Going into the last round of the season, Toombul 5th grade were assured a place in the post season. It is no secret the advantage a home semi-final holds let alone at Ken Mackay Oval with the ‘Faithful’ cheering on from Slashers Deck. With this in mind the Bulls were eager to overcome a mid-tabled Valleys, accumulate as many bonus points as possible and await results from around the grounds.
Winning the toss Marc Hussey elected to bat on what eventuated into a slow deck with thick outfield. Club stalwart Warren Dillion was reliable as ever in the opening position, seeing off the new ball and building the solid foundation to unleash the heavy hitting late into the day. He eventually fell to the impressive bowling of JJ Gittins for 24 (108). Rocket Scientist and avid can collector Michael Pease offered great support to Dillion and took lead of innings with rebuilding efforts from the Huss helping in setting the platform to launch. Wickets in quick succession of Hussey 15 (52) and Jake Menot 8 (24) brought Hayden Petersen to the crease. There was no backward step with Pease and Petersen pushing hard to establish a defendable total on day 1. Unfortunately, Pease was dismissed on 93 (169) late in the day which left Petersen 72* (70) and Francis 3* to close play.
Week 2 began with the immediate declaration and the need to take as many wickets as possible to give the team a chance of hosting rights. With the years of experience under his belt, Brad Wickham knew that the first overs were crucial to setting the tone of the day. The old boy always delivers, and the two openers came and went with the score on 12. Stimpson offered more than handy support from the other end claiming the 3rd wicket of the day just when the batting partnership looked to be solidifying. Valleys pair Rees and ‘Inglorious’ Girolami were solid in their defense of the middle order until Dan Bullock followed the lead of the opening bowlers and provided the breakthrough. From there the tail offered little resistance to the second spell of Wickham where he rolled through them to claim 5 for 18 (14). Valleys all out 102 and 5th grade with the 1st innings win.
In the quest for bonus points the follow on was enforced and the Valleys top order were to be subjected to the wrath again. Fellow old timer Danny Francis took the new ball and showcased his skill and consistency dismissing both openers before handing the reins to Bullock and Dillion both claiming wickets but there wasn’t enough light in the day to secure the outright win. Valleys holding fast at 5/107 in the second dig.
The 5th grade team laid their heads on the pillow that night having done all they could to vie for a top 2 position and would have to await the results from the Sunday fixture at Redlands. The Wests total of 135 was more than in reach for the Tigers and if they secured 1st innings points it was looking like a trip to the toasted sandwich factory for the Bulls the following week. Enter L.A. Pfeff who put the Tigers back into Dreamworld with figures of 4/3 (10) ensuring Wests defended their total and the mighty bulls jump up into 2nd position on the table.
A home final means 1 thing, ‘The Faithful’. It’s time to park up on the ute, don the “your’e a lizard” shirts, bring out the vuvuzelas and avoid the duct tape. 5th grade last won a premiership under the leadership of Nathan Digger Byrne and those celebrations are etching in ‘Yard’ folklore. This weekend is the first step in bringing some silverware back to the club and your support will be greatly appreciated by the club.
…….Yes, beers will returned to ‘faithful’ prices for the whole of the finals!