Gorillas through again

Oliver Davidson (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Tara Murray

Grand United continued to show why it has been the standout team in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association McNamara Shield on the weekend, winning through to the grand final.

In their first season in the division 2 competition after winning the division 3 premiership last season, the Gorillas made an instant impact.

Come finals, the Gorillas were primed to step their game up another level.

President Alan Hale was thrilled the side could make it through the final game of the year again.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “We were able to pull through on a tough weekend for cricket.

“West Newport played pretty well with the bat. We were then able to execute our plans really well and chased down the runs the best we could have hoped for.”

After heat prevented the whole 80 overs being bowled on day one, West Newport resumed batting on day two.

They batted for about 20 balls before declaring at 7-242 after 62.2 overs.

Hale said they weren’t expecting the declaration when it came

“We were a bit surprised they went down that path,” he said. “Whether they were thinking about the weather and being heated off.

“We felt that it played into our hands. Our batting line up is fairly strong.

Sam Crea and Oliver Davidson took three wickets each for the Gorillas.

The Gorillas started well with Jayden White-Powell going at nearly a run a ball with Leniko Boucher then taking over making 109 from 111 balls.

The Gorillas were able to finish the job in the 54th over, finishing 6-243.

“It was a whole team effort,” Hale said. “There were lots blokes that got 20s and 30s and in the end everyone played their role and we move on to next week.”

The Gorillas season hasn’t been without challenges but Hale said he was proud how they showed up every week and were able to get the win most time.

He said there was a lot of resolve in the group.

“It’s the whole squad,” he said. “There’s a group of 15 guys pushing for senior selection. We’ve also got a couple of teams in grand finals in the synthetic grades.”

Hale said the sustained success was something that they’d had before coming to the VTCA and they’d been able to build around a group of local players.

“Last year we had six or seven home grown players in our premiership side,” he said. “They played juniors here and we’ve retained them.

“Kane Holden will play in his first grand final after coming up from the under-17s last year. We’re developing youth.

“They are a pretty good group… All Grand United at heart.”

Grand United will face Altona Roosters in the grand final after the Roosters snuck home against Williamstown CYMS.

Hale said they are looking forward to the challenge.