By David Nagel

Casey Cardinia Cricket Association (CCCA) has earned promotion to the elite-level Provincial Division in 2024/25 after a stirring return to Melbourne Country Week.

The former WGCA Warriors – now CCCA Crusaders – remained undefeated throughout the round-robin stages of the tournament before succumbing to Bairnsdale in an absorbing grand final at the Albert Cricket Ground on Friday 16 February.

The Crusaders made 197, and had their opponents in trouble at 7/141 in reply, before a brilliant innings of 51 not out from Bairnsdale’s Reagan Kyle led his side to a tense two-wicket victory.

Bairnsdale was 8/200 when the winning runs were struck off the second last ball of the 40th over, winning with two wickets and 61 balls to spare.

Both Division 2 grand finalists will be promoted to Provincial Division next season.

Despite being defeated, the CCCA can hold its head high; returning to the fray after not fielding a team last season.

Led by Team Manager Phil Anning, the CCCA players bought in and became a strong and connected unit throughout their campaign, which consisted of a winning practice match against the Mornington Peninsula Cricket Association (MPCA) and regular training sessions at Tooradin.

Anning was grateful for the players’ efforts when he spoke to the team in the changerooms post-match.

“I just want to thank you all for the effort you have all put in,” Anning began.

“We had two aims this week, to get promoted to Provincial Division and to win Division 2.

“We came close to winning, but being promoted to Provincial is still a great achievement.

“Hopefully we’ve learnt a lot from this year and we come back even bigger and stronger next year.”

“You have done the association proud this week, and no-one can ask for more than that.”


A magnificent undefeated century from Devon Meadows star Lucas Ligt (142 not out) propelled Casey Cardinia (6/314) to a 130-run win over Kingston-Hawthorn (8/184).

Ligt made a spectacular start to the carnival, cracking eight boundaries and four sixes in an innings that remained unconquered after 163 balls.

Ligt and Kooweerup star Luke McMaster (58 off 50) got the CCCA off to the perfect start with a 127-run opening stand.

McMaster raced to his half-century off just 35 balls, cracking eight fours and three sixes, including a huge swipe over square leg to bring up his fifty.

The CCCA lost its first wicket when McMaster holed-out on the mid-wicket fence, trying to go large, bringing Pakenham skipper Dale Tormey (29) to the crease.

Chris Bright (27) then shared a 46-run stand with Ligt, who brought up his century with a classic square cut for two in the 38th over.

Bright, Travis Wheller (1) and Dylan Sutton (7) all came and went, before Steven Dillon (17 off 12) played a bright little cameo to edge the team towards 300.

Brad Butler (9 not out) then took a back seat as Ligt finished his innings off in style.

Butler (5-0-19-1) then made the first inroads for the CCCA, finding the edge of Ben Spencer’s (4) bat and through to the waiting hands of his Tooradin teammate Ben Parrott.

Prajay Paramesh (43) was the key player for the Hawks, and he was third to go after a brilliant piece of fielding from Wheller.

Paramesh hit a ball from Tormey (7-4-6-1) high into the sky, with Wheller taking a great catch at mid-on looking into the sun.

Tormey and Wheller (8-1-24-1) bowled beautifully in tandem, restricting the scoring rate through the middle overs.

Luke Stow (51 not out) made a solid contribution for the Hawks, but the CCCA had too many weapons to fire.

In a perfect sign of the all-round talent of the squad, 10 bowlers were used with Wheller and Jason Williams (8-0-24-2) taking two wickets apiece, while Tormey and Sutton (5-3-8-1) were at their economical best.


Tuesday, against Ballarat (5/147) at Port Melbourne, saw the CCCA (7/283) secure the points via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) system.

McMaster (89) was once again brilliant, cracking 10 fours and two sixes in his 72-ball innings that had his team in front of the game from the get-go.

Tormey (33) and Bright (20) once again got starts, before two of the youngest members of the CCCA squad took control of the innings.

Wheller (58) and Will Halton (34 not out) put on a crucial stand of 63 for the seventh wicket to lead the CCCA to 7/283 from its 50 overs.

Tooradin speedster Butler (1/13) then struck an early blow, with Williams (3/45) bowling beautifully from the opposite end to rip the heart out of the Ballarat top-order.

Ballarat was 5/147 when play was abandoned due to severe storms that swept across North Port Oval after 31.5 overs had been bowled.

Five wickets down after 31.5…Ballarat required 179 runs to win via the DLS system.


The game between the CCCA and Sunraysia was abandoned after damaging storms on Tuesday caused the pitch at Warrawee Reserve, Oakleigh, to be under-prepared for Wednesday’s fixture.

The Victoria Country Cricket League (VCCL) did seek alternative arrangements, but the game was abandoned by the umpires 15 minutes before the scheduled 10am commencement of play.

Both teams received two points for a draw.


Thursday belonged to Tooradin all-rounder Sutton (6.1-2-10-6) who bagged a six-wicket haul to demolish Bellarine (61) on a sticky deck at Donvale.

Sutton was the chief destroyer, with five of his dismissals being edged through to wicket-keeper Halton.

McMaster (2/26) and Butler (1/10) were the other wicket-takers, but it was Sutton who hit his line and length to perfection.

Chasing 62 for victory, Ligt (31 not out) then played a steadying knock in tough conditions to lead the CCCA to victory.

The win assured the CCCA of a place in the Division 2 grand final against Bairnsdale at the Albert Ground on Friday.


On a magnificent day, and on an equally magnificent Albert Cricket Ground, CCCA skipper Dale Tormey won the toss and elected to bat first against Bairnsdale.

Luke McMaster (12) looked in superb touch, cracking a lofted cover drive in the first over and the CCCA was away.

Lucas Ligt (10) then got off the mark with a beautiful punch behind point and the CCCA was 0/11 off two.

McMaster then hit two consecutive boundaries, the first a lofted off drive, then a pull shot…before edging the very next ball to second slip; 1/19 off 3.

The CCCA was going along steadily at 1/30 off six; but the seventh over was a huge setback.

Ligt hit a simple catch to mid-off, before Tormey was adjudged LBW for a first-ball duck.

Morteza Ali (47) and Bright (25) then consolidated with a 44-run stand, before the wickets of Bright and Wheller (0) saw the CCCA in all sorts at 5/77.

Ali and Halton (18) then put on 41, before both fell in quick succession, the CCCA soon in more trouble at 8/139.

Williams (28 not out) then showed his experience, combining with Dillon (28) and Ben Parrott (9) to post a competitive score of 197 off 48.5 overs.

Butler and McMaster were wildly erratic early, struggling to contain an unfamiliar ‘Dukes’ ball and conceding far too many extras.

Williams (2/39), Tormey (1/23) and Wheller (1/32) made steady inroads, before a brilliantly executed run-out by McMaster had Bairnsdale on the back foot at 5/97.

Sutton (2/34) then threatened to be the hero on consecutive days, taking two wickets in two balls to have the score at 7/141.

Reagan Kyle (51 not out) and Nick Adendorff (25) then put together a match-winning partnership of 25 to deny the CCCA’s best efforts.

Ali (1/5) claimed a late-wicket, before the winning runs were scored by Ryan Halford (4 not out) off the very next ball.

Kyle was a thoroughly-deserving man-of-the-match after his match-defining innings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *