Rivergum in the unknown over premiership

Rivergum’s Chris Dunbar. (Shawn Smits) 201635_05

By Tara Murray

Rivergum is none the wiser whether it will be declared premiers in the North Metro Cricket Association Jika Shield.

Set to face Rosebank in an eighth straight grand final, the match was called off last week due to the growing coronavirus crisis.

While the match was called off on Wednesday, no decision has been made on who will be premiers on Friday, at deadline.

Kookas captain Matt Perri said everything was still up in the air.

“We were told there was likely not going to be any winners,” he said.

“They’ve since told us they are reviewing the process. It’s a bit up in the air and it’s a weird one, we don’t know what to do.”

In some other competitions the top ranked team headed into the grand final has been awarded the premiership, while in others the minor premier has been.

Rosebank was the minor premier, but after losing to the Kookas in the first week of the finals, entered the grand final as the lower ranked team.

If the grand final was washed out, Rivergum would have won.

Perri said they trained early last week in preparation to play in the grand final and were keen to get on the work.

He said if they were awarded the premiership they would take it, but it wouldn’t be the same as the others they’ve won in recent years.

“It’ll still have an asterisk next to it,” he said.

“You don’t get that feeling of playing in the grand final and talking about the game and the special moments.

“Reunions you won’t be able to talk about the grand final”

While nine players of the first XI have played in premierships and grand finals with the club, there was a couple who will miss out on the opportunity.

Perri said he felt for them the most in this situation.

“Chris Dunbar is the heart and soul of the club and has never played in an A-grade grand final,” he said.

“And it has been ripped away from him. He might never get the chance again.

“Liam Henkel is new at the club and I don’t think he has played in an A-grade premiership. I feel for them the most.”

Perri, who is in his first year as coach, said overall it had been another good season for the club, which has finished in the top two nine seasons in a row.

He said it was a little bit unknown how they would go early on, but had really come together.

“We lost a fair few blokes like Alex Jesensek, Gary Bell and Scott Morley,” he said.

“Blokes have stepped up. We’ve got better and better and peaking at the right time. It’s a shame we didn’t get to put out a great performance and win the premiership.

“It felt like we would have won it.”

Meanwhile, Perri has won back-to-back Bill McFarlane Medals for the best player in the Jika Shield.