By Steve Brown
Good players perform in big games.
And this season’s Reeves Shield final was no exception as Knoxfield batsmen Tom Boxell and Jack Taylor struck centuries to close out The Basin, giving the Knights their third premiership in a row.
The Basin bowlers had no answer to Boxell (100) or Taylor (127), as the pair added 148 for the fifth wicket and ultimately an unbeatable total of 8/356 at the close of day one.
Taylor showed why he was selected in the Victorian Country team as his innings consisted of only 84 balls with 11 boundaries and 9 sixes.
The Basin’s run chase at one point was on track at 3/150.
However, once leading run-maker Scott Vozzo departed for 82, the Bears’ dream of their first premiership was over, dismissed for 267 in the 73rd over.
Josh Lindner took three wickets, following up on his six-wicket haul in the preliminary final while Taylor was awarded the Stephen Lee Medal for best afield.
In one of the great grand finals, Footballers claimed the Decoite Shield after holding out a gallant Lysterfield in dramatic scenes on the last ball of the day.
On day one, Footballers elected to bat and a boil-over seemed likely when they stumbled to 5/66 before Tharanga Lakshita and Radhik Gooneratne pushed the score to 160 when Lakshita fell first ball after drinks for 60.
Gooneratne gave terrific support with 64 as the ‘Ballers’ were dismissed in the 74th over for a defendable 205.
Former Sri Lankan international fast bowler Lakshita produced a marathon performance, reducing The Beavers to 7/107 and a possible early finish.
However, the talented Anthony Brolic was untroubled with wickets falling all around him, until he gained support from Steve Kennedy and Brad Paull which saw Lysterfield back in the contest requiring 17 runs to win at a run a ball with just one wicket in hand.
Lakshita commenced the final over to Brolic with eight wickets to his name as the Beavers required seven runs for the flag.
The experienced Sri Lankan delivered a brilliant final over leaving Brolic (89*) stranded at the bowlers end with a boundary required to win from the last ball.
Tailender, Tim Chivers could manage only a single, giving the Griffins a two-run victory and the Shield.
Lakshita finished with 8/67 from 30 overs.
Grand Final scores
Knoxfield 8/356 (Boxell 100, Taylor 127, Gerloff 40, Freeling 3/41) d The Basin 267 (Vozzo 82, Rundle 33, Sherriff 35, Oaten 45, Wilson 3/64, Lindner 3/80). Stephen Lee Medal – J. Taylor. Umpires: Carter and Sevior.
Footballers 205 (Lakshita 60, Gooneratne 64, Kinniburgh 4/67, Chivers 3/23) d Lysterfield 9/203 (Brolic 89*, Lakshita 8/67). Ken Utting Medal: T. Lakshita. Umpires: Walters and Head.