THE Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association Sharks failed to make the Country Week final despite winning three of its four matches last week.
The new-looking MPCA, boasting nine new faces, were robbed of a final’s berth after a controversial result between Ballarat and Warnambool went against the Sharks on the final day.
Neck and neck with Geelong and Warnambool going into the final day, wickets and runs meant everything.
The Sharks weren’t able to get the job done against Geelong, the eventual winner, going down by just 21-runs.
However, what happened at Shepley Oval between Ballarat and Warnambool had tongues wagging.
Warnambool won the match, scoring 226 against Ballarat’s 192. However, with eight overs left in the match, Ballarat batted again and amazingly lost 6/36, handing Warnambool a spot in the final against Geelong.
It was a solid week though for a new-looking team that was missing some big names, including the likes of Chris Brittain, while Seaford’s Jon Plakourakis was rushed into the side due to the original keeper not being given pre-arranged time off work.
Skipper Bobby Wilson wanted a committed team that could be together for the entire week – that’s what he got.
The Sharks’ competition kicked off on home soil at AH Butler Reserve against Traralgon & District, winning the toss and batting first.
Pearcedale star Chris Dew went agonisingly close to a century, scoring 98, while Dromana’s Kierran Voelkl scored 43 of the MPCA’s 9/217.
The MPCA bowlers then took the visitors to task, all six bowlers used taking wickets.
Peninsula Old Boys’ star Jon Forrest was the pick of them, snaring 3/22 from nine overs, while Rosebud skipper Billy Quigley and Pines’ Pat Jackson picked up two wickets each.
The Sharks played at home again on day two, smashing Warnambool.
The visitors won the toss and batted, the Sharks rolling them for 146 with Rye skipper Tommy Baron snaring 2/16, while MPCA skipper Bobby Wilson, Forrest and Quigley all claimed a couple of scalps.
Bobby Wilson then went to town with the bat, however, also fell on 98. POB’s Dylan O’Malley and Will Crowder hit 34 and 25 respectively to help the Sharks to 8/215 and victory.
With two wins from two matches, it was then off to Princess Park to tackle Bendigo.
The MPCA batted first again and Chris Dew was again among the runs with 56, while Voelkl hit 34, Ballam Park star Stuart Plunkett smacked 39 and Forrest played a cameo with 23 at the end.
The Sharks’ bowlers then did the job again, bowling out Bendigo for 157.
Mt Eliza skipper Justin Grant picked up 2/37, Forrest took 2/24 and Plunkett, Dew and Wilson all took one wicket each.
In the final game against Geelong at Caulfield Park, the Sharks bowlers again stepped up to the plate, bowling out the eventual champs for 145.
Justin Grant was the pick of them with 3/16 from five overs, while Quigley and Jackson claimed two wickets each.
Unfortunately, the Shark’s batsmen couldn’t match the bowlers, bowled out for just 124. At one stage they were 4/28.
Grant hit 39 and Crowder 27 to give the Sharks a sniff, however, losing 3/0 (Crowder, Forrest and Quigley), prevented a come from behind win.