Sport

Maher’s Musings | Haisman Shield season review - part two

By Tyler Maher

The Haisman Shield season reviews by Musings HQ continue today.

Last week we looked at 13th to 10th, so we kick part two off with ninth-placed Waaia.

Stay tuned for part three!

WAAIA

Record: Ninth, 5-7.

Cloud: So close, yet so far. Waaia left its run too late this summer, winning three of its last four games to come roaring home, but just two wins in the bank at Christmas was never going to be enough.

Silver lining: A round 10 triumph against eventual semi-finalist Kyabram sparked life into the Bombers and showed them exactly what is needed for success at this level. After a solid bowling performance rolled the Redbacks for 186, some middle-order grit from Jordan and Mitch Cleeland steered Waaia to a win it desperately needed.

Musings: Waaia can match it with the best of them when on song, but needs a more consistent output across not only the season, but its A-grade squad. Even in wins it seems the job is left up to too few — but fixing that comes with experience the Bombers now have under their belt after two Cricket Shepparton campaigns. A big batting recruit would certainly help the cause as well.

OLD STUDENTS

Record: Eighth, 5-7.

Cloud: There is no skirting around the fact the Students were dismissed for just 29 in less than 16 overs on a pitch that Mooroopna had just made 8-169 on. It was not the end of the world in terms of their season, but certainly did not help them push for finals action.

Silver lining: Two-fold here — Callan McCabe and Liam Callegari. Both made their A-grade debut for the Students and starred all summer. McCabe was an all-round gun across the Haisman Shield and A-grade Twenty20 competitions, racking up 576 runs at an average of 44.3 and snaring 30 wickets at 13.1. Callegari had 27 wickets at 17.9 in the Haisman Shield — including a haul of 7-31.

Musings: It was a season of upheaval for the Students, with Kialla Park Reserve undergoing massive refurbishments and forcing the side to play out of Congupna Recreation Reserve. Their home base is looking slick now though and will give them a massive boost next summer.

SHEPPARTON UNITED

Record: Seventh, 6-6.

Cloud: Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Shepparton United should have played finals this season. If either of the side's two-wicket loss in round four or two-run defeat in round eight went in its favour it would have been battling Numurkah in the first round of finals instead of Nagambie.

Silver lining: Keegan Armstrong was a picture of consistency at the top of the order. The import was dismissed just three times — and once after round two — for less than 40 in the Haisman Shield, averaging 45.8 from his 504-run tally. United also dominated the Twenty20 competitions.

Musings: Closing the gap between its best and worst performances will be the key for United next season. For example, the side defeated Mooroopna and Katandra in the first half of the summer, but also lost to Numurkah by 10 wickets and Old Students by 100 runs. More wickets will also be on the agenda after taking just 86 — three less than wooden-spooner Tatura.

NORTHERNERS

Record: Sixth, 8-5.

Cloud: Another first round finals exit makes it a 0-4 record in post-season Haisman Shield clashes in the past three seasons for the Jets.

Silver lining: Joel Brett took the competition by storm with ball in hand this summer with 45 wickets at 9.6. That he also hit 331 runs was clearly why he walked away from the campaign with a Lightfoot Medal. What made Brett's season with the ball even more impressive though was that last summer it was the bat with which he dominated, hitting 672 runs across all formats.

Musings: The Jets have all the makings of a premiership side, but cannot yet seem to put it together on the big stage. More consistent batting efforts during the season would help Northerners finish higher on the table and give the side more chance of a confidence-boosting win in week one of the finals to set up a tilt at glory.

KATANDRA

Record: Fifth, 8-5.

Cloud: Missed the Haisman Shield decider after three consecutive appearances, falling at the first finals hurdle.

Silver lining: Still managed to win the one-day final, defeating Numurkah at Numurkah Showgrounds in what we all thought was a preview of the last weekend of the season. Jedd Wright also continued to dominate with bat and ball, hitting 571 runs and snaring 34 wickets.

Musings: The Eagles remain in a strong position and claimed a premiership in all three grades, so there is no reason to believe they won't again be right near the top of the table next summer.