MORTLAKE captain Todd Lamont says a disappointing loss was the catalyst for the Cats’ strong finish to the season and grand final berth.
The Cats lost three games for the season, finishing second behind today’s South West Cricket (SWC) division one decider opponent Pomborneit.
Mortlake won its last five games of the home-and-away season following its round 13 loss to Terang.
“We went through a lull in January. I guess you could say the whole first part of the season was a lull, but we were winning so we didn’t read too much into it,” Lamont said.
“People were a bit comfortable in their positions and taking it a bit for granted and not worrying about their performances because someone else would fill the void.
“We had a bad loss to Terang and I wasn’t very happy.
“I don’t know whether that triggered anything.”
Lamont said the Cats’ experienced players stepped up and guided them to another grand final.
“It gets to a point where you’re sick of things happening and it takes one or two people to take it upon themselves and turn it around,” he said.
Mortlake, chasing back-to-back flags, and Pomborneit shared the spoils this season.
“Both times we batted first and made 240 or 250. In the first game we got early wickets and got through them pretty quickly,” Lamont said.
“The second time we didn’t get early wickets. Their key is their top order and our main focus is to dismiss them.
“They will give us chances. We just have to take them.”
Pomborneit coach Max Castle said the minor premier gave itself every chance today.
“I am a great believer that it’s a lot harder to make a grand final than it is to win one,” he said.
“A lot of people might disagree. (But) once it becomes 50-50 you are a chance.”
Castle said Mortlake, with cricketer of the year Clinton Baker among its ranks, was favourite.
“They are a very good side and Mortlake are certainly favourites, but anyone can win a two-horse race,” he said.
“They have been consistent all year. Their attack is better than ours.”
Castle said the Bulls had improved their attitude and application throughout the season and there had been development among their list.
“I reckon our young fellas have improved, like Grant Place and Steven Fisher,” he said.
“Steve O’Neill travels from Melbourne each week for us. Every game he bowls well and is an off-spinner.
“Steve Murphy is another one who has improved.”
Lamont said the weather forecast favoured a result tomorrow, with light showers predicted.
Both Mortlake and Pomborneit will take unchanged line-ups into the grand final.
Ecklin plays Mortlake in the division two grand final and Heytesbury Rebels meets Noorat in the division three decider.