Darley gets the title

Darley has claimed the BCA premiership. (Shawn Smits) 205415_27

Tara Murray

Darley has won its first Ballarat Cricket Association first grade premiership after one of the more stranger weeks in local cricket.

The Lions, who went through the season undefeated, were awarded the premiership after the grand final was cancelled due to the growing COVID-19 situation.

For much of last week, the grand final looked set to go ahead, albeit shortened from four days to two.

Despite Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia recommending that all local cricket be cancelled, the BCA was set to play all their grand finals.

After receiving more information, the association made the call to cancel the grand finals on Wednesday night.

Lions coach Brian Wheelahan said while they would have preferred to win the premiership on field, it was well deserved.

He said they were pushing for the grand final to be played.

“We have created history as we had never won a premiership in the BCA competition,” he said.

“We couldn’t have done anymore and we were confident that we could have got the job done and gone through undefeated.

“No one wants to win it this way. I’ve been picturing the winning runs being hit or that last wicket being taken.

“There’s mixed emotions.”

Wheelahan said there was a nervous wait while they waited for the BCA to confirm that they would be awarded the premiership.

Once that came through on Thursday afternoon, his phone rang off the hook.

Wheelahan said they were confident that things would go in their favour.

“We worked tirelessly on and off the field and we have got rewarded,” he said.

“We were three games on top and not losing a game we were confident that it would go our way.

“We deserve it and we’ve got the monkey off the back.”

The premiership follows the side winning its second T20 premiership earlier this year. They were also undefeated in that competition.

Wheelahan, who is in his first year as coach, said it had been a fantastic year.

“It’s been an unbelievable first year, not that I’ve had to do a lot,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to coach and watch them go about their business. They have worked their arses off.

“We’ve won the first XI premiership, the T20 premiership and Danza Hyatt is one vote off the Cleary Medal despite missing four games.

“We couldn’t have written a better script.”