Toongabbie have staved off a resurgent Ex Students juggernaut to claim the 2018/19 A grade premiership in the Traralgon and District Cricket Association.
Man of the match Keenan Hughes helped the Rams rocket into the box seat on day one with a stunning six-wicket haul as the Sharks were skittled for just 92 after electing to bat.
Michael Stockdale and Jimmy Pryde seemed to get the innings underway, making it through the first half hour of play to take the score to 15.
But Pryde was out soon after for 15 and Stockdale’s 29 was the best any Shark could manage in an innings where six players – including dynamos Lee Stockdale, Jordy Gilmore and Jackson McMahon – fell for ducks, and Gimore’s was golden courtesy of a Keenan Hughes in-swinging yorker.
Toongabbie went in and found themselves in a commanding position at stumps on day one at 5/75, needing 18 runs for first innings points and with one hand on the trophy.
On day two they played out the morning patiently, as has come to be the Rams’ style, and made 132, passing the total six wickets down to earn a 32-run lead.
With their backs against the wall, Ex Students’ wealth of finals experience came to the fore in their second dig as a phenomenal passage of free-hitting signalled game one.
Lee Stockdale and Jordy Gilmore were phenomenal in the face of immense pressure, whacking their way through 10 overs to lead the Sharks into lunch at 0/69.
The Rams were rattled and captain Rob Wheildon took the ball after lunch and it wasn’t long before the first wicket fell as a Tom Shippen screamer on the ropes to send Stockdale packing on 35.
Gilmore stuck around and continued to play for runs, reaching 49 before being caught by Rams coach Richard Hughes off a ball from son Connor Hughes.
The declaration from captain-coach Lee Stockdale came with Ex Students at 7/160 with a 130-run lead.
Stockdale took the ball to get the second charge underway in search of early wickets.
The Rams needed to bat through 54 overs and did so with aplomb, holding tough without the loss of a wicket before the game was called at 0/76 to seal their first A grade flag since 2010/11.
Sam Ellis made a stellar unbeaten 54 and Tim Dunn was still standing on 17.
Coach Richard Hughes applauded Ex Students’ efforts, labelling them a “powerhouse” of the competition after seven consecutive grand final appearances.
“I was in this competition 20 years ago and to come back and for [Ex Students] to still be a powerhouse as they were back then â€¦ it wasn’t easy to try and compete with them,” Hughes said.
“It was a really terrific grand final and it could have honestly gone either way. [Saturday] it just went our way.”
Ex Students def Toongabbie
Ex Students have taken out a record seventh consecutive B grade premiership in the TDCA with victory over Toongabbie on Sunday.
In reply to the Rams’ 80, the Sharks rose to the challenge.
An unbeaten 53 from Daniel Chapman and 37 from skipper Daniel Churchill helped Ex Students seal the win and finish at 9/136.
Daniel McGregor was among the best bowlers for the Sharks in the win and finished with stunning figures of 4/9 while Lachlan Spiteri took three wickets.
Glengarry def Ex Students
Glengarrry stormed home to seal the C grade flag in style on day one against Ex Students on Saturday.
After electing to bat, the Sharks crumbled to be 3/22 after the cheap loss of Nathan Oates, captain Brad Pratt and David Pryde.
Their innings picked up briefly through Jason Prigg but his knock of 20 was the best any Shark could manage as the side was all out for 115 in the 37th over.
The Magpies didn’t stutter in the chase, finishing at 3/116 from just 16 overs.
Brandon Francis was the catalyst for Glengarry and finished unbeaten on 53 to earn himself man of the match.
Alex Henderson was also pivotal and chipped in with 40 while Matt Murphy and Tanner Higgins finished with three wickets each.