PACEMAN Ben Boyd produced a nerves-of-steel final over to lift Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) Gold to a memorable Western Waves Festival of Cricket triumph.
WDCA claimed the Western Waves Shield after holding on for a four-run win over Hamilton and District Cricket Association (HDCA) at Clem Young Oval in Hamilton yesterday.
HDCA needed 11 runs off the final six balls to cause what would have been one of the biggest upsets in tournament history.
But Boyd bowled an over of typically tight pace against batsmen Damien Logan and Ian Watt to secure the win.
HDCA finished on 9-92, short of WDCA Gold’s 8-96 in a low-scoring match played in windy conditions.
Logan, needing a four off the final ball to send the match to a super over, was run out by wicketkeeper Daminda Ranaweera.
WDCA Gold captain Nathan Murphy said he was rapt with the triumph.
“Any representative cricket that you play you want to win,” he said.
“For the Warrnambool boys, we spoke about that. We were here to win and we achieved that.”
But Murphy admitted he was nervous after WDCA Gold posted a below-par score batting first and HDCA started its run chase well.
The host raced to 1-44 after 10 overs and was within sight of victory with opener Brendan Huf, who top scored with 34, looking ominous.
But it collapsed to lose 6-13, including a match-defining burst of 5-6, as the contest swung 180 degrees.
Spinner Matt Brophy started the rout by running out Michael Brilley and bowling Huf with a superb ball which choked him for room.
Jason Mungean had Alistair Ross caught by Mark Murphy, before Nathan Murphy ran out Charlie Nield with a direct hit.
Mungean grabbed another and Jake McKinnon then got in on the act. The game was on WDCA Gold’s terms from then on.
“That’s the beauty of cricket. There are plenty of ups and downs and unexpected things like that can happen,” Nathan Murphy said.
“There are lots of young guys there, so to be challenged like that (and win), it’s a really good sign for Country Week and future representative games.
“To be blatantly honest, when they started well I thought we might’ve missed our chance.
“But we always knew if we could get through their top three, they did drop away a little bit.
“When Broph got the important wicket of Brendan Huf we thought we’re back in this. Then we took a couple of run-outs and gained momentum.”
Earlier, McKinnon scored a gutsy 26 not out to hold the WDCA innings together after it slumped to 6-47.
Daminda Ranaweera (12) and Nathan Murphy (11) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
Logan (2-11) and Hugh Douglas (2-21) were the main destroyers with the ball.
But the innings highlight came courtesy of Hamish Bailey, who took a remarkable one-handed catch to remove Mungean.
Mungean, facing up to Douglas, could not have hit his cut shot any better.
But Bailey instinctively dived to his left and was close to horizontal when the ball hit his hand.
Huf, the HDCA captain, said he was proud of his teammates for their efforts over the two days.
He said two narrow defeats to WDCA, in the round-robin stage and the final, proved how narrow the gap between the associations was.
“We played them in game two. We made 108 and they just chased that down,” he said.
“We thought it would be close either way.
“We bowled really well and then they bowled slightly better.
“We’ll regroup and have another crack next year.”