Past Grammars hold off Cavaliers to claim back A-grade title
IT WAS a game fitting for a grand final and a fitting end to a great season for two terrific teams.
In a drama-filled, see-sawing battle, Past Grammars shook off their hoodoo and finally beat the Cavaliers to claim back the Fraser Coast A-grade title.
Beaten by Cavaliers in their past three encounters, Past Grammars achieved atonement for last year's grand final loss with a thrilling five-run victory at Keith Dunne Oval on Saturday.
Dale O'Brien sealed the win for Past Grammars, running out Matthew Ninnes as the Cavaliers were dismissed with just one ball remaining.
Past Grammars captain Sam Chew praised his players' character in bouncing back after losing their past two grand finals, which included last year's defeat to Bundaberg side Across The Waves in the Sugar Cities Challenge decider.
"When we've been under pressure before we've kind of turned on each other, but we didn't let that happen today," he said.
"It started to happen and we stopped and said 'get over it and get into the batsmen instead and play as a team' which is probably what we haven't done in the past two grand finals when we've been in trouble.
"It could be the last game we all play together with a few of these blokes possibly not playing next season, so that's what we said before we went out in the field; 'we're all best mates so let's go and enjoy it as a team'."
Although Past Grammars were deserving winners, the grand final wasn't without controversy.
The Cavaliers were penalised two overs for slow overrate, giving them just 38 overs to reach the target of 207.
Despite being upset by the umpires' ruling, Cavaliers skipper Adam Kratzmann would not use that as an excuse.
"I'm not happy, but in saying that you can't change what happened. We had 38 overs and we had to get it done in 38 overs simple as that," he said.
"I thought it was a good game of cricket and you can't ask much more of the guys of what they did today.
"I'm proud of all of them.
"They're a good bunch of blokes and they left nothing on the table.
"Unfortunately it just wasn't quite enough today.
"But it was a good grand final and when there are good grand finals and high-scoring cricket it's good for junior cricket, which is what it is all about."
In an extremely close game that neither side looked in control, Chew (46) got Past Grammars off to a brisk start on a good batting deck, before he was beaten by a ripper Ninnes deliver which removed his stumps.
Jordan Pedersen struck several superb blows of his own, playing some powerful cover drives on his way to 47, while some lusty hitting from tailender O'Brien (20) helped get Past Grammars over the 200 mark.
The Cavaliers were ahead of the required run-rate for much of their innings, but spinner Steve Collins played a pivotal role in slowing down the home side, taking three scalps including the crucial wicket of Kratzmann to finish with the figures of 3-32 from his eight overs.
A brilliant burst of power-hitting got Kratzmann to 85 before he held out in the deep trying to tonk another boundary.
Pressure soon became the name of the game as Jay Brownlie took it on himself to try and lead his team home.
Working the ball beautifully into gaps, Brownlie smacked a season-high 60 before he was run out pushing for one run too many.
His dismissal all but pulled the curtains on the Cavaliers' run chase, as Alex Beatty (3-37) took two quick wickets to remove the tail cheaply.
A-GRADE GRAND FINAL
Past Grammars 206 (J Pedersen 47, S Chew 46, D O'Brien 20; T Freshwater 8-1-34-3, A Kratzmann 8-0-34-2) def Cavaliers 201 (A Kratzmann 85, J Brownlie 60; S Collins 8-1-32-3, A Beatty 8-1-37-3)