A LATE flurry of 50 runs off 27 balls from brothers Ben and Jacob DeAraugo propelled Strathdale-Maristians to the 2015 Bendigo District Cricket Association flag against Strathfieldsaye on Sunday.
Chasing Strathfieldsaye’s 226 at Kangaroo Flat’s N8 Health Oval, the Suns looked gone when they had crashed to 8-159 in the 73rd over.
But the DeAraugo brothers launched a stunning rescue mission, getting the Suns over the line with three balls to spare as Strathdale-Maristians answered with 8-228 to win by two wickets and claim its fourth premiership in the past five years.
The odds were well and truly stacked against the Suns when they still required 50 to win off the last five overs, with only the DeAraugo brothers at the crease and No.11 Ryan Haythorpe padded up.
But the Suns upped the ante, scoring eight off the 81st over bowled by Jets’ captain Ben Devanny.
Twelve came off the 82nd over bowled by spinner Andrew Stove.
The 83rd over bowled by Ben Devanny went for nine, and when the 84th over bowled by Cory Devanny conceded 11 - including a six off the final ball by Ben DeAraugo - the Suns had reduced the target to just 10 to win.
The final over was bowled by Ben Devanny, with the first ball sent sailing over the mid-wicket fence by Jacob DeAraugo for six.
Jacob then pushed the second delivery to mid-on for a single.
That put Ben DeAraugo on strike, who cracked the third ball through fieldsman Isaac Hogan to the mid-wicket boundary as the Suns celebrated a famous victory.
Ben DeAraugo won his fourth Taylor-Walsh Medal for a brilliant unbeaten 78 as - like he has so often on the big stage - revelled when the pressure was on.
He batted for 211 minutes and faced 165 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes and scoring 26 off his last 15 balls.
“The strength of our team for a long time now is we’ve been able to score runs late,” Ben DeAraugo said.
“We’ve often lost early wickets over the past few years, which has meant that the tail and middle-order has had the chance to do a lot of batting and we’ve all got that belief that we can do it.
“We thought if we still had a couple of wickets in hand with five overs to go we would have that launching pad.
“To be there at the end with Jacob after the week we’ve had in pop (Horrie Benbow) passing away... Jacob and I were both were close to him and he’s a massive sports fan.
“I think he was up there helping us out today.”
The name Ben DeAraugo will again be giving the Jets nightmares after earlier in the season he scored an unbeaten 100 against Strathfieldsaye to also dig the Suns out of a hole.
Jacob DeAraugo, having earlier scored just five off his first 28 balls, finished unbeaten on 28 off 40.
His crucial role in the win came five years after he was at the crease when the Suns lost the 2010 grand final to Bendigo United by one run.
“I think about that grand final five years ago more than the ones I’ve won,” Jacob said.
“It was important to have Ben out there. He’s a rock for us and was always setting targets at the end of each over.
“I always thought we’d be half a chance if I just kept doing what he said.”
As for the six off the first ball of the last over: “I was going to target that mid-wicket area and see if I could get a two. But it came off the bat a little sweeter and thankfully, went over the fence,” Jacob said.
Earlier, as has been the case so often this season, the Suns were again under pressure following the loss of early wickets.
By the 25th over the Jets had claimed the scalps of Andrew Hosking (3), Jack Neylon (12), Suns captain Linton Jacobs (12) and Cameron Taylor (8) as the Suns were reeling at 4-40 and the momentum was all with the underdogs.
Young Jets’ pacemen Xavier Crone picked up two of the early scalps, dismissing both Neylon and Jacobs lbw.
However, Nick Baker and Ben DeAraugo set about the Strathdale rebuild and safely negotiated the next 17 overs, moving the Suns along to 4-74 at tea.
They added a further 34 after the break before Baker was caught by Bodee Scullie at mid-on off Andrew Stove for 49 off 113.
Baker played some of the shots of the grand final through the covers, with his 49 including seven fours.
Baker had earlier been given a life when dropped at slip by Nick Scullie off Cory Devanny when on 13 that would have had the Suns 5-53.
While he spilled Baker, Scullie earlier took a fine catch low to the ground earlier to dismiss Taylor.
The Suns’ 5-108 in the 54th over later became 8-159 in the 73rd following the wickets of Jono Davidson (11), Adrian Pappin (13) and Sam Johnston (4), setting the stage for the DeAraugo brothers.
Teenager Crone was the Jets’ leading wicket-taker with a return of 3-40 off the maximum 16 overs he was permitted to bowl because of age restrictions.
Ben Devanny (2-53 off 18.3) and Stove (2-64 off 23) both took two wickets each, while Cory Devanny finished with 1-40 off 13.
Veteran Chris Cullen bowled an opening spell of 14 overs and continually put the ball in probing areas, but went wicketless in finishing with 0-23.
On Saturday, Strathfieldsaye’s 226 was again built on a lengthy innings from opener Luke Jones.
Jones batted into the final over of the innings in making 91.
He spent 290 minutes at the crease, faced 261 balls and never looked like going out until he holed out to Ryan Haythorpe at deep mid-on off the first ball of the last over.
Jones hit five boundaries, as well as pushing the ball around for 39 singles in his knock, which came seven days after a near-identical 260 ball semi-final innings of 97 against Bendigo United.
Jones faced 521 balls and spent a combined 606 minutes at the crease across the Jets’ two finals, becoming just the third BDCA player since 2000 to be dismissed in the 90s in consecutive innings.
For the second week in a row Jones and fellow opener Greg Lyon - who had an lbw appeal from Jacob DeAraugo on the first ball of the match go his way - got the Jets away to a solid start.
The pair were positive from the outset, scoring 31 off the first 10 overs, and by the 20-over mark the Jets had 63 on the board without loss.
Lyon was the aggressor of the pair, scoring 33 of the Jets’ first 50 runs, with 16 of them coming in boundaries.
However, the introduction of Haythorpe into the attack in the 25th over reaped immediate reward for the Suns.
With his first delivery and the score at 0-71, Haythorpe had Lyon caught by Jacob DeAraugo at point.
Lyon made 45 off 76 (five fours).
With the Jets having ticked the scoreboard over fluently, Haythorpe and spinner Cameron Taylor combined to put the brakes on Strathfieldsaye.
With Taylor and Haythorpe bowling tight lines, the Suns spent 72 balls starting in the 23rd over in the 70s.
Having never taken a wicket in his previous four grand finals, Taylor broke his duck in the 35th over of the innings when he caught and bowled Jets’ No.3 Isaac Hogan (6) to leave Strathfieldsaye 2-84.
That brought to the crease Ben Devanny, who with Jones guided Strathfieldsaye to 2-109 off 47 overs at tea.
Having conceded 71 runs off the first 25 overs, the Suns cut it back to 38 off the last 22 before the break.
With the game well-poised at tea, the momentum swung the Suns’ way in the first 40 minutes after the break when Strathdale struck four times through Taylor and Jacob DeAraugo in 11 overs.
Having pushed the score to 131 in the first eight overs after tea, the Jets suffered a blow when Devanny (24 off 48) was trapped lbw by Taylor.
Devanny had begun looking in ominous touch, slashing Taylor through the off-side for a boundary two balls before his dismissal.
That wicket was followed soon after by Nick Scullie (lbw Taylor, 1), Cory Devanny (lbw Jacob DeAraugo, 1) and Andrew Stove (c Ben DeAraugo, bowled Jacob DeAraugo, 5) as the Jets lost 4-13 to crash to 6-144 in the 67th over.
While the wickets tumbled, Jones continued to defy the Suns and together with Bodee Scullie, set about rebuilding the innings.
Scullie took the attack to the Suns and while he was at the crease with Jones, a score around 250 didn’t look out of the question.
But disaster struck when a mix-up resulted in Scullie being run out by Andrew Hosking in the 77th over for 24 off 33 (four fours).
Scullie and Jones added a valuable 45 for the seventh wicket, taking the score to 189, while Xavier Crone chipped in with 11.
As the innings wore on the interest centred around not only how many the Jets could muster, but if Jones could make the 27th BDCA grand final century.
He started the last over of the innings to be bowled by Sam Johnston on strike on 91, but hit the first ball straight down the throat of Haythorpe.
And when Chris Cullen (0) was run out next ball by Taylor going for a third off a Jack Stubbs (5 n.o.) shot, the Jets were all out for 226, with four balls left unfaced.
Taylor took the bowling honours for the Suns and would have slept well Saturday night following a marathon spell of 33 consecutive overs.
Taylor came into the attack in the 16th over from the Bendigo end and bowled until the 80th over, finishing with 3-73, including 12 maidens.
Taylor’s lbw dismissal of Nick Scullie doubled as his 150th first XI wicket for the Suns.
Jacob DeAraugo was at his best after tea in finishing with 2-30 off 16 overs.
Haythorpe bowled the one spell of 1-6 off eight overs, with the Jets only scoring off five of his 48 deliveries. Ben DeAraugo (1-41 off 10) and Johnston (1-67 off 17.2) were the other wicket-takers.