Hampton’s Michael Fitzgerald batted through the opening day for his maiden century and to set up the Seahorses 2019-20 premiership in Cricket Southern Bayside.
It was clinical as Hampton swept to grand final glory on Sunday.
The Seahorses clinched the Cricket Southern Bayside Championship Division premiership flag with a resounding win over South Caulfield in the title decider at Boss James Reserve.
After teenage opener Michael FitzGerald put the Seahorses in a commanding position with his maiden century on Saturday, their bowlers completed the job on Sunday.
Defending 255, Hampton dismissed South Caulfield for 126.
“Not until they were nine down I don’t think I relaxed,’’ Hampton coach Matt Kenny joked.
“The bowlers bowled beautifully as they have done all season. Just clinical. They shared the load as they always have.’’
Hampton keeper Joe Kenny chimed in: “We didn’t allow them to get a partnership. That was the critical thing.’’
Foon got the big wicket of South Caulfield’s Englishman Brad Erasmus, bowled for 14.
“That was huge,’’ coach Kenny said.
“Because, really, he had to ton up for them to win.’’
Charlie Ross (1-40) removed South Caulfield skipper Will Russell and Jeremy Lawlor (3-16) trapped Lewis Mildenhall lbw for 40 as the visitors slipped to 4-93.
With victory in sight, Tom Marron (2-21) cleaned up the tail.
Hampton skipper Dan Forbes nabbed 2-24 off 15 overs and made all the right moves.
“Dan Forbes threw the ball around, made the changes, he was really cagey as a captain,’’ Kenny said.
FitzGerald was the Cinderella story of the season.
Before Saturday’s CSB Championship grand final, the 19-year-old’s highest score for Hampton First XI was 16 not out. He opened against powerful South Caulfield and made 119 not out, batting all day.
“Phenomenal,” Kenny said.
“An unbelievable knock.”
FitzGerald, a homegrown Hampton product since Milo Cricket, had batted in the middle-order for most of the season but was promoted to the opening spot in last week’s semi-final against Parkdale, making 6.
The Hampton hierarchy saw something in him, and he didn’t let them down.
FitzGerald and Jeremy Lawlor (20) shared a 31-run opening stand to get Hampton off to a solid start.
Fitz and Guy Harper (18) then took the score to 1-72 before Harper was dismissed by South Caulfield paceman Lachlan McMahon (4-68).
Then came the most significant partnership of the day. FitzGerald and skipper Daniel Forbes (65) put on 124 for the third wicket to take the score to 2-196 as Hampton’s hopes of a first premiership in six years rose.
Kenny said the premiership was “massive’’ for Hampton, which last won a First XI flag in 2013-14.
“The fact that half of our boys are homegrown is fantastic,’’ he said.
“That’s the thing I’m most proud of. And they all contributed in the finals.
“The boys have now become men. They’ve arrived.
“I think we’ll be bigger and better next season. A year’s a long time for these boys at this stage.
“So watch out. These boys will all be 20 next year and away we go.’’
Hampton’s flag men: Joe Kenny, Daniel Forbes (captain), Oliver Tate, Michael FitzGerald, William Bowden, Ben Foon, Charlie Ross, Abe Kenny, Thomas Marron, Jeremy Lawlor, Guy Harper. Coach: Matt Kenny. Team manager and scorer: Peter Wright.
Article by Simon McEvoy – Bayside Leader.