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RELENTLESS HOOPS VACCUM UP SHARKS TO ACHIEVE PREMIERSHIP GLORY

Brighton Union first Eleven have become the 24th 1stXI premiership team in the clubs history after defeating Washington Park CC in the Woolnough Shield Grand Final.

After sitting out and watching the preliminary final the week before, the squad came back together at the grand final venue on Tuesday night to prepare, plan and discuss tactics once we knew that Washington had made it through to the GF. It was quite evident that the whole group had done some serious homework on the opposition throughout the previous two encounters, they were also quietly confident of not only performing well, but also predicting what the Sharks would do if they won the important toss of the coin.

After the first hour of play it would seem that the Sharks plans were coming to fruition as they had us 4 for 24 off about 30 overs and with Collo, Matty, Plumma and Belly all in the shed, after which some minor panic set in throughout the Hoops camp and supporters. Full marks to the Sharks bowlers as they applied some intense pressure and backed it up in the field which accompanied with some nerves as you’d expect in a GF put the Hoops in a position not experienced during the season.

Yasas and Blairy settled in and applied some really disciplined batting which was obviously needed and were gradually getting us back into the game at 4 for 100 before Yasas steered one to the keeper for a very crucial and well made 56 off 138 balls faced in a partnership of 76.

The score had crept to 107 when Blairy missed a straight one and was bowled for 33 but what a valuable 33 that was.  The faith still remained with the rest of the boys to play their roles and with a strong batting line-up on paper it was now their time to shine and shine they did after losing Moffy early but with Asad and Rennex playing with determination and a sense of urgency and confidence they set about putting on another partnership of 53 to take the score to 165 before Rennex was out for a fighting 20.  Asad was next to go for a game changing 34 whilst chasing quick runs and was stiff to be not given the benefit of an extremely close run-out decision but his contribution with Rennex was in hindsight a match defining moment.  Stuart ‘’ the arrow ‘’Gara and current Woolnough Medalist came in and hit a run a ball 5 no with Travis ‘’ the voice ‘ McCarthy 2 no to take the final score to a competitive 172.

Whilst not the ideal outcome as we were planning for 220 plus, it was satisfying to some degree knowing that we had a target on which our bowlers could defend if they were up and about, and knowing full well that the Sharks previous highest score against us was 136. The fight and spirit during the course of the day by our players would also now be needed on Sunday.

An air of confidence after a good night’s rest was apparent in the warm-ups and in the rooms before the game,  The Arrow and the Voice opened up proceedings and bowled well but just couldn’t get the numerous edges and mishits to go to hand early, but we  broke through at 38 with Blairy removing the dangerous Fisher, ‘’ don’t you love to see the stumps flying’’ there’s no better sound in cricket,  and with their other opener struggling to lay bat on ball we were off and running.

The fielding was tight and the bowling as it has done all season was accurate and decisive which allowed our captain to set some aggressive fielding positions to keep the pressure well and truly on the Sharks batsman.

The Sharks captain was another key wicket as he is capable of slapping you around and hits the ball hard, but with Blairy now starting to bowl with some genuine heat, he provided the breakthrough and their skip was caught behind by Rennex who also looked sharp.

The score had crept to 3 for 71 and at this stage the Sharks were well in the hunt before another breakthrough by the ‘’ spin doctor ‘’Belly  also current Woolnough medallist removed the dangerous Mackay.  At 4 for 71 and then 5 for 75 the Sharks were being reminded of their past demons as the Hoops bowlers were settling in to Vaccum up the rest of their line-up on which they proceeded to do until some minor resistance by their last 3 bats held us up until the 50th over when appropriately, the Arrow blasted out the stumps to have them all out for 117.

A decisive stat for the bowling effort was that there were 6 Sharks batsman bowled, 1 LBW, 3 caught behind by Rennex which indicates the accuracy and pressure on which was applied.

A special mention must go to Rennex who wicket-kept the house down and continued to see the game out after breaking his hand diving for one down leg side, a truly great effort.

Blairy received the man of the match for his outstanding effort, his bowling on Sunday was as good as we’ve seen all season.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS;

Batting;

Yasas 56  Blairy 33  Asad 34  Renno 20 [ and 3 catches ]

Bowling;

Gara 20.1 overs 8 maidens 5 for 51   Blairy 16 overs 6 maidens 4 for 41   Travis 5 overs 0 for 17

Belly 9 overs 6 maidens 1 for 3

To the squad who were selected in the GF, congratulations, we must also pay due recognition to the following players who have contributed to this result throughout the year.

The first 11 played 17 players at various times , thanks for all your efforts.

Sauce, Shanil, Pinchy, Joshy P, Madu.

To our wonderful support guys, Robbo, Rusty and Les ‘’ I can’t see’’ . Whose that ?? who I have got no doubt are the best in the business, you have all been magnificent and we are truly blessed to have you. This premiership is for you as well.

As the season is now over from a playing point of view, it would be remiss not to mention some special contributions which helped pave the way for these guys to achieve this premiership.

To our Coach Yasas Tillakaratne, you have provided a professionalism to the club which is infectious and it’s been a great season on which you have had a big influence on some of our players, thanks YT.  To our first 11 Captain Nathan Plumridge, congratulations and thanks for your efforts and leadership in what has been a fantastic season and one that I hope you will remember for a long time.

To our hard working president Russell Purvis, thanks for providing the club with the support, leadership and confidence in the players to achieve this result, during which at times threw up various challenges.  To the committee as a whole, your efforts are much appreciated and at times go unrewarded by some , however, I hope that this result helps in some way to restore the faith in what you do.

Thanks to the club for putting on a great after match function at the rooms on Sunday night, it was fantastic to see so many relieved and happy faces in the house, it was also a great feeling to be able to bring home a senior premiership in our first year in the new rooms.

GO HOOPS

Neil Vorbach, Chairman of Selectors