Camberwell Magpies came up short in the 2nd XI Grand Final played over the Easter weekend at the Albert Ground. In superb conditions, they were outlasted by a disciplined St Kilda side led by their captain, who claimed man of the match honours.
St Kilda batted first, and it was a nervy start for both sides – there were early chances not taken by Camberwell as they benefited from some aggressive stroke play. Chris Bridle came into the attack and took the first wicket, Meddings leaving an off cutter to have his stumps rattled. At the end of the first hour, the Saints were 1/52 from 15 overs which soon became 2/52 as a bouncer from Steve Singh saw Davies find the hands of Dan Rawson at fine leg. When Bridle claimed the other opener for 26, we had the Saitns at 3/59 and in a strong position. They were able to see out the next portion of the game, getting to lunch 3/102 with Muirhead in particular scoring freely.
Mark Dwyer, as he has so often this season and over his career, broke through for the important wicket of the Perth Scorcher, LBW and again we’d given ourselves a chance to push ahead of the game. Obstinate batting from Drummond and Munday was to follow, as Jack McNamara and Shubham Bhargave pushed through the overs, building pressure with economical bowling but couldn’t quite break through for a wicket.
Late in the second session, Bhargave turned the screws with two wickets in two balls – a great slider to bowl Drummond as he tried to cut, before finding the edge of Baxter first ball, and at 6/156 we were well on top. There was to be only one more fruitful moment for the innings, however, as a 62 run partnership between Powell and Munday was followed by a 96 run union between the former and Shea Gribben. We got through the 106 overs that meant a compulsory closure, but with St Kilda dominating the last session of Day 1, we would need 313 to win having taken only seven wickets, but generating more chances than that.
The chase started off in great fashion, as we raced to 52 in the first hour, as Ben Rowles set a base while Adit Pawha struck the ball beautifully. St Kilda via Earney and Baxter took control of the momentum of the game, conceding only 13 runs in the second hour while Baxter found the edge of both Pawha (35) and Rawson (1) to see the score at 2/65 at lunch. Shane Mays joined Ben Rowles and put on 44 runs for the third wicket, but as we started to claw our way back into a strong position, Mays was bowled by Davies, and Newell played across a Muirhead leg spinner to see us at 4/117.
Rowles was continuing to bat sensibly, playing to his strengths through the on side, and James Wiseman showed his ability to score easily as the onus was placed on the pair to get us through to tea with wickets in hand. They were able to do that, and we needed 165 from 34 overs, with six wickets in hand at the tea break. However, St Kilda’s captain brought on himself and took three wickets in his first three overs, dismissing the two in batsmen and McNamara to leave us at 7/158 and the result all but decided. Steve Singh scored freely through the off-side as he registered 42 from 47 balls, but it was all in vain as we were eventually bowled out for 219, handing St Kilda a 93 run victory.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, having been undefeated since before Christmas, but the last team to defeat the 2nd XI was St Kilda who finished the season on top. Congratulations to the Saints, and to our own 2nd XI on a very good season that fell just short – particularly to captain Shane Mays who did a great job leading the team throughout the year.