BCA: Herring, Longhurst spearhead Lions

MATCH-WINNER: Lachie Herring works the ball square of the wicket on his way to a century for Darley on Saturday. Picture: Dylan Burns.
MATCH-WINNER: Lachie Herring works the ball square of the wicket on his way to a century for Darley on Saturday. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Darley captain-coach Heath Pritchard had plenty to say to his players after their commanding 71-run win over Mt Clear in a Ballarat Cricket Association firsts semi-final at Alfredton on Sunday.

GONE: The bails go flying as Ben Longhurst gets past the defence of Mt Clear opening batsman Darcy Thomson at Alfredton on Sunday. Picture: Kate Healy

GONE: The bails go flying as Ben Longhurst gets past the defence of Mt Clear opening batsman Darcy Thomson at Alfredton on Sunday. Picture: Kate Healy

Of course it was all positive.

He was naturally proud of the all-round effort produced to take the Lions into their first BCA first eleven grand final since joining the competition in 2002-03 – especially given the lack of finals experience that Darley has.

He best summed it up his feelings though in this way.

Pritchard, in his second season with the club, said now that Darley was in the grand final it might as well win it.

Darley, which finished second, will meet minor premier Wendouree in the four-day grand final at the Eastern Oval.

Although Wendouree has not won a premiership since 2012-13, it has an outstanding record when it gets this far and still has a core of the team which won five grand finals in a row in that era.

Pritchard said Darley had no fear and he was confident his players had shown enough to suggest they had what it took to go all the way.

Opening batsman Lachie Herring was one of two stand-out performers for Darley.

He not only provided the backbone of Darley’s 7-255 with 116 (nine fours) in a full day at the crease on Saturday, he also arguably kept it in the premiership race.

Mt Clear took the early points as Darcy Thomson claimed two cheap wickets at the outside and then Tim Griffith followed to have Darley 4-68.

It did improve with a 74-run stand between Herring and Brad Barnes, 39, but even 5-142 did not look good enough.

However, Drew Locke, 45, joined Herring to add 90.

Mt Clear struggled from the outset to get the required run rate to pressure Darley, which kept the screws on with tight bowling.

Skipper Darren Fletcher, 36 not out, kept the flame flickering, but Ben Longhurst ensured it would be Darley’s day with 4-35 in his return to the team.