It wasn’t meant to end like this

It really wasn’t meant to end like this. Not in the game I had played in my head many times leading up to Saturday’s South West Cricket Association Division 1 Grand Final between my team, Pomborneit and our opponents Mortlake. My vision saw us win a tight, hard fought game with me contributing well with bat and ball. Then waking up on Sunday morning still in my whites, with my maroon and gold cap still on and the premiership shield in my arms.

We finished on top of the ladder after the home and away season with 15 wins, 2 losses and a wash out. Mortlake, the reigning premiers, finished second with 3 losses. Mortlake flogged us in Round 2, 6/248 to 131. We beat them in Round 11, 7/256 to 6/237. We knew we had to play at our absolute best to beat them. The competition took on a new look this year, ditching 2 day cricket in favour of all one-day matches, with all games to be 50 overs per side. 100 overs is a lot to get through and makes for a long day, but the standard of cricket has lifted with many good games over the season. So for the first time the Division 1 decider will be a one-day contest.

My preparation has been good. Have had a solid season with bat and ball and after struggling with shoulder and foot injuries at various stages of the season am injury free. Quiet night at home on Friday, am in bed as soon as the great mare wins the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley. Feeling confident and looking forward to the big game.

We win the toss and bat first on an excellent looking pitch at Camperdown. Our skipper Sarge is opening with Cas, who is the Association’s leading run scorer for the season. They have been by far the club’s best two players of the last 20 years and are looking in ominous form at 0/25 after 9 overs. A terrible mix up between this experienced pair leads to Cas being run out, a waste of a wicket. Three balls later and Spud and Churchy have been dismissed and we are 3/25. Big Grunter is out an over later and at 4/29 with our in form middle order and our star opener out we are in huge trouble. SOK (Son of Ken) joins the skipper and they take the score to 41 before Sarge is caught behind. Now it’s my turn. Batting at 7 I had hoped to be going out there a lot later than the 15th over. SOK and I work hard, seeing of the opening bowlers and taking the score to 5/63 at 25 overs when drinks are taken. We are taking no risks and while scoring slowly don’t look like getting out. At the drinks break our coach “The Axe” tells us we are batting too slowly, I need to lift the run rate while SOK has to bat through the innings. I’m out caught in the 27th over playing my first lofted shot of the day. The long walk off is even longer in a Grand Final. We are now 6/66. Taking my pads off in the changerooms I hear a loud roar from out on the ground. Fish is out too, 7/66. SOK is joined at the crease by Rowdy and this pair take the score to 88 before Rowdy is dismissed. SOK then skies one. 9/88. Our last pair Urkle and BJ take the score to 98 before another mix-up and a run out. All out for 98 in the 37th over. Terrible.

But cricket can be a funny game. That’s what we tell ourselves. The fact that Mortlake were 9/91 before chasing down 120 odd in last years Grand Final against Noorat is brought up.  When Mortlake race to 0/63 off 15 overs I’ve decided that cricket is not a funny game. At all. Sarge, BJ then SOK take wickets but it’s all too late. SOK is exceptional, taking 1/19 off his 10 overs of off-spin. I’m not called upon to bowl. I’m not unhappy about this. Mortlake pass us 3 wickets down in the 28th over. It’s an awful feeling watching your opposition so deliriously happy. We shake their hands and trudge off to the changerooms. Past our supporters who pat us on the back and say bad luck to us. I don’t speak and am happy to be hiding behind my sunglasses. Sarge speaks to us in the rooms. Disappointed but pleased with our season, finishing top after missing the finals for the past two years. We go back out for the presentaion and watch our opponents receive their medals, the flag and the shield. And that’s it. We can’t get out of there and back to our clubrooms for our Grand Final function quick enough.

Back at the club and there is a good turnout. I spend time early on with my two young boys, supervising them in the playground, trying to avoid cricket talk. Eventually some teammates come over and the talk starts. The beers are not tasting any good at all. As the sun starts to go down the footy comes out. Some good skills on show from the guys who play as well as from some former “stars” (the longer you have been retired the better you were). BBQ tea is had, pool is being played and music is blaring from the speakers. There’s a constant battle over which songs are played, with Cas favouring country music and the Beach Boys, the younger guys Grunter and Fish playing bands I have never heard of and me in the middle trying to play Hunters & Collectors at every given opportunity. “Holy Grail” and “When the River Runs Dry” are accepted by my teamates but “42 Wheels” and “The Slab” are not. We are still flat but at least we are sticking together. At about 1 am the footy comes out again as the floodlight at the front is turned on. I’ve switched from beer to rum, a rare occurrence, probably dictacted by the younger blokes I’m in a shout with. We keep going until 4am. 6 of us are staying at the club. 4 of us go to sleep, Grunter and Fish keep going all night. We’re up early on Sunday and it takes a long time to clean the rooms and surrounds. I have pulled up well, unlike a few others. We board the bus for a trip that would have been so much more fun if we had won. Lunch at the Mamre Hotel in Pirron Yallock then off to Geelong to watch a former teamate play his cricket Grand Final for South Barwon in the Geelong Cricket Association. They lose too. We are hugely impressed by the ground and facilities at Newtown where the Grand Final is held. Huge crowd in attendance watching what was some very high standard cricket. Then back home on what was probably the quietest cricket club bus trip I have been on.

The club’s presentation night is on Thursday night. Then preperation for season 2013/14 starts. Work at the ground, recruiting players etc. Cricket never stops. And despite the disappointment of the weekend and the depression that goes with losing a Grand Final, I love the game and my club and I will be back to do it all again. Go the Pomborneit Bulls in 2013/14!

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Luke.

    I laughed hard at that cricket not being a funny game bit. You worked that beautifully.

    Tough losing a big match like that. You live to fight another day (and you got to play the pathos card: that’s always an interesting read.)

  2. Oh Luke …… I can only say GO PIES !!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks T Bone, a small bit of attempted humour in what was an otherwise depressing story (for me anyway).

    Dean, I just hope the Pies don’t suffer the same fate this year!

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