A MAIDEN top grade century by Hayden Ross-Schultz led Glengarry to its first TDCA A grade premiership in 37 years over the weekend, as the Magpies reeled in a monster target to overhaul Ex Students.
Set an imposing 286 to win the Magpies dominated day two on a belting wicket at Stoddart Park, losing only five wickets in total to reach the target in the 97th over.
It was a master class performance from Ross-Schultz who batted for five hours and 47 minutes and faced 278 balls to make his first A grade century on the biggest stage, claiming the Laurie Blake Memorial Medal for the best player of the grand final in the process.
“He’s really showed his talent the last couple of years, really started to come on, he still hadn’t quite broken that first A grade ton, but he has now and he’s done it when it matters,” Glengarry captain Sam Marks said.
“It really doesn’t matter what sort of runs you make during the year or wickets, it’s players that deliver in the big games that’s going to matter and what you get recognised for.
“The kid has turned up and made his first A grade ton, it’s in a granny and it will go down as one of the greatest knocks in the history of the TDCA.”
Despite being set a colossal target, Marks said his side never doubted itself for a moment.
“The belief in the group from yesterday onwards, last night we stuck together and there was not one moment in the game today we thought we were going to lose, and that was the difference in the end,” he said.
“To be honest I thought we did a good job restricting them, I thought it was a 320 pitch… considering the start they could have easily posted 350.
“The key was with our batting lineup, I said to the boys at the start of the day, we bat our 100 overs we win the game, we did that and now we’re premiers.”
The victory was made sweeter still with a record TDCA crowd on hand to witness the historic run chase, and most of them cheering for the Pies.
“It’s fantastic just to see the whole town, past legends, life members, people crying, it just means a lot to the town and the people involved and we’re going to celebrate hard,” Marks said.
Glengarry’s first shot at the grand final in nearly four decades began on the wrong foot when Ex Students won a crucial toss and batted first.
The Magpies did not use the new ball well early and the Sharks bats were on top.
After an opening stand of 63 the prize wicket of Greg Munro fell for 19 off the bowling of Cam Graham.
There was no joy for Glengarry after that as the batsmen made hay.
A 90-run stand was broken when Jimmy Pryde, who was batting beautifully, was dismissed for a magnificent 92.
Shortly after Jordy Gilmore was out for a well made 45.
Nothing Glengarry tried could quell the flow of runs, as the Sharks middle order all chipped in.
Dylan Spence made 19, Mitch Membrey 15 and Michael Stockdale punished the bowling to produce an important 44. Ryan Delaney took three wickets and Jarrod Allan two to be best the of Magpies bowlers.
The Sharks reached a towering 9/285 off 96 overs before declaring late on Saturday to have four overs at Glengarry’s openers.
The declaration proved a masterstroke when the last ball of the day had Paul Henry adjudged LBW to leave the score 1/6 overnight.
Day two started cautiously for Glengarry as it knuckled down in the first half hour.
Ex Students were giving nothing away with the ball; Sam Marks was out for 13, and soon after the key wicket of Frank Marks fell for 13 as the Pies limped to lunch at 3/76.
The first hour after the interval was crucial as Glengarry needed to consolidate and get back into the game.
Ross-Schultz and Ben Julin set about the rescue mission in fine form. At drinks they had reached 3/132 with both key batsmen looking solid.
Just as they began to take control the pair’s 104-run partnership was broken when Julin holed out to long off, caught by Michael Stockdale off the bowling of Pryde for 42.
With the game in the balance Ross-Schultz took control and showed the maturity of a veteran to reach his century.
The required run rate was at four per over with the score on 245 when Ross-Schultz was caught out for an inspired 136 off the bowling of Michael Warne.
Despite his departure the chase did not derail, and Glengarry romped home without losing another wicket.
Gun recruit Jarrod Allan made 41* and Ben Marks chimed in at the end with an important 25*.
The Sharks bowlers toiled hard but lacked penetration and could not get on a roll.
Rob Voss toiled 32 overs for a return of 1/74 and Warne 26 overs for 2/70; both worked hard without much success.
EX Students and Centrals put on the game of the year in the B grade grand final, with the decider coming down to the last ball.
The Sharks needed three to win off the final delivery when Damien Jones became a star by smacking a boundary to hand his side the title for the third year in a row. Centrals won the toss and batted first to post a respectable 9/206.
Jimmy O’Rourke made 42 and Ben Doble top scored with 55. Best bowlers were Daniel McGregor, Damien Jones and Daniel Churchill with two wickets each.
The Sharks batting was all about one man as Jackson McMahon stole the show with a breathtaking 104 to take his team to within 20 of the target.
An incredible finish ensued as Jarrod Barnes and Damien Jones rattled off 12 runs in the last over to win the flag. McMahon was a deserving man of the match medal winner.
BATTING first Imperials managed to post 184 in the C grade grand final against Centrals.
Boppa Pryde made 37, Aaron Johnstone 39 and top scorer was Steve Cooper with 64.
Greg Warfe took 3/61 to restrict the total.
In reply Centrals made a good start but faltered after that.
Top score was Warfe’s 53, while Lachy Pollard and Rick Goddard both made 21 as Centrals was bowled out for 158. Cooper capped off a solid final by taking 2/14 to be named man of the match.