Week 2 of the NWMCA junior finals series brought the ultimate success for our U14 team and continued success for both our U12 teams who won their way into a tilt at a Grand Final this coming weekend.
Our 14s entered a Grand Final ‘local derby’ against neighbouring Youlden Parkville having progressed through the season with just one loss but had to survive a tough semi-final the week before. The firm, dry outfield at Fairbairn Park Oval #4 promised value for shots but a successful call from the opposition captain saw Brunswick sent in to bat first in the split innings format which likely meant we would have a total to chase on day 2.
At the end of day 1, the scoreboard was tight and the game was well set up with Brunswick on 3/113 vs YP 2/100.
Day 2 saw YP first to bat with an opportunity to put a total on the board for Brunswick to chase. With the fast outfield providing value for shots, Brunswick bowled well as a team to make key breakthroughs midway through the morning and then finished the innings off with the last two wickets falling on consecutive balls to dismiss YP for 172. Joe Mackenzie (4/27), Jack Bourke (2/20), Josh Murphy (2/32), Ayush Rijal (1/19) took the honours with the ball with Fergus Dwyer making a crucial run out.
Thus the equation for Brunswick was 60 runs to win off 25 overs with 7 wickets in hand. With a deep batting lineup it appeared to be a target well within reach and so it seemed as the wicks made their way to 4/154 with only Ayush Rijal (30) losing his wicket while 41 runs had been added. At that stage, the old adage of “anything can happen in a grand final” came to the fore as a run-out followed by four clean-bowled dismissals including a hat-trick turned the scoreboard into 9/160 and Brunswick started to set their sights on reaching 172 rather than 173 knowing that a tie would be enough to claim the GF as the highest positioned team. Having reached the compulsory retirement score of 50 on day 1, Joe Mackenzie was able to return to the crease at the fall of the 9th wicket and he joined Will Wilson to take up the task of eeking out the 12 runs required to win. After 3 singles, Joe found the boundary off a no-ball then showed great confidence in his younger partner by taking a single meaning the equation was 2 to tie and 3 to win. As the fielders crowded around Will facing a leg-spinner, the outcome of the match hung on any given ball. As Will swung the next delivery behind square leg for 4, the Brunswick players and supporters had reason to leap for joy.
9/174 vs 10/172 was a fitting scoreline for a grand final match and the young Brunswick players were thrilled when the club coach, Karl Mayne, and club legend John ‘Nookie’ Swanson led them in singing the club song for the very first time. Joe Mackenzie (60no), Ayush Rijal (30), Jack Bourke (21) and Ben Marchionna (18) led the way with the bat with an honourable mention to the scorer of the winning runs, Will Wilson (5no)
Our U12 Whites team had also faced off against Youlden Parkville on Saturday in a semi-final match up which also turned into a nail biting finish with Brunswick winning through to the Grand Final courtesy of a win 2/118 vs 8/116 that was only decided on the very last ball of the innings. Brunswick batted first and rotated through their full batting lineup through voluntary retirements with Tom Mackenzie (25no), Aiden Purcell (19no), Max Bourke (12no), Keir Lucas (9no) and Vedant Patel (9no) leading the scoring. The Youlden Parkville run chase went right down to the wire and with 6 runs needed from the final over the game was up for grabs. The Brunswick players more than held their nerve to take 3/3 off the last over to restrict the opposition to 8/116 and book a Grand Final spot. Tom Mackenzie (3/20), Max Bourke (1/1), Owen Parris (1/4) and Ryan MacDonald (1/4) claimed wickets whilst Tom and Owen teamed with Xander Buzacott for 2 run-outs.
Not to be out done the U12 Blacks side followed suit with a much more comfortable semi-final victory against Burnside Springs. After winning the toss and batting first, Brunswick racked up an imposing 3/125 off 27 overs with an even spread of run-makers headed by Alistair McQuire (14no), Flynn Magrath (14no), Charlie Rolfe (13no), and Oliver Rawson (12no). Three early breakthroughs put Brunswick in the box seat as Burnside Springs started the run chase and as wickets fell steadily through the innings, the Wicks had bowled the opposition out for 18 in 17.1 overs to march into next weekend’s Grand Final. Alistair McQuire (2/10), Luke Bertram (1/0), Charlie Rolfe (1/4), and Eamonn Stokes (1/9) claimed wickets whilst Charlie Rolfe (2), Flynn Magrath (2), Luke Bertram and Nathaniel Bertram combined for 5 run outs.
Congratulations to the U14 premiers and Good Luck to both U12 teams in their Grand Final quest this coming weekend.