STRATHDALE-Maristians' extraordinary dynasty of dominance in the Bendigo District Cricket Association has continued for another year as the Suns added an eighth flag in 12 seasons on Saturday.
The Suns proved too strong for Strathfieldsaye in a competitive grand final played in ideal conditions at the Queen Elizabeth Oval, winning by six wickets with nine balls to spare.
Chasing the Jets' 9-181, the Suns answered with 4-182 as just like they did against Kangaroo Flat a year earlier, they won the flag batting second.
And just like last season against the Roos when they also won by six wickets both Cameron Taylor and Jack Neylon played key knocks for the Suns, and captain Taylor also won the Taylor Walsh Medal for the second year in a row as the best player.
The victory brought the curtain down on what was a second season in a row of all one-day games during which the Suns have built a 32-3 record, with Saturday's victorious team now having 45 premierships between them.
The winning team included the trio of James Barri - who hit the winning runs - Matt Wilkinson and 16-year-old Jack Pysing as first-time Suns' premiership players, while for Ben DeAraugo and Linton Jacobs they have been part of all eight flags.
"I'm really proud to have the opportunity to lead this group, but to be honest, it's a group that leads itself," winning skipper Taylor said.
"It's a really special group, but what I really enjoy at the club is it means a lot to more than just the 11 players out there on the field.
"We've had a lot of success lately, but there was a long line of guys before that who didn't get to have this success who are still involved in the club and now they are getting the rewards of this."
The day started on the right note for the Jets when skipper Ben Devanny's good form at the toss continued.
We've had a lot of success lately, but there was a long line of guys before that who didn't get to have this success who are still involved in the club and now they are getting the rewards of this- Cameron Taylor
Devanny won the toss for the fifth game in a row, elected to bat and the first scoring shot of the Jets' innings was a six by dangerman Pat Felmingham over cover off Pysing.
After Sam Johnston (1-44) had started the game with a maiden to Tim Wood (13), the second over of the innings bowled by Pysing (1-20) was action-packed.
Felmingham (10) had cracked 10 off Pysing's first five balls, but came undone on the final delivery of the over when he attempted to glide a short delivery down to third man, but instead spooned a simple catch at slip to DeAraugo.
At 1-10 after two overs it brought Abe Sheahan to the crease to play the anchor role of the innings as he would go on to make the grand final's highest score.
Sheahan grinded out 78 off 142 balls, batting through until the 44th over against a disciplined Suns' attack that for much of the innings was able to keep the run-rate around three per over.
The Suns also didn't allow the Jets to build any partnerships of more than 47, which is what Sheahan and Callum McCarty (24) added for the fourth wicket after Strathfieldsaye had been 3-63 in the 22nd over.
McCarty's 29-ball innings included a pair of sixes off off-spinner Barri, although Barri got his revenge when McCarty was caught in the deep by Wilkinson soon after.
Sheahan had some luck along the way in his innings of 78 when he was dropped by James Vlaeminck at mid-on off Taylor on 23.
That was one of four chances that Taylor had spilled off his bowling, one of which cost six runs when Johnston put down Sheahan at deep square leg on 62.
Sheahan spent 139 minutes at the crease and batted through until he was the seventh wicket to fall with the score on 174 when he holed out to deep mid-wicket and was caught by Neylon off Taylor.
"Abe grinded it out really well; the track probably wasn't as quick as we thought and didn't quite come on as we thought and they bowled really well, particularly their spinners," said Devanny, who made seven.
"Abe batted really well to try to get us to something we could defend and he lifted the tempo well through the last 15 or so overs."
Taylor - now a seven-time premiership player - finished as the game's leading wicket-taker with 3-45 off his nine overs of leg-spin, ending the year with 49 wickets.
Abe batted really well to try to get us to something we could defend and he lifted the tempo well through the last 15 or so overs- Ben Devanny
Also among Taylor's three wickets was Jed Rodda (0), who was dismissed for just the second time in his 12 innings this season.
Earlier, it had been a dream start with the ball for Barri.
Brought into the attack in the 11th over with the Jets 1-37, Barri (2-33) picked up a wicket with his first ball when he had X-factor opener Wood trapped lbw.
It was a huge wicket for the Suns given they had removed the Jets' two most explosive hitters in Wood and Felmingham before the score had reached 40, with two of their youngsters in Barri and Pysing claiming the crucial scalps.
The Strathfieldsaye dismissals also included a sharp piece of wicket-keeping by Jacobs with a leg-side stumping off DeAraugo (2-26) to dismiss Campbell Love (3).
Having been 4-115 at the 35-over mark, the Jets added 66 off the last 10 overs to push their tally to 9-181.
"I thought somewhere between 180 to 200 was a par score on the wicket; I was thinking probably 200 at the start of the day, but the track probably wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be," Devanny said.
On the position of the game at the halfway mark, Taylor was pleased with the bowling performance of his side to keep the Jets to 181.
"We thought it was a total that was a bit below par, so we liked it, but were obviously aware that having runs on the board in a grand final are worth everything," Taylor said.
"We thought it was a gettable score and we proved it."
The Suns' successful run-chase was set up by a 62-run opening partnership between Taylor and Clohesy.
The pair played with no risk and rotated the strike superbly, scoring 39 runs off the first 10 overs and then getting to the first drinks break at 0-62 after 15 overs.
However, the drinks break came at the perfect time for the Jets as the break in play - albeit only briefly - halted the Suns' momentum.
Devanny introduced left-arm spinner Savith Priyan into the attack first over after drinks and the bowling change paid immediate dividends.
On his second ball Priyan had Clohesy (30) caught by Chathura Damith at mid-off.
And then next delivery the Jets got another big breakthrough when Suns' coach Grant Waldron - who had gone into the grand final averaging 50 - was trapped lbw for a first-ball duck.
Since joining the Suns in 2019-20 - meaning he now has three flags in three years with the club - it was just the second duck Waldron had made in his 48 innings.
That brought Neylon to the crease to face the hat-trick ball, which he let through to wicket-keeper Jack Stubbs.
From 2-62 it was Taylor and Neylon who produced the best partnership of the grand final.
Last year after coming together at a similar 2-61 against Kangaroo Flat when they added 53 for the third wicket, this time Taylor and Neylon put on 91.
Neylon's first two scoring shots were a pair of sweep shot boundaries off Priyan (2-28) before he played a subdued knock rather than the aggressive innings he is well renowned for.
After his early boundaries Neylon was at one stage 13 off 35 balls and was later 21 off 41 at the 30 over mark with the Suns' 2-107 at drinks.
However, after the drinks break Neylon upped the ante, cracking a pair of sixes off Jets' leg-spinner Darcy Hunter (0-30), while also having some luck when dropped twice - by Hunter in the deep on 38 and 'keeper Stubbs on 48.
Taylor, who took 76 balls to reach 50 - his fourth-consecutive half-century to end the season - was dismissed 29 runs short of victory when caught by Priyan at mid-on off Damith (1-37) for 67.
And when Neylon was bowled by Love (1-33) for 60 with the score on 168 the Suns required 14 off 21 balls as veteran DeAraugo joined Barri at the crease.
Barri had earlier come in following the dismissal of Taylor and kept his cool under pressure with a composed innings as he scored 18 of the Suns' last 29 runs to finish 18 n.o., while DeAraugo was 3 n.o. at the end.
Barri had the privilege of hitting the winning runs when he pushed a Love delivery to mid-off for a single off the third ball of the 44th over as his Suns' team-mates charged onto the field to celebrate.
"James' innings showed the maturity of our young guys. Strathfieldsaye absolutely did the right thing in bringing the field in to put the pressure on and for James to take it on and get a couple of boundaries away was fantastic," Taylor said.
"I'm really proud of his effort."
Taylor, too, should be proud of his effort in winning a second Taylor Walsh Medal for his double of three wickets and 67 runs and he can now add premiership captain to his glittering BDCA resume.
"You want to come out at the end of the day having won and having contributed, too, so I suppose the medal is a little bit of validation that you've contributed to the win," Taylor said.
Although beaten, Jets' skipper Devanny was proud of his team's performance this season in, firstly, returning to the finals after finishing fifth last year before pushing the Suns in a grand final that went for 88.3 of its allotted 90 overs.
"We've had a good year with a lot of young guys in the side (the Jets had five aged 21 or under on Saturday)," said Devanny, who was also the skipper when Strathfieldsaye was beaten by the Suns in the 2015 grand final.
"It was a good achievement to get here today, but the result obviously hurts.
"To defend the score we had today you've obviously got to bowl and field well.
"Unfortunately, we didn't field as well as we did last week (qualifying final win over Strathdale). We dropped some catches, there were a few misfields and we probably just bowled a bit too straight early on.
"The boys will take the lessons out of today and learn from it. The beauty of having a young side is our young players are all going to improve and the challenge is to learn from watching guys like Cam (Taylor), who has been doing it at a high level for such a long time and did so again today."
The loss still leaves 2001 as Strathfieldsaye's last first XI premiership.
Strathdale-Maristians' premiership team - Cameron Taylor (c), Grant Waldron, Linton Jacobs, Ben DeAraugo, Jack Neylon, Sam Johnston, Jack Pysing, Daniel Clohesy, James Barri, Matthew Wilkinson, James Vlaeminck.
STRATHFIELDSAYE v STRATHDALE MARISTIANS
At Queen Elizabeth Oval
Strathfieldsaye 1st Innings
T WOOD lbw b Barri 13
P FELMINGHAM c DeAraugo b Pysing 10
A SHEAHAN c Neylon b Taylor 78
B DEVANNY b DeAraugo 7
C MCCARTY c Wilkinson b Barri 24
C LOVE st Jacobs b DeAraugo 3
D HUNTER b Johnston 11
C DAMITH c Wilkinson b Taylor 15
J RODDA lbw b Taylor 0
J STUBBS not out 3
S PRIYAN not out 1
Nine wickets for 181
Fall: 10, 37, 63, 110, 123, 145, 174, 175, 179.
Bowling: S Johnston 9-1-44-1, J Pysing 6-0-20-1, J Barri 9-1-33-2, B DeAraugo 9-1-26-2, C Taylor 9-0-45-3, J Vlaeminck 3-0-7-0.
Strathdale Maristians 1st Innings
C TAYLOR c Priyan b Damith 67
D CLOHESY c Damith b Priyan 30
G WALDRON lbw b Priyan 0
J NEYLON b Love 60
J BARRI not out 18
B DEARAUGO not out 3
Four wickets for 182
Fall: 62, 62, 153, 168.
Bowling: J Rodda 8-0-35-0, C Damith 9-0-37-1, C Love 5.3-0-33-1, B Devanny 4-0-17-0, S Priyan 9-1-28-2, D Hunter 8-0-30-0.
Strathdale Maristians won by 6 wickets
Umpires: Peter Williams, Stephen Rainey.
1 run = 1 point
1 wicket = 20 points
1 catch = 10 points
1 run out = 15 points
1 stumping = 15 points
127 - Cameron Taylor
Runs: 67 Wkts: 3 Field: -
78 - Abe Sheahan
Runs: 78 Wkts: - Field: -
70 - Jack Neylon
Runs: 60 Wkts: - Field: 1
58 - James Barri
Runs: 18 Wkts: 2 Field: -
53 - Ben DeAraugo
Runs: 3 Wkts: 2 Field: 1
51 - Savith Priyan
Runs: 1 Wkts: 2 Field: 1
45 - Chathura Damith
Runs: 15 Wkts: 1 Field: 1
30 - Daniel Clohesy
Runs: 30 Wkts: - Field: -
24 - Callum McCarty
Runs: 24 Wkts: - Field: -
23 - Campbell Love
Runs: 3 Wkts: 1 Field: -
20 - Jack Pysing
Runs: - Wkts: 1 Field: -
20 - Matt Wilkinson
Runs: - Wkts: - Field: 2
20 - Sam Johnston
Runs: - Wkts: 1 Field: -
15 - Linton Jacobs
Runs: - Wkts: - Field: 1
13 - Tim Wood
Runs: 13 Wkts: - Field: -
11 - Darcy Hunter
Runs: 11 Wkts: 0 Field: -
10 - Pat Felmingham
Runs: 10 Wkts: - Field: -
7 - Ben Devanny
Runs: 7 Wkts: 0 Field: -
3 - Jack Stubbs
Runs: 3 Wkts: - Field: -
0 - Jed Rodda
Runs: 0 Wkts: 0 Field: -
0 - Grant Waldron
Runs: 0 Wkts: - Field: -
0 - James Vlaeminck
Runs: - Wkts: 0 Field: -
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