Darley into the decider

Darley’s Madushanka Ekanayaka. (Shawn Smits) 205415_22

Tara Murray

Darley stood up under the heat to win a spot in the Ballarat Cricket Association grand final.

Having gone through the season undefeated and with their best player overseas, the Lions knew that it wouldn’t be easy against East Ballarat in a semi final.

Despite not getting what they would have liked with the bat, the Lions fought hard and were able to come away with the victory.

Lions coach Brian Wheelahan admitted all the pressure was on them.

“It was a great effort and we’re still alive,” he said.

“It was a true finals game and with the season on the line the boys were able to execute and get the win.

“We’re never out of the contest and I’m proud of them again.”

The Lions batted first and made 174 after being bowled out in the 70th over. Wheelahan said he would have liked a 200-plus score.

“We got off to a great start and the openers were terrific,” he said.

“We were 1-120 and Anthony Taylor was great and Harry Killoran had got a start.

“We lost a couple of clumps of wickets, which was disappointing to get rolled out for 178.”

The message in the group on Saturday night, was that they needed to make 178 enough if they were to make the grand final.

Wheelahan said day two presented another good day of cricket.

“It was similar to our innings,” he said. “ They were 1-80 odd and cricket is a funny game and it can turn.

“We got a couple of wickets and turned the game on its head. The supporters would have loved being there.”

The Lions bowled East Ballarat out for 165 to seal the victory.

Madushanka Ekanayaka took four wickets for the Lions to be the pick of the bowlers.

The win puts the Lions into the grand final, as they search for a first XI premiership for the first time.

Wheelahan said the next two weekends against Golden Point could be pretty special for the club.

“It’s just an opportunity to go through the season undefeated, which makes it even more special.”

Tara Murray