Under 13 grand final distils sporting spirit

The spirit of cricket is alive at the grassroots level and winning isn’t everything, writes ANDREW THOMSON.

AFTER the first over of Nirranda’s innings in Sunday’s Warrnambool and District Cricket Association under 13 grand final, Brierly-Christ Church was almost guaranteed a premiership.

Left-arm quick Connor Umbers extracted big snicks from gun Nirranda batsmen Brody Couch (one run) and Xavier Mungean (two) which were both swallowed up by wicketkeeper Harry Rooke.

Brody is the most outstanding under 13 player in the Warrnambool-based competition, possibly in the west of the state.

He’s made 306 runs in under 13s for the season and before Sunday had only been dismissed once. He simply destroys attacks. 

Xavier is not far behind him, having made more than 200 runs for the season.

So at two wickets down for very few, Nirranda was always going to struggle chasing Brierly’s score.

Brierly posted 7-123 after its 48-over innings. It always looked too much for Nirranda to run down,  which resumed at 6-70 after 24 overs.

But, as often, there was a twist. 

JJ Mungean came in at number 11 for the Knights. She’s a plucky player. That’s the way girls are with rough and tumble older brothers. 

JJ clipped a couple of shots around off the back of the bat, lobbed a shot over the wicketkeeper’s head and things were entertaining. 

But the bottom line was that Nirranda was always going to finish the best part of 20 runs short. 

With about six overs remaining JJ top-edged a ball into the grill of her helmet. It shook her up badly, although she wasn’t badly physically hurt. 

Nirranda couch Corey Couch was called on to the ground by the umpires.

Now at this stage of proceedings it was Couch’s call. JJ could easily have gone off retired hurt and been replaced by his lowest scoring batsman — who just happened to be his star son Brody.

I know most coaches would have been more than happy for the No. 11 to go off and the gun run machine to come back out. 

In this case Brody could easily have won the game for Nirranda in the remaining half-dozen overs.

To his credit, Couch left the decision up to JJ and she batted on. Nirranda finished just 12 runs short. 

It was an outstanding example of sportsmanship in a match played in great spirit

Brierly deserved its victory. 

Nirranda may not have won but the spirit of cricket displayed by the Knights’ coach will be what many remember.

Andrew Thomson is a staff journalist, Warrnambool and District Cricket Association junior representative team coach and he umpired the under 13 grand final on Sunday.

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