Lions crowned champs

Deer Park premiership side (Supplied)

Tara Murray

The rise of Deer Park in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association is complete.

Having risen up the ranks to the senior division, the Lions went agonisingly close to pulling off an upset 12 months ago.

The Lions recruited well in the off season and went again this season, better prepared and hungrier to go even further.

They would be the best team all season and showed exactly that in the grand final, beating Sydenham-Hillside the last two weekends.

Lions coach Mick Andriadis said he was absolutely rapt for the boys and everyone involved.

‘It’s been a great season really,” he said. “We were undefeated for a long time and then lost a couple games towards the end.

“Then our semi final and obviously into this weekend and last weekend, the four day granny. The boys were brilliantly led by Dean Russ and I can’t be more proud of the group and everyone involved at Deer Park.”

Andriadis said last season they were lucky to make finals and then the grand final, where this season was a little bit different.

The Lions had one hand of the trophy after the first weekend of play.

It resumed at 8-141 still well behind the Lions first innings of 225. It wasn’t enough for Andriadis to not have some nerves during the week.

It didn’t take long for the Storm’s innings to be over, bowled out for 157, and giving the Lions a first innings lead.

The Lions went back out to bat and at 6-100 it was game on.

Angelo Emmanuel stuck with and was 93 not out overnight and he managed to get his century and he helped guide the Lions to 265, giving them a lead of 333.

Emmanuel finished with 136 which would later earn him man of the match honours.

Andriadis said it was great for Emmanuel to finish the game with a century.

“It would have had a tough night sleep thinking about his hundred and the match is still in the balance,” he said.

“If we had lost a few quick wickets, they would have had you know seventy overs to try to chase 250-odd, but we didn’t get them any more chances and we set them obviously a tough target with not many overs remaining.”

With nothing to lose, the Storm hit out to try and get the runs.

They were bowled out for 121.

Fawad Malook took 4-24 for the Lions.

Andriadis said that the Storm were a tough side and they’ll be better and stronger next year and will be hungrier again next season.

“Now we’ve got a taste for one, we might be hungrier as well,” he said.

While there’s been a number of recruits for the club, Andriadis and skipper Dean Russ both paid tribute to Ricky Suvada who has been through the tough and the good times with the club.

“He’s just great for a person that’s played all their life at one club,” he said. “He’s probably taking a hundred calls from other clubs throughout his time

To go to another club and he’s just stayed with Deer Park I’m rapt for him and I’m sure me, Ricky and a few of the boys tonight, we’re gonna have an absolute belter and I’m looking forward to it.