DENNINGTON co-coach Dustin Drew says his side is in better form than when it made last season’s grand final after upsetting unbeaten West Warrnambool on Saturday.
Needing to beat the Panthers to secure a semi-final berth, Dennington (152) dismantled West’s revered batting line-up for just 71 at Dennington Recreation Reserve.
All-rounder Peter Shepherd took 4-3 off 7.3 overs as he and Mick Rantall (3-8 off nine overs) ripped through West’s middle and lower order as the Panthers lost 7-14.
Drew said it was an important win for his side but he wouldn’t write off West in this week’s semi-final.
“I still think they are the side to beat,” he said.
“Considering they hadn’t been beaten all year, they are a good side.
“I’ve played in sides when you have dominated the season and sometimes you have that day where everything goes wrong and that’s what happened. Everything went our way.”
Drew said his side had finished the regular season strongly.
“Our last four weeks of cricket have been really good. I think we are in good form going into the semi-final.
“Last season we finished on top but I didn’t think we went into the finals in great form. We weren’t playing well.
“This year I think we are playing our best cricket.”
Drew said Dennington was pleased to qualify for its third consecutive finals campaign after missing the post-season action in the two seasons prior.
“Semi-finals are the hardest games you will play for the year,” he said.
Drew said the Dogs were looking forward to a grand final rematch with Merrivale on Saturday at Allansford.
West Warrnambool skipper Michael Threlfall said the loss was the wake-up call his side needed heading into next week.
“They had a fair bit to play for,” he said of Dennington’s impressive bowling display.
Threlfall said his players had lost focus in recent weeks after securing top spot in the Merri conference. He said they had dropped their intensity at training.
“We’ve been waiting for the finals to come around and now it’s come we are excited,” he said.
“I think the boys will be a bit more enthusiastic (at training) knowing it is a final and make sure we are prepared.”
He said the loss could be a blessing. “It certainly won’t hurt us,” he said.