Sunshine shines and rises again

Asela Rangana Dasanayaka Aluthge. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Lance Jenkinson

Sunshine has pressed the repeat button to claim back-to-back flags in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.

The Crows secured the division 3 title with a resounding nine-wicket win over Point Cook in the grand final at Dempster Park.

While the Crows had a commanding 135-run lead after the first innings and were comfortably in front the whole game, captain Troy Stone admitted the fourth and final day was probably the most nervous he had been all summer.

“Things got tight and a little bit tense there amongst our bowling group,” he said. “Credit to them – they fought it out well. But I believe over the four days we were the better side.”

Point Cook was much better with the bat second time around.

The Warriors limped to 81 in the first innings, but showed plenty of spirit in their second dig, making 166 for a lead of 31 runs.

Losing 38 overs on day three due to a waterlogged square hurt the Warriors’ chances.

“They were running out of overs there and probably tried to push too hard towards the end,” Stone said.

The big moment for Sunshine came when it removed Point Cook opener Sunny Singh.

Singh had moved to 61 with a flawless knock, but fell victim to a spectacular one-handed catch from Josh Michetti.

Stone admits that even a doubling of Point Cook’s lead to 60-plus, possible had Singh stuck around, may have made for an uncertain run chase for Sunshine. As it stood, the Crows easily passed the target one down in 4.5 overs late on day four.

Stone was a man in a hurry, blasting 29 not out in the Crows score of 1-33.

Stone lauded the incredible feats of Sunshine’s bowling attack this summer.

Four of the top 10 wicket takers in division 3 are Crows – Charith Fernando, who took a league-best 34 wickers, Nikhil Pottabathini (25 wickets), Asela Aluthge (25) and Stone (22).

The man of the match award went to Aluthge, who set the game up with a majestic 117 to go with three first-innings wickets.

Sunshine will be promoted for a second season running – and the Crows are ready to tackle division 2 head on.

“We might look to add a batsman and a bowler, but it’s about maintaining what we’ve got,” Stone said.

“Our group is good enough to play at the next level, so hopefully next year we can prove that.”