NOORAT has put aside one of its worst seasons in recent history to stun South West Cricket’s top echelon en route to Twenty20 glory.
The Warren Attrill-captained team upstaged Pomborneit and then Mortlake yesterday to win the SWC short-form title for a fourth consecutive season.
The five-run final win against Mortlake ensured the team would feature at the inter-association Sungold Cup in Warrnambool over the Australia Day long weekend.
Young batsman Dominic Kenna and bowler Isaac Wearmouth were the heroes after playing starring roles in the upset win.
Kenna hit 16 off seven balls at the death to lift Noorat to 9-157 batting first at Terang turf.
Wearmouth then took three wickets, including the prize scalp of Clinton Baker for 59 in the second last over, with the Cats still needing a gettable 23 for victory.
Attrill described the win as “a surprise”, saying “we’ve been terrible in the home-and-away matches”.
He had high praise for Kenna, who transformed a modest innings into a competitive score with two leg-side sixes off Shane Slater at the death.
“For us usually he doesn’t bowl, he’s around that middle order,” he said.
“Today he got pushed back because we were after quick runs. He’s only a back pocket. He’d be not even six-foot tall, fairly slender.”
The late-innings momentum continued when Noorat took the ball and restricted Mortlake to 2-26 from its first five overs.
The run chase was in the balance from then on as Baker and Todd Lamont, 37, hit out.
But it wasn’t enough as Noorat — which had previously won just once this season — celebrated victory.
“We bowled into the breeze for the start and took a risk and it paid off,” Attrill said.
Noorat defeated Pomborneit in the semi-final at Camperdown yesterday and accounted for Heytesbury Rebels in its sole match on Saturday.
Mortlake’s road to the final included wins against Bookaar on Saturday and Terang yesterday.
Attrill said any prizemoney earned in the $15,000-to-win Sungold Cup would be valuable for the small club.
He said the club was still yet to receive the $500 it won in the 2012 tournament, despite having resolved a player eligibility issue surrounding Stephen Staunton.
“Last we heard it had been paid to the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association but it hasn’t been passed on,” he said.
“We’ve been trying to call up and find out about it.”