When the dust settled on an absorbing Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association regular season on Saturday, Williamstown finished on top of the pile for the second year running and will head into the finals as the team to beat.
While it was a game of musical chairs for top spot all summer, Seagulls veteran all-rounder Craig Sheedy is not surprised that his team is the one to have claimed the No. 1 final ranking because of the tremendous effort that has gone into the season from the players and team leaders.
“We’ve trained our bums off all year,” Sheedy said. “[Captain-coach] Dale [McDonald] has been really good and it’s been really organised.
“We feel like we’ve deserved what’s come our way.”
Only half of the job is done for Williamstown – as it well knows. The Seagulls were minor premiers last summer, but suffered a shock semi-final exit to local rivals Altona.
“It all starts again now,” Sheedy said.
“You’ve got to reset and start because the pressure gets a lot bigger in the finals.
“You don’t want to blow it after all the hard work you’ve put in all year and let it slip right at the end.”
Williamstown rounded out the regular season with a dominating 94-run win over Hoppers Crossing in a one-day game on Saturday.
The Seagulls claimed a home qualifying final to be played this weekend against Plenty Valley at the Williamstown Cricket Ground and the bonus of a finals double chance.
“It was good to finish on top and have a home final next week,” Sheedy said.
Williamstown piled on 6-233 off its 45 overs.
Brent McMinn was the centrepiece for the Seagulls with 71, while Sheedy finished with 48 not out.
“He’s got all the shots,” Sheedy said of McMinn. “He can pull, cut, drive – it’s just batting time for him and if he does that he’s going to get a huge score for us.”
After a fast start, Hoppers Crossing’s run rate was reeled in by some quality Williamstown bowling and the visitors were all out for 139.
Medium pacer Mitchell Streiff (4-40) and paceman Jarrod Flood-Bauce (3-33) did most of the damage for the Seagulls.
“They just bowled stump to stump and made it hard for them to hit across the line,” Sheedy said. “They just put the ball in an area and just kept asking questions.”
Meanwhile, Yarraville claimed a five-wicket victory over Taylors Lakes to secure fifth spot in the finals.
The Eagles will hit the road to take on Melton in a cut-throat semi-final at MacPherson Park.
Altona managed a two-wicket win over Plenty Valley on the final day, but had to settle for an eighth-placed finish.