By Tara Murray
It was a tough weekend for Melton South Royals, with all five of its sides knocked out of finals.
For the first XI side it was a tough return to finals, facing Sunbury in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association Russell Pollock Division 5 Shield.
Playing finals for the first time since the 2010-11 season, the Royals were left to rue poor moments with both the bat and ball.
Originally a two-day game, the game was shortened to one day, with the ground still wet after heavy rain during the week.
On Sunday, the Royals struggled to get going with the bat, all out for 75.
Royals captain-coach Matthew Kozole said they didn’t think they had enough runs on the board.
“We thought par was probably about 120,” he said.
“If we got about 100-120 runs on the board we would have been in the game.
“Getting 75 wasn’t enough.”
Anthony Yates at the top of the order scored 19, but there was little support.
Melton South got off to a perfect start with the ball, with Kozole taking three wickets to have Sunbury in trouble at 3-10. It wouldn’t last, with Sunbury finishing 4-77.
Kozole said they gave themselves a good chance, but couldn’t get over the line in the end.
“I had the belief in the boys and when we got a couple of early wickets, I thought we were a chance,” he said.
“They knuckled down and did what we weren’t able to do, get a partnership in the middle of the order.
“I did everything I could to go a grand final spot.”
Kozole admits that the two grand finalists, Sunbury and Moonee Valley were probably the best two teams all season.
In his first year as coach, Kozole said it had been a really successful season for the club.
“We haven’t played finals for eight or nine years,” he said.
“All five of our sides made finals. “To get here is really pleasing.
“They say semi-finals are the hardest games to win. Hopefully we can maintain the core group and push for a game better next year.
“If we stick together, I think we can go one step further.”