GRASSMERE Cricket Association premier Panmure Bulldogs’ last minute decision to alter their bowling attack paid dividends yesterday.
The Bulldogs won their 10th A grade flag in 14 seasons, defeating Grassmere by five wickets at Purnim Recreation Reserve.
Bulldogs skipper Nathan Shand said Sam Mahony snared the important wickets of Meerkats’ openers Chris Lenehan for 13 and Peter Sedgley for a duck.
“We changed it up and gave Sam Mahony the new ball yesterday which was pretty beneficial in the end,” Shand said.
“It was his first time (opening) this year.
“We thought we’d just mix it up a bit.
“Danny Meade mentioned it to me in the morning and we just ran with it.”
Panmure Bulldogs declared at 5-126 after chasing down Grassmere’s 118.
The Meerkats made 8-87 on a rain-interrupted day one and almost batted out their allotted 80 overs yesterday.
Bulldog pair Sean James (21) and James McKinnon (21) put on an opening stand of 47 to kick-start the chase and put Panmure in the box seat.
Shand said his side recovered after losing five wickets.
“Paddy Mahony and Tom Wright just steadied the ship,” he said.
“It got a little bit shaky in between but we were pretty confident we could bat the whole way down and get there in the end.
“I knew that experience would probably prevail in the end.”
Shand said he appreciated each grand final win more as he got older.
The man of the match, who took 4-39, said he had learnt a lot this season.
“It has been interesting, especially being captain this year,” he said.
“It’s probably opened my eyes a bit more with the all-round game of cricket.”
Grassmere skipper Chris Lenehan said it was a positive season for the Meerkats, who reformed three years ago after a one-year hiatus.
“After the disappointment of today we’ll have a look at it as a pretty successful year,” he said.
Lenehan said while it was disappointing to lose overs to rain on Saturday, it didn’t play a role in the result.
“We hadn’t missed a ball of cricket until yesterday,” he said.
“You normally get a game washed out or five or 10 overs but we didn’t miss a ball for the whole year until yesterday through rain.
Lenehan said the Meerkats were efficient in the field but 118 was too hard to defend in a final.
“Panmure attacked with their opening batters and their first partnership was about 48 and put us on the back foot,” he said.
“But we fought into it and got five wickets after that.
“It was a little bit tense there for a while but they pretty much had it in control for much of the day.”
Lenehan will hand over the captaincy next season but is eager to be a part of another Meerkats’ finals push.
“Whether we get someone outside of the club or appoint internally I am not sure,” he said.
“It might be a good opportunity for the club to recruit someone from outside.
“I have enjoyed the three years I have been in charge and someone else can have a go now.”