Old Scotch were defeated in the Grand Final by a talented and committed Old Melbournian outfit by 6 wickets on a disappointing day for the club. For the third year running, the Scotchies played below their best on the Main Oval at Scotch College, but that is not taking anything away from Old Melbournians who were magnificent and deserved their victory.
In overcast conditions, Old Melbournians won the toss and sent Old Scotch in under the cloudy skies, It proved an inspired move as Matt Mitchell was the only Old Scotch batsman to emerge from the wreckage with his reputation intact, with an excellent innings of 62. With the exception of Tim Hosking with 23, no other batsman could stick around long enough with Mitchell to help build a substantial total. When Hosking was dismissed, from 2 for 95, the rest of the middle order disintegrated, and the lower order helped eke out a score of 8/145 at the compulsory closure. It was felt by many that it was at least 30 runs shy of a competitive total, and possibly even 50 runs shy.
So it proved. Despite some early top order wickets which gave the Old Scotch boys heart, it became apparent that Old Melbournians were not going to panic and fold, as first Morris and Michelmore, and then Morris and Garber, settled down to a sensible nudge and run low risk chase. From 3 for 34, the Old Melbournians thereafter never looked uncomfortable. The premiership was already palpably slipping away when veteran Gary Bennett pulled a muscle and was unable to complete his 5th over, effectively leaving the A-Team a bowler down.
It mattered little, as Vice Captain Matt Mitchell later admitted that even 170 would not have been enough given the ease with which Morris and co chased down the runs required. Thus ended what had been until that point a magnificent season full of so many highs. With stalwarts, Tom Murray, Will Hays, Sebastian Armstrong and Sam Murray all unavailable for various reasons, along with the continued unavailability of Cam Melville, the A-Team managed to simultaneously rebuild with a bevvy of youngsters in support of Shearer, Hosking, Mitchell, Grose and Bennett, to yet again take out the minor premiership with only one defeat in the home and away season. A stupendous feat.
The disappointment of losing the Grand Final to a better equipped Old Melbournian outfit was tempered by the fact that so many youngsters had been blooded into the ranks, and along with the expected return of at least some of this years absentees should see Old Scotch well placed to challenge for more premierships in the coming years.
Our congratulations go out to Old Melbournians who were sensational and worthy premiers. You were simply better on the day and deserved your win. For the Old Scotch cricket club, the planning for season 2019/20 starts now.
We hope to see you all again next season, as we continue our quest to raise the bar even higher.