It’s March – and that means it’s Yarraville Club’s time to shine.
The finals masters were at it again at the weekend, playing their way to another Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division grand final.
In typical fashion, the Clubbers are peaking at the right time of the season, beating their latest finals victim, Spotswood, by 67 runs in a hard-fought semi-final at the Walker Oval.
The Clubbers have set up a four-day grand final showdown with minor premiers Greenvale Kangaroos at Donald McLean Reserve in Spotswood, starting on Saturday.
“We’ve been starting to hit our straps in the last month,” Clubbers coach Michael O’Keefe said. “We played some pretty good cricket this match. Things are coming together at the right time for us.”
While Yarraville Club has an incredible history of sustained success in the senior division, Greenvale is the side with the most recent grand final appearance.
The Kangaroos reached the decider last summer, going down to South Caulfield.
Greenvale has beaten the Clubbers on both occasions they’ve played this season, so it will be expecting to complete the sweep.
“They’re a really good side and we certainly have to do everything right to beat them,” O’Keefe said. “We’ve played them twice and they’ve beaten us twice, so they’re going to go in as favourites.”
But it would be ridiculous to discount Yarraville Club.
The Clubbers have featured in 11 of the past 14 grand finals and won eight premierships in that time.
Their most recent grand final was in 2014-15 when they completed back-to-back triumphs.
Ominously, O’Keefe reckons his team can go up another gear or two in the next fortnight.
“We’ve still got a lot of improvement in us,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve played to our 100 per cent potential yet, so hopefully we can do that over the next fortnight.”
Yarraville Club set up its victory over Spotswood by posting 294 on day one.
Joey Blake (70), Justin Baker (65) and Konrad Kurta (54) led the way for the Clubbers.
Spotswood fell well short in the chase, making 227.
Jeremy Brown (81), Matt Leddin (40) and Gene Maurice (31) threatened for the Woodsmen, but the Clubbers invariably found ways to halt their momentum.
“There’s lots of ups and downs in semi-finals – it’s the hardest game to win,” O’Keefe said.
“To Spotty’s credit, they fought hard all day yesterday and today, but anything over 250 in a final is probably worth 300 any other time.
“The pressure you can put the opposition under if you’ve got a decent score on the board makes a massive difference.”
Hussain Hanif (3-36) and Andrew Cullen (3-9) sealed victory for the Clubbers with three wickets apiece.