Saturday March 15
Prince Alfred Hotel 2nd XI
MOCCC 101 (Michael McColl 31)
Burwood 8/166 (John Dinneen 4/17, Damian Howsam 2/20)
MOCCC lost by 3 wickets
Victorian Mortgage Management Group 3rd XI
MOCCC 181 (Bernie Dinneen 35no, Andrew Keogh 33, Mick Dinneen 32, Tony Beltrame 31, Tim Rush 23)
North Balwyn 146 (Bernie Dinneen 3/29, Nick Gribble 2/26)
MOCCC won by 35 runs
When the selection dilemma was confronted, Michael Mirabella was the unlucky player left out of the XI. With Saka resuming his role as 2nd XI captain, the team welcomed back Stuart Kemp for a rematch with North Balwyn, after the two teams had contested last year’s F Turf grand final.
Saturday promised to be the finer of the two days weather-wise, and skipper Paul Dinneen duly elected to bat first. The Eagles lost an early wicket when Rob Kemp shouldered arms, then steadied before Paul deflected one onto his stumps…2/32. Tony Beltrame and the evergreen Andrew ‘Trev’ Keogh took the score safely to 75 when disaster struck. Trev nicked one behind, followed by successive lbw decisions which gave North Balwyn coach Bateman a hat-trick. Nick Gribble in particular was unlucky after appearing to make contact with the bat, but the damage was done…5/75. Mick Dinneen arrived at the wicket and tea was taken with the Eagles at the crossroads, 5/90 after 42 overs.
Mick looked to take on the bowling after tea and played some spectacular shots before getting out to a leading edge. Meanwhile Tony was playing the anchor role to perfection, but his stay came to an end when he was sent back by Bernie Dinneen after calling for a run to cover and couldn’t regain his ground. The biggest partnership of the innings followed, 52 between Bernie and Tim Rush. Both players entered the game with good batting form and produced when it mattered. Bernie was given a couple of lives and at 7/176, it appeared 200+ was on the cards; however Rushy holed out to point, and Ronnie and Chapps would prefer their efforts weren’t dissected. Bernie was left stranded on 35, with four overs left unused.
Despite the competitive total, the Eagles were again a little miffed at being in the field on the first day against North Balwyn as twilight settled in. But spirits soared in the final over of the day when the Gribbler induced an edge into the safe hands of Rushy at second slip. Impossible to say in hindsight how vital this breakthrough was, but it might’ve meant a ten percent improvement to the Eagles’ collective mindset as they entered play on Sunday with the score at 1/8.
North Balwyn began soundly and gave little encouragement before Tony Beltrame broke through in characteristic fashion, clean-bowling the #3…2/28. Our old adversary Neil Dalrymple looked set for the long haul as Nick Gribble returned to the attack with little effect. NB captain Parkinson holed out from an attempted pull shot off Ron Murray, who was in the midst of a rare 17-over spell. He should be walking again by next week. Then Tim Rush trapped Bateman jnr in front, immediately before play was halted due to rain, and an early tea was taken with the Eagles on top at 4/57. This was considered a huge wicket after Bateman had proved immovable at Macleay Park a fortnight earlier.
Bateman snr came to the crease, and the run rate increased briefly before the introduction of Bernie Dinneen. The opposition had a right not to expect such a fearsome spell from a fifth bowler, but Bernie tore through Bateman snr’s defences to put the Eagles inarguably on top. A few overs later the feat was repeated twice more – no shot offered by the #8, then the prized wicket of Dalrymple who’d resisted to score 49. Though the North Balwyn boys displayed ability all the way down the order, Bernie’s spell had proven decisive, and the Eagles sensed victory at 7/91.
The final drinks break was taken and Paul Chappell was belatedly brought on from the grandstand end from which he purveyed his spinners rather tidily under pressure, inducing a meek bat-pad edge from an attempted sweep by the dangerous McMahon which was gleefully accepted by Mick Dinneen. The Eagles were further delayed by a 35-run 9th wicket stand, which was broken after Robbie Kemp took a tremendous pressure catch, falling backwards, from a skied on drive to give the Gribbler a second scalp. If the game had a signature moment, this was it; ’Skull’ wanted that ball! The match was sealed when a sharp return from Bernie to Mick ran out the #11 who had neglected to ground his bat. Jubilation ensued and the Eagles were presented with their premiership medallions, while Bernie Dinneen was a deserving MOTM in what was a genuine team effort.
Credit to our opponents, a young side who’ve beaten us several times over the past three seasons while falling short in the big ones. The match was hard fought but played in the right spirit, with the rivalry set to extend into next season as both teams progress to D Turf.
Thanks to all those who participated in the team this year and helped to secure the premiership – particularly Mirra, who played every match prior to the finals. Alec Morris, Alec Crosswell and Tim Montagna were other significant contributors, plus Joan Dinneen with her impeccable work on the scorebook and whose presence always seems to inspire her boys!
The club’s significant financial investment in hire of McCutcheon Oval is paying dividends, with our third XI now offering a decent standard of turf competition and a viable pathway to higher grades.