By Tara Murray
Sydenham-Hillside got out of jail against West Newport to seal a Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 3 Roy Picone Shield grand final spot.
The Storm looked like they were facing a finals exit, with West Newport on track to chase down the runs with wickets in hand in the semi-final.
The Storm didn’t give up and with a couple of wickets, took the game into the final over.
West Newport needed five runs off the final over, while the Storm needed one wicket to win through to a second straight grand final.
Akeem Springer was given the job of bowling the final over.
Storm president and first XI player Warren Hackney said Springer wasn’t meant to be bowling that over.
“There was a miscalculation by the captain with the bowling and he couldn’t work out who still had an over left,” he said.
“He threw the ball to Akeem, who hadn’t bowled all day. He kept his cool, bowling his off spinners and got the wicket needed.
“It was a great day to celebrate.”
Heavy rain during the week meant they weren’t able to get on the ground on day one, leaving the match to be a one-dayer.
They had a delayed start on Sunday, but were still able to have a 40 overs a side match. The Storm batted first and made 8-180.
Springer was the key throughout the innings, making 94. Dylan Knight, who made 33, was the only other player to score over 15.
Hackney said they thought 180 might have been enough to get them the win.
“We thought it might be enough if we put in a solid effort with the ball and in the field.
“The opposition turned it up and put their best foot forward with the bat. We didn’t bowl too poorly, they had nothing to lose and almost pulled it off.”
The Storm got a couple of early wickets and at 5-60 looked to be in control.
West Newport’s middle order responded, and took the game deep, before Springer ended their hopes. Tim Grech took three wickets for the Storm.
The grand final is the Storm’s second straight, having claimed the division 4 premiership last season. A win would put the Storm in division 2 next season.
Hackney said they realised half way through the season that they could go deep into the season.
“We’re just rapt to have another opportunity to extend our season by another two weeks,” he said.
“It’s been a huge 12 months. We were always quietly confident that we could step up and be OK if we put our best foot forward.
“Now we need one more win.”
The Storm is expected to host the final over the next two weekends.
The Storm will face Williamstown Imperials in the grand final.The Imperials beat Point Cook in the other semi-final.