Monash Tigers have secured a grand final berth in the Bartercard Victorian Premier League after defeating the more fancied Melbourne in their semi-final at Princess Park number one oval. The Tigers routed Melbourne for just 125 and in reply were 3-209 at stumps on day one when both captains called an end to the match.
Demons skipper Andrew Kent won the toss and elected to bat on a firm wicket with some grass cover. Conditions were perfect for cricket and early on it appeared the Melbourne batsmen would take full advantage of those conditions.
Openers Kent and Peter Petricola settled well and had 23 on the board before Petricola popped one up to Jack Harper off Will Sheridan when on five. Kent was looking good before he was trapped in front of Dominic Matarazzo for 26 and then Alex Keath had the Demons fans scratching their heads when he too was out lbw, this time to Tigers skipper Alan Wise (above) for just four.
The Tigers players realised the importance of the wicket while Keath trudged slowly from the field, disappointed with the decision. Matthew Brown quickly followed without scoring and then the important wicket of Brad Hodge who casually drove on the up to Sam Taylor at short cover off Wise for one. At lunch Melbourne was in all sorts at 6-70.
Things got worse soon after play resumed when Samuel Harper (4) was caught off Wise and the century mark for the Demons looked doubtful. All the while wickets were falling, 21-year-old Victorian Bushranger’s rookie, Sebastian Gotch, played a lone hand.
He was the last wicket to fall, bowled trying to hit Matarazzo out of the ground. He made 70 from 101 balls with eleven boundaries and a six off spinner Cameron White and apart from Kent (26) was the only Melbourne batsman to reach double figures.
Wise the standout with the ball finishing with 5-39 from 15 overs. He was well supported by Matthew Shimell 2-34 and Matarazzo 2-25 while Sheridan kicked started the rout with the first wicket of Petricola.
The Tigers calmly made their way to 42 without loss at tea with openers Daniel Sartori and Tom Boxell at the crease.Sartori didn't need to rush his sandwiches at tea however as he was bowled by Brenton McDonald first ball after the break for thirty. The Tigers lost Harper (16) also to McDonald with the score on 72 when Boxell was joined by White.
The pair added 104 before Boxell fell just short of a deserved half-century caught by Gotch off Nicholas Quinn for 46. White remained unbeaten on 87 and Sheridan 18 as the Tigers reached 3-209 when stumps were drawn, both captains agreeing to end the match and subsequently booking a berth in the grand final for the Tigers.
McDonald claimed 2-46 for the Demons as their season ended in disappointment after they had finished on top of the league ladder. The Monash Tigers will now meet Ringwood in the season's three-day final next week after the Rams easily disposed of Carlton in the other semi-final.
For full scorecard go to VPL Semi-final