As Sydenham-Hillside claimed the Victorian Turf Cricket Association Charles Clark Shield division 4 premiership, there was joy – but also relief.
Having already claimed first-innings points during the first weekend, the Storm was pushed deep into day four by a Maribyrnong Park St Marys side in search of a reverse outright win.
But the Storm held strong, securing the club’s first top side premiership in the VTCA.
Captain Peter Magafas said the win followed a stern challenge.
“We got the choccies,” he said. “I’m more relieved than anything.
“It’s rewarding after such a long season. The grand final was a tug of war that they took into the last day. They kept fighting and we had to pull out our best to keep them at bay.”
The Storm resumed on Saturday at 7-231 with a first-innings lead of 27.
Magafas said the aim was to bat for as many overs as they could after rain delayed the start.
“We could bat for another 56 overs – that was the maximum we could bat,” he said. “We batted for close to 36 of them.”
The Storm were bowled out for 280, giving them a first innings lead of 76.
Dylan Knight top-scored with 56, hit during the first weekend, while Jarryd Lindsay added one more to his total on Saturday before being trapped LBW for 40.
Maribyrnong Park St Marys was on a mission with the bat to make runs as quickly as possible. The side batted the rest of the day and into day four before declaring at 9-267, giving it a lead of 191.
“They came out slugging and scored quite quickly – it turned the game upside down,” Magafas said.
Having lost a grand final two years ago in a similar situation, the Storm players were keen to make sure it didn’t happen again.
In their second innings, the runs did not matter for the Storm – they simply needed to avoid getting bowled out.
Magafas said Maribyrnong Park St Marys made them fight for it, but they were able to finish on 6-166 to take the flag.
“Every time we looked to be pulling ahead and comfortably surviving, they would take wickets,” he said. “We held on to get victory.”
Knight and Warren Hackney top-scored with 37 apiece and Knight was named man of the match.
For Magafas, who is in his first season at the club, it was rewarding to see the supporters and those who have been around for a long time celebrate the win.
“I came to the club through a friend,” he said. “It came about as there needed to be someone to change things up and … get the right team and structure to win flags.
“I didn’t want to coach and captain, so our import Dane Currency took on the coaching and we did it together.”
The Storm’s second XI won the Sport King Shield division 4 seconds grand final.
The two wins come on top of a second straight title for the club’s women’s side.
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