Darley claims T20 title

Darley’s Ryan Ali. (Shawn Smits)

By Tara Murray

Darley has claimed its second Ballarat Cricket Association T20 title in three years with a strong win against Mt Clear on Saturday.

The Lions capped off an undefeated season in the shortest form, with their best bowling and fielding performance of the season.

Lions coach Brian Wheelahan said they had set themselves for the T20 competition and worked hard to get the victory.

“It’s nice to get the win,” he said.

“We have a big focus on the T20s and the way we field and we really pride ourselves on that.

“It’s a testament to the boys that put the hard work in during the week and we’re so fortunate to have players that are strong in all formats of the game.

“It’s a strength of ours.”

The Lions didn’t have to look too far for motivation heading into the final.

Darley’s Hasitha Wickramasinghe. (Shawn Smits)

PHOTO GALLEY: Darley vs Brown Hill

A poor performance on day one of their two-day match against Brown Hill on Saturday, left the side deflated so they spoke about making sure they stepped it up a level.

“It was a blessing that we could come out and make amends from yesterday,” Wheelahan said. “Our batting was under par and Brown Hill bowled really well.”

Wheelahan said they were thrilled with how the side responded on Sunday.

Mt Clear, which was aiming for back-to-back T20 titles, won the toss and batted, making 7-120 from its 20 overs.

Wheelahan said it was a strong performance with both the ball and in the field.

Spinner Hasitha Wickramasinghe took 2-11 to be the pick of the bowlers.

Wheelahan said you could throw a blanket over the bowlers, with each one doing their jobs.

The Lions got off to a flyer with the bat through Anthony Taylor and Danza Hyatt.

Harry Killoran took over later in the innings, as they made the runs with 14 balls remaining.

The Lions finished 4-112. Wheelahan said Wickramasinghe and Taylor, who made 34 off 19 balls, were the two standouts.

The game marks the end of the season for star Hyatt, who left on Monday for international duties.

While the Lions enjoyed their win, they know they still have unfinished business as they chase a second premiership.

It starts Saturday as they look for victory on day two against Brown Hill in the first grade competition.

Darley managed just 144 with the bat on Saturday. Ryan Ali was almost a lone hand, scoring half his side’s runs.

Just three players reached double figures. Brown Hill will resume at 1-12.

Wheelahan said they were confident that they could still get the job done.

No matter the result, the Lions have already claimed the minor premiership.

“We move on and firmly back the playing group,” he said. “We’re never out of the game and if we play our best, we’ll see what happens.