Taipans apply the squeeze

March 19, 2018

D grade premier: Toolamba after claiming the SJ Perry Shield.

Toolamba broke through for its first premiership in a decade, beating Mooroopna in the first innings to claim the SJ Perry Shield.

Brilliant bowling from the Taipans was enough to seal the victory, 19 runs ahead on first-innings scores and able to stay strong to lose just three wickets in 36 overs to avoid an outright loss.

Toolamba captain and gun all-rounder Greg Watts was satisfied his side had taken its game to the next level.

‘‘It’s a very good feeling,’’ he said.

‘‘The last three seasons we’ve bowed out in the semi-finals, so it’s great to come out on top.

‘‘(Improving) was a bit of working on our discipline, blocking out the good balls, and not getting too bogged down.

‘‘We worked hard and it paid off.’’

Mooroopna won the toss and batted, and struggled early to fall to 2-19.

Lloyd Payne and James Woods followed with the biggest partnership of the innings, but things fell to pieces soon after as the Taipans’ bowlers took control.

Liam Callegari was the star of the show, helping himself to six scalps as Mooroopna could only muster 86.

He had six of the last seven wickets to help his side close the show, the Taipans reeling off 5-10 to wrap the innings up.

Woods top-scored with 21 batting number four, with openers Payne (11) and Brett Lenon (13) the only others to get out of single figures.

Toolamba was within 17 runs of the win overnight, 4-69 in 21 overs as Luke Dabkowski (22) and Aidan Callegari (21) led the way.

On day two, both sides continued to fight and Toolamba was bowled out for 105.

Mooroopna’s Daniel Emmi absolutely caught fire, taking an astonishing nine wickets to single-handedly give his side a chance to push for a reverse outright win.

But after Mooroopna’s quick-fire 8-96 declared off 18 overs, the Taipans proved too strong with the bat, batting out time in making 3-61 in 36.

Emmi again did all the wicket-taking, with three more scalps meaning he finished the game with combined figures of 12-65 — enough to see him take man of the match honours in a losing cause.

But victorious captain Watts had a hard time picking out key contributors in a real team win.

‘‘It was pretty much everyone; as captain you realise that everyone is in the side for a role,’’ he said.

‘‘A massive thanks goes to (Luke Dabkowski), who travels from Gippsland every single Saturday, without him we’d lose one of the best all-rounders I’ve seen in a couple of years.

‘‘Lachlan Thurston too, just the way he goes about things is very calm and collected.

‘‘And just the senior boys, just the group that sits back and realised we can ignore the pressure and work hard.’’

And Watts suggested the impact of a D-grade premiership should not be underestimated.

‘‘It might only be D-grade, but it does mean the world to us,’’ he said.

‘‘Just for the club, the Toolamba Cricket Club is a very small community and this bunch of blokes has fought hard and recreated this club as a very strong club.

‘‘I don’t think words can describe it.’’

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