JUNIOR GRAND FINAL REPORTS

Our Junior section experienced another fine season overall, with 4 teams reaching their respective Grand Finals. All 4 were serious chances to bring home the trophy, with 17/1 & 17/2 finishing on top, with 15/3 finishing & 13/4 both finishing 2nd after the home & away season.

UNDER 17/1 – This all conquering team of the previous 4 seasons faced arch enemy Buckley Ridges in the Gf at Grices Rd and we won the toss and sent them in to bat. BR got off to a solid start and at 2/95, they looked like posting a big total. We were able to put the brakes on by taking 4/6 to crash through their middle order, leaving them shaky at 7/115. The BR no. 5 was still at the crease and he partnered well with the tail to lead BR to a competitive total of 9/158cc. Our bowlers toiled well against their strong batting line up, not allowing anyone to score above 31 and setting back in the middle order, just as they were about to launch.

Of the bowlers, Soham Waingade 2/37, Riven Rajapaksa 2/28 & Blake Sully 2/19 from 7 tight overs, all kept the BR batsmen in check.

The chase started reasonably well, reaching 0/24, but we were rocked by 3 quick wickets, losing Brayden, Chuggy & Ash in quick succession and we were struggling at 3/30. TK & Matt Butera then got us back on track and saw us through to the break still 3 down. We were in the box seat at 3/110, but we lost TK (30) & soon after, Matt B’s fine captains knock of 47 came to an end and we were on thin ice at 5/112. Harry & Soham came & went, leaving us 7/134, but Lochlan Brooks kept us alive with a hard hitting 24. Brooksy went at 8/151, still 8 short and only an over remaining. The BR bowling and fielding defended their target wonderfully well and effected the run out of Riven, leaving Munir Safi the toughest task of hitting a 6 from the final ball to take the flag. Sadly, the bowler was equal to the task and we managed just 2 from the final ball, plus the run out, to leave us 3 runs short. The group had come agonisingly close to their 6th and in some instances their 7th consecutive flag.

All but 2 of this group move into Senior cricket in 2018/19 and they should all look back fondly on their successful Junior careers at Berwick Springs. In addition, Grant Hillman & Nick Whitehead have had charge of many of these boys since Under 11 and they have moulded them into a wonderfully successful team.

UNDER 17/2 – Yet another top spot finish for this group and they went into the GF facing Nth Dandenong, who had defeated us in a 20/20 earlier in the year. Played at Berwick Springs, we won the toss and elected to bat. Our start was not great losing Steve Law early on, but then Yahqub Naveed & Aranna Saha recovered with a solid partnership of 67, before Yahqub was dismissed for a terrific 51. At 2/93, we looked likely to post a nice total, but Aranna was tragically run out for a well made 26. In the search for quick runs, we could not get any meaningful partnerships going late in the innings, but no.4 Ethan Marinic was holding the innings together, but at 7/119 he knicked behind for a well made 23. With wickets falling, it became crucial that we batted out our overs and we were able to do that with our final wicket falling on 127 from the final ball of the innings. It was by no means a big total, but runs on the board in a high pressure GF can be vital.

Play on Day 2 was abandoned, due to the automatic sprinklers coming on overnight, leaving the pitch and surrounds unplayable. The umpires ruled that the reserve be used. Unbelievably, the sprinkler issue was repeated, but some senior revellers from the night before, placed buckets over several of the outfield sprinklers, but in the morning it was found that the pitch had been drenched once again. Rick Valentine and several other dads went to work with leaf blowers and squeegees and were able to get the pitch to a level where the umpires were happy to start play about an hour late.. We began well when Hayden McLaren removed one of the dangerous openers for 0, then Jeremy held a sharp chance in the gully to leave them 2/19. Arul D'Zousa came into the attack and he had his team mates in raptures, when he removed the ND captain when Steve held a terrific catch behind the stumps and they were struggling at 3/39. Aranna then got into the act by clean bowling the last of their recognised batsmen and the collapse was on with them 4/56. From there, we just did not allow ND to get back into the game and we rolled them for 81, a long way short of the target. All of the bowlers did a magnificent job in defending the smallish target. Openers Hayden 1/14 (from 10 overs) & Kai O'Rourke 1/13 (6 overs) put the early pressure on, then Arul D'Souza 2/11 (10 overs) and Aranna Saha 3/28 made sure there was no fightback. Steve had a great day behind the stumps with 3 catches and a hand in an important run out.

We were clearly the best team in the 17/2's all season and the premiership well deserved by many boys who now finish their Junior careers. Coach Paul McMahon had his team primed for the finals and they walk away with the club's 25th Premiership overall.

The Winning Team: Dylan Bayley, Stephen Law, Ethan Marinic, Jeremy Valentine, Hayden McLaren, Arul D'Souza, Aranna Saha, Nik Phirabakaran, Jordan McMahon, Yahqub Naveed, Kai O'Rourke, Jai Coleclough, Corey Cartledge (sub). Coach: Paul McMahon

UNDER 15/3 - Playing away to the strong Lynbrook team, the 15/3's had their work cut out but Bevan had his boys well primed for the big one. Lynbrook won the toss and batted in perfect conditions, and while the bowlers found it hard to break through , a terrific run out got us our 1st wicket at 17. The Lynbrook pair then consolidated with a 72 run partnership, including a 50 retired and they continued to build towards a big score. At 3/164, we were looking at over 200, but the boys knuckled down and fought back with several quick wickets, eventually holding them to 8/194 from 45 overs. All of the bowlers toiled very hard with opener Ranmith Abeygunawardane easily the best, walking away with a terrific 4/19 (2 bowled & 2 lbw), plus a run out.

The big target was always going be be difficult and at 3/25 an early day looked on the cards. The boys stuck to their guns and held Lynbrook out until the final overs, before we were dismissed for 138. Rhyce Tisdale held the innings together with a defiant 51 retired. Bailey Marinic 16 and Handshal Goyal 12 both fought very hard.

The 15/3's had a terrific year and came up against the season's yardstick in the GF. All the boys can hold their heads very high knowing they gave everything right to the very last ball.

UNDER 13/4 - The youngest of our Junior Teams to play off for the Premiership were away to Narre South, who won the toss and sent us in. This proved to be bad decision as our batsmen were quickly into stride in perfect batting conditions. Top 3 batsmen Ethan Ramanayake 26, Lavina Silva 28 and Jake Glascott 25 all retired, then no. 5 Ryan Nelson followed suit with 25 of his own, then Jacob De Angelis came very close with 23. The boys dominated the bowling for most of the innings and after 40 overs, we finished an impressive 3/204cc.

Similar conditions greeted us on Day 2 and the strong Narre South batting set out after the target in positive fashion. The 2 openers reflected our boys efforts by both reaching 25 retired, and we didn't take our 1st wicket until the score got to 96. Another followed soon after, leaving them 2/104, but there was still some batting in the shed. 2 more NS boys reached their 25 retired and we took the 3rd wicket at 166, with just a handful of overs left. The retirees had to walk off, when NS were getting close, leaving their tail to finish the job, but our bowlers were able to put the brakes on and after 40 overs, NS finished on 5/193, 11 runs short. In such a high scoring game, the bowlers found it very tough, but Ryan Nelson 1/16, Zack Watson 1/29, Blake Armour 1/18 and Jake Glascott also 1/18.

The boys had a wonderful season under coaches Dinesh Ramanayake & Jason Watson. An early taste of Finals pressure and Premiership success will have a big impact in this groups development in years to come. Another 12 boys join the long line of Berwick Springs Premiership players and they should all be very proud of this achievement so early in their cricket careers.

The Victorious Team: Ethan Ramanayake, Zack Watson, Jake Glascott, Lavina Silva, Blake Armour, Ryan Nelson, Jacob De Angelis, Antonio Alex, Kamatchi Rajesh, Tejas Devarajan, Matthew Ennor, Lucas Jose. Coaches: Dinesh Ramanayake & Jason Watson.

So, another successful Junior season comes to an end. The progression of our club continues on an upward spiral and the Juniors are an integral part of this success. 12 Junior teams took the field in 2017/18 and along with the Milo Cricket program, we look forward to many more players being part of our hugely successful club.