By Tara Murray
Westmeadows held its nerve late to seal a spot in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 1 north Tony Issacs Shield grand final.
The Warriors looked on track for victory against Craigieburn, before the Eagles stepped up with four quick wickets to turn the game on its head.
With four wickets still in hand, the Warriors took their time and got the win with just over three overs to go.
Westmeadows captain-coach Tarek Moughanie said they were relieved to come away with the win.
“It was probably a reflection of the two sides and how close we are,” he said.
“To their credit, they fought it out and all the way up until the winning runs were hit, it was anyone’s game.”
Heavy rain throughout the week meant an early call was made for the game to be played as one-dayer on Sunday. There were further delays on Sunday, and when play got underway the umpires decided it would be 31 overs a side.
Moughanie said they were probably lucky to get any play at all with the amount of rain they had.
He paid tribute to the work of the curator to get the pitch ready and Eagles captain Mick Bury for his sportsmanlike qualities he showed in the situation.
The Eagles batted first and made 9-127 from their overs.
At times they looked like they would put on a massive score, but key wickets fell at the wrong time. Shupinder Taggar and Mick Bury were the pick of the batters for Craigieburn.
Moughanie said he was happy with how they went in the field.
“We dropped Taggar when he was on about two. It was a tough chance, but he batted really well.
“We were probably lucky to get him as it looked like he was hitting it over the fence as well.
“Credit to our boys, they bowled well and took most chances.
“I thought 150 was probably about where they would be. Anything under that we were happy.”
The Warriors were looking comfortable at 2-81 despite last week’s century-maker Chinthaka Jayasinghe out for a duck.
Moughanie was hitting them well and sending them over the boundary.
The loss of four quick wickets would see the Warriors at 6-100, still needing 28 for victory.
Clayton Campbell and Aaron Blair were able to put on a 30-run partnership to get the side home.
Moughanie said they always had faith they had the batting to get the job done.
“We were very confident,” he said.
“We feel like we don’t have a number 10 or 11 in our side. It’s a toss of the coin, with the four bottom able to bat anywhere.
“It’s still a relief, as you still have to do it. They were bowling well and having a red hot crack.”
Westmeadows now faces Glenroy in the grand final.
Glenroy won a thriller against West Coburg, with the match going down to the final over.
Moughanie said it would be an interesting grand final.
“They are coming off a victory against us and were 1-60 chasing 200 in the other game, so they will probably go in as favourites.
“It is quite impressive from them to turn around a big defeat last week to win only their second game after Christmas in a semi-final.”