A thrilling grand final encounter between Laura and Crystal Brook, who were clearly the two best teams throughout the minor round, resulted in a victory for Crystal Brook, who have now won back to back flags in the Rocky River Cricket Association. The grand final was actually scheduled to be held a week earlier but 42 degree temperatures forced the match to be postponed. However, it was worth the wait for fans and spectators, who were treated to a high quality game of cricket that was only decided in the second to last over.
Laura won the toss and decided to bat first on a clear, 35 degree day at Laura. However they were in trouble early as Crystal Brook’s opening bowler, Tom Kerin, picked up 2 wickets in his second over. Rick Willis had to depart for a duck while Scott Brand was only able to contribute one run. Laura 2/7.
The next wicket fell soon after when Jaran Turner was caught off the bowling of Jake Clements for 16 with the score at 3/21.
Crystal Brook appeared to be in a commanding position but Laura were able to get the game back on an even keel with a 71 run fourth wicket partnership from Michael Gaunt and Andrew Fleming. Crystal Brook’s Leo Coates picked up the crucial wicket of Gaunt, who had to depart for 41 with the score at 4/92. Ziek Kay joined Fleming at the crease and the pair put on 21 runs together to take the score to 113.
Laura lost their next 6 wickets for the addition of only 4 more runs. Adam Kupsch was the destroyer, picking up 5/12 from 8.5 overs, including 2 maidens. He trapped Andrew Fleming LBW for 25 then dismissed Ziek Kay, caught behind for 16. His next three wickets came in a single over as he rattled the stumps of Koby Millington, Darryl Boylan and Ben Wallis, all of whom departed without troubling the scorers.
Laura were all out for 117 and would need everything to go their way if they were to defend that score.
Koby Nettle gave Laura the start they needed, dismissing Adam Kupsch for 3 and Will Combe for 1. Crystal Brook were struggling at 2/8 but Luke Bartlett and skipper Allan McArdle were able to steady the innings with a 46 run partnership. McArdle was finally dismissed for 25, caught at mid-off by Dale Tenney off the bowling of Ziek Kay with the score at 3/54.
Tom Kerin was the next to go, departing for 11 thanks to a diving catch from Darryl Boylan at fine leg. Tenney then picked up his second wicket to remove Luke Bartlett for 28 with the score at 5/78.
Steve Merkel and Nathan Hooper came very close to winning the game off their own bats with a 32 run partnership but in the end, it was not up to them to hit the winning runs. Hooper was trapped LBW by Scott Brand for 14 with the score at 6/110. Leo Coates came and went without troubling the scorers and then Merkel was caught behind off Ziek Kay for 22 with the score at 8/112.
With 2 overs to go, it was anybody’s game. Crystal Brook needed 6 runs and Laura needed 2 wickets. Ultimately, it was Crystal Brook who handled the pressure better as Number 9 batsman, Peter Hombsch, was able to hit the winning runs and finish with 8 not out.
Crystal Brook passed Laura’s score with 8 balls to spare and wrapped up a memorable grand final victory.
Adam Kupsch was adjudged Best on Ground for his 5 wicket haul and took home the Graham Sparks Medal as well as his premiership medallion.