MORTLAKE’S remarkable dynasty continues to grow after it secured its fifth South West Cricket division one flag in six years, seeing off a gutsy challenge from Terang at Camperdown on Saturday.
The Cats were challenged every step of the way in an enthralling contest, scraping together 120 runs in the face what captain Todd Lamont called “sensational” bowling from Terang and then holding on to win by six runs as Terang put up a dogged fight.
“It’s just unbelievable, I’m not sure how to feel, really,” Lamont said.
“Never, throughout the whole day, did I feel like we were in control or think we were ahead in the game.
“It was a typical hard-fought game between Mortlake and Terang. No one wants to give an inch: that’s generally why they’re low-scoring, because bowlers just don’t give you an inch and batsman don’t want to get out. It’s just grind and grind away all day.
“Even right to the end, it could’ve gone either way. It’s just an indescribable feeling.”
Cats all-rounder Shane Slater put in a vintage performance in the face of a tough time off the field, making an invaluable 49 runs opening as the wickets fell around him and later taking 3-17, including the winning wicket.
Mortlake had been 9-97 before the 10th wicket partnership of Josh Jewell (23) and Kyle McDonald (2 not out) added 23 runs to give their team “something to bowl at”, although it was well short of the 200 they had been aiming for at the start of the day.
“The way they bowled, there was no way known we were going to get 200,” Lamont said.
Lachie Wareham starred with the ball, taking 5-21 from 10 overs as Mortlake heaped the pressure on Terang’s chase.
Veteran Tim Keane was Terang’s go-to man as it looked to get back on track a shaky start to its chase, stumbling first to 4-40 and then 6-62.
Keane teamed with opener Ben Graesser. who hung in to face 64 balls, making 22 runs before becoming one of Wareham’s three leg before wicket victims, to put on 32 runs for the seventh wicket.
When Keane was caught-and-bowled by Slater, Terang needed 20 runs for victory with just two wickets in hand.
Captain Brett Hunger (7) and his fellow tail-enders fought hard to scrape together the final runs, but ultimately fell six runs short.
“I think we started the game well really early on, it was just unfortunate we lost a few too many wickets through the middle stages and weren’t able to fall over the line,” Hunger said.
“It took 13 players to get us here today and we were happy to leave it all out there on the park and be that close.”