North Balwyn beat Heathmont to advance
By SALLY HEPPLESTON
NORTH BALWYN has booked a spot in the Melbourne Winter League A Grade grand final after knocking off top team Heathmont in the first week of the finals on Saturday, played on Heathmont’s home turf.
North Balwyn were able to steamroll the heavy hitting Heathmont side 11-3 after a big five run second inning set up the match for them.
North Balwyn coach Phil Dale said while the club had played in plenty of finals’ series, he couldn’t recall the last time they’d made a winter grand final.
“Our pitchers today Tyler Dale, Mitch Kennedy and Jeremy Young really held the Heathmont bats down, which was a tough ask,” he said.
“Then we had that five run second inning and we were able to maintain the lead.
“And we had some good at bats as well.
“Everyone really contributed today and played good defence. We’ll just train as normal now and get ready for the grand final,” Dale said.
Heathmont coach Matt Gourlay said it just wasn’t the club’s day, but that if they were going to have an off week, that was the time to do it, having given themselves the second chance.
“We had a bad one this week. The second inning cost us and we were really playing catch up from there, and with finals teams of that quality, playing at that level, you can’t afford to play catch up,” Gourlay said.
“We tried some new things today that didn’t work, and we gave them a head start which didn’t help. We face Research next week and they’ve always been our rivals in the big games. It will be another big one next week,” Gourlay said.
In the other final, Research were too strong for Watsonia, beating them 10-5 and ending Watsonia’s finals campaign.