Popa (22 not out), Werribee probably took the honours in the first half of the game.
“I couldn’t fault our bowling effort,” O’Brien said. “From the Melton game, we’ve really improved in the field and with the bowling.
“They’ve got a strong batting side and were going pretty hard at one stage when Streiff and Sheedy got going, so to restrict them to 172, I was pretty happy with that.”
It’s not time for Werribee to hit the panic button just yet … but it’s getting close to it. A victory over high-flying Balwyn could be just the tonic to get the Tigers back on track.
Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing was ripped apart by Box Hill in the first game of the year, out for 138 chasing Box Hill’s 8-212.