Westmeadows take premiership

Westmeadows Jackson Smith. Picture Shawn Smits. 200646_18

By Tara Murray

Westmeadows can now celebrate its Victorian Turf Cricket Association Tony Issacs Shield division 1 north premiership after a few nervous days.

The Warriors were in the box seat to claim the title after week one of the grand final against Glenroy, but everything was thrown into disarray with the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Early in the week the VTCA was trying to see whether matches could continue, before calling them off on Wednesday morning.

Which teams would be declared premiers and if premierships were going to be awarded at all, wasn’t settled until Thursday.

All teams that claimed first innings leads on day one, including Westmeadows, would be named premiers.

Warriors captain-coach Tarek Moughanie said it had been a nervous few days for the group until the official announcement.

On the first weekend of the match, the Warriors made 214 before bowling Glenroy out for 80. Westmeadows was 7-106 in its second innings.

“There was a lot of relief,” he said.

“It was a strange feeling as we thought we should be awarded the premiership. In a wash out, a first innings result will get you a win.

“We thought they could award on two fronts, first innings and finishing on top of the ladder. There was some talk that they wouldn’t award any premierships.

“We’re really pleased with the decision.”

Moughanie said they were ready to play on the weekend, saying the best feeling is winning a grand final outright.

The cancelled grand finals ends a weird season for the competition with washouts, the smoke from the bushfires causing issues and now coronavirus.

He said the push for a premiership, began 12 months ago when a reverse outright result saw the side knocked out of the top four in the final round.

He said they knew they were better than that and worked hard to prove it.

“It’s nice rewards for the boys, we did have a good season,” he said.

“We strengthened our side, our bowling stocks especially with Jackson Smith and Dean Pitts.

“They took 40 wickets between them this season and got us off to good starts.

“Our batting was better this year too.”

Chinthaka Jayasinghe led the way with 621 runs, while Moughanie wasn’t far behind with 575.

Danny Law (337 runs ) and Aaron Evans (299 runs) also had good seasons.

The premiership will see the Warriors earn promotion into the senior division for next season.

It’s the first time the Warriors will play in that grade.

Moughanie said it will be a nice challenge for the group. Most of the group has previously played a higher level.

“I’ve been there three seasons now and we’ve been promoted twice,” he said.

“It’s good to get into senior division

“The step up isn’t as great as it used to be and it’s a balanced and even competition.

“It’s a great opportunity for the guys in the team and the few kids around the squad. A new challenge to improve and you do that by playing better teams.”