Sunbury misses out

Sunbury batsman Craig Ballinger. (Damjan Janevski) 206292_06

By Tara Murray

Sunbury’s premiership dreams were ended when the Victorian Turf Cricket Association cancelled all grand finals last week due to the increasing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Roar were just two wickets from getting a first innings result after the first two days in the division 5 grand final.

After a lot of discussion about possibly continuing the matches, the association made the call on Wednesday.

Both Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria had recommended the cancellation of matches.

The decision means the Roar’s match with Moonee Valley was abandoned. Sunbury had Moonee Valley 8-78 after making 232.

As Moonee Valley finished higher on the ladder, they were awarded the premiership.

Sunbury captain-coach Craig Ballinger said they were keen to get out on the field and finish the match.

“We were training on Tuesday night and going to train tonight [Thursday] and we held onto hope,” he said.

“We hoped the VTCA would hold its ground with professional sports going ahead.

“With cricket there is minimal contact. We have no closure as we didn’t win and we haven’t lost.”

Ballinger said it was credit to Moonee Valley pair Anthony Cafari and Josh Gorry, who dug in late on day two, and kept their side from collapsing.

He said the way the season finished summed up their year. He said they gave it everything they had.

“We were two wickets shy of a pretty much guaranteed result,” he said.

“We had Sanctuary Lakes at 9-27 when the rain fell [having made 200] and then all the other washouts.”

The one positive for the Roar is that they’ve earned promotion, with the top two sides both going up to division 4.

Ballinger said that was their aim at the start of the season, when they moved across from the Gisborne and District Cricket Association.

The Roar’s second XI are premiers having claimed first innings points on the first weekend of their match.

Ballinger said it had been a fantastic season for the club.

They also made the T20 grand final, while their first women’s side made the semi finals.

“We can build on it next year,” he said.

“We’re looking to have a turf wicket at Clarke Oval and we will be able to play at home [Sunbury].

“Hopefully we’ll get some more players to the club and recruit juniors.”