GOLDEN Gully has won its first Emu Valley Cricket Association division one premiership, 17 years after the club was established.
The Cobras defeated Mandurang by 35 runs in the weekend’s grand final at Ewing Park to notch their maiden flag.
“It’s a fabulous feeling and well deserved by the boys,” Golden Gully captain Clint Prime said.
“We set ourselves a good total yesterday (Saturday) and defended it well today.
“We set a three-year plan to get where we wanted to and we’ve achieved it in the second year
“Credit to the boys and the committee… we’ve worked hard as a unit all year.”
The Cobras’ premiership team included Jeremy Rogerson and Brad Webster, who have been with the club since day one in 2000 when it was formed.
On Saturday after winning the toss and batting, Golden Gully compiled 231, minus one of its key players in all-rounder Grant Le Poidevin.
Le Poidevin had been suspended for two games at a tribunal hearing on Friday night on a misconduct report from the semi-final win over Sedgwick.
The Rangas also had a key absentee on day one in their co-captain and best bowler James Pietromonaco, who had his sister’s wedding to attend and only played on Sunday.
The Cobras had looked on track for a total above 250 when they were 5-225 in the 70th over with Nathan Hamblin and Shaun O’Shea (30) both set and scoring freely.
However, the Rangas rallied with the ball late, taking the last five wickets for just six runs to bowl the Cobras out with 11 deliveries left un-faced in their innings.
We set a three-year plan to get where we wanted to and we’ve achieved it in the second year
Batting at No.4 and coming in with the Cobras’ 2-76 in the 27th over, Hamblin top-scored with 65
The left-hander struck five boundaries and two sixes in his innings, which ended when he hit a Michael Healy full toss to Phil Berry and was caught at cover.
Rogerson also made a half-century for the Cobras.
Rogerson compiled 60 and was in fine touch from the outset, striking six boundaries among his first seven scoring shots.
Of Rogerson’s 60 runs, 50 of them came in fours (11) and sixes (one).
The Golden Gully innings featured key partnerships of 47 for the second wicket between Rogerson and Prime (23), 43 for the third between Rogerson and Hamblin, 40 for the fourth between Hamblin and coach Darren Hinck (11) and a 61-run stand for the sixth between Hamblin and O’Shea.
All six bowlers used for Mandurang took a wicket.
Healy (3-43 off 13.1) was the only multiple wicket-taker, while the most economical was Jeremy Hancock, who took 1-3 off eight overs, including five maidens.
Hancock conceded just two singles off the bat and also bowled one no-ball.
The key wicket of Cobras’ opener Greg Thomas (12) was taken by Cain Ladiges (1-22), who trapped him lbw in the 11th over.
Sunday’s second day featured a man-of-the-match bowling performance from Golden Gully’s Kansas Varker, whose five-wicket haul was one of the catalysts for the Rangas succumbing for 196.
Varker – the EVCA under-21 player of the year – bagged 5-57 off 12.3 overs, while Thomas was also influential with the ball in snaring 3-34 off eight overs.
The Rangas’ innings featured their two best batsmen of the season – co-captain Matt Pask and Matt Giri – both making ducks and facing just three balls between them.
Opening the batting, Pask was caught by Bradley Smith first ball he faced in the opening over off Varker.
And Giri – who was a late arrival and didn’t bat until No.6 – was bowled by Thomas second ball.
The Rangas lost their way when they collapsed from 2-101 in the 19th over to 6-112 in the 22nd.
Varker and Thomas each picked up two wickets apiece during the period when the Cobras claimed the decisive 4-11.
The loss of the four quick wickets started when Mandurang opener Paul Martin was caught by Webster at deep mid-wicket off Varker.
Martin had launched a batting blitz for the Rangas in making 75 in a whirlwind innings that featured 12 boundaries and two sixes.
So dominant was Martin, he put on 70 for the second wicket with Clinton Botham, who made five.
From 6-112, Pietromonaco (18 n.o.) and Luke Rafferty worked to rebuild the Rangas’ innings.
Rafferty loomed as a major threat to the Cobras with plenty of big hitting, but he went for one too many and was caught by Travis Nolan at mid-off eight minutes before tea, leaving the Rangas 7-175.
Rafferty’s 54 featured 50 of his runs coming in boundaries (eight) and sixes (three).
The Rangas went to tea at 7-179 off 37 overs, before the Cobras took 33 balls after the resumption of play to claim the final three wickets and celebrate a 35-run victory.
Varker took the match-winning wicket when Hancock (4) edged him to keeper Hamblin.
“Kansas is a talented young cricketer… he’s only 18 and has a lot of cricket ahead of him,” said Prime, who took a fine diving catch at mid-on in the second over after tea to dismiss Will Anderson (1).
“He failed with the bat yesterday, so he was quite keen to get amongst it today and credit to him… he’s rightly the man of the match.”
Golden Gully premiership team – Clint Prime (c), Greg Thomas, Jeremy Rogerson, Nathan Hamblin, Darren Hinck, Kansas Varker, Shaun O’Shea, Brad Webster, Bradley Smith, Travis Nolan, James Austin.