Melton’s grand final dreams came to a heartbreaking end with a three-run loss to Elsternwick in its Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association south-west semi-final at the weekend.
In a match that could have easily gone either way, it was Elsternwick that got the last laugh and a grand final spot.
Lions’ coach Nathan Geisler said it was disappointing to get so close.
“We’ve had home semi-finals the last two years, but haven’t been able to go on,” Geisler said.
“The boys are devastated to get so close after a tough day in the field yesterday.
“I also say that if you bat your overs you will win and we almost pulled it off.
“I’m proud of their efforts over the last two weekends.”
Elsternwick made 228 on day one to put themselves in the box seat.
Geisler said it was a tougher day than they would have liked.
“We dropped a couple of catches early and they should have been 3-30.
“They got away from us late in the day, so making 230 we knew would be tough.”
The Lions took the challenge on and in the end it came down to the final over.
The Lions needed 10 runs for the win, they fell four runs short of victory, run out for 225 on the final ball.
Geisler said they lost too many wickets before the tea break.
“You lose one or two less before tea and you get into a partnership.
“To get to within three runs [a draw was enough], it’s disappointing as we got into a winning spot.”
Ben MacRae top scored at the top of the order with 64 but it was the middle and lower order that got them within striking distance.
Jake Thornton-Gielen made 41, while Adrian Monitto made his highest first XI score with 46.
“I’ve said all season I believe we have good batting depth and we’ve shown that now,” Geisler said.
“Adrian has turned 17 today [Sunday] and he nearly got us over the line. It was a terrific effort.”
The loss ends a season that Geisler best described as inconsistent.
“We were alright before Christmas, but then we couldn’t get a win afterwards.
“We lacked that consistency. We were three runs away from a grand final.
“I still see making a semi-final as a success.”
Geisler said the past few weeks showed what they can do when they perform.
He said ideally they would love to add another top class batsman to help take them to the next level.
It was a tough day all round, with the Lions’ fourth XI side losing their preliminary final against Plenty Valley.