IT was a $500 flip of the coin that landed with tails facing up — an outcome that sent Panmure into the inter-association Sungold Cup.
Grassmere Cricket Association officials yesterday crowned the Bulldogs as their Twenty20 champions in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Faced with regular rain which made play in the grand final at Purnim impossible, umpire Peter Geehman had no choice but to flip a coin to determine a winner.
The choices were predetermined. Yambuk, courtesy of its better record in the preliminary matches, was banking on heads showing up.
Panmure, which was fortunate to make the semi-finals in the first place, was tails — and will now pocket at least $500 for its good fortune.
The Sungold Cup features representatives from eight associations playing in a knockout Twenty20 tournament over the Australia Day weekend.
The winning club pockets $15,000. The runner-up takes home $5000 and the semi-finalists $1000.
The quarter-finalists — clubs that lose their first match — still walk away with $500 as reward for qualifying in the first place.
Yambuk captain Dan Oakley said the Buks “weren’t too disappointed” at an outcome he described as “a very strange circumstance”.
“I suppose it was 50-50 but it was very strange. I would’ve thought we would’ve won. We came out on top after the group stage, the same as the one-day final and the two-day final. We finished second just by net run rate. We didn’t lose a game all the way through,” he said.
“We would’ve been happy if we’d got through, but it’s not what we set our sights on winning. We’re just a bit dumbfounded how that rule came about.
“No begrudging Panmure, they’re a good side. Good luck to them, whatever they do in the Sungold Cup.
“If we had have got in, we would’ve made the most of our opportunities. We’re not frustrated or disappointed in anyone in particular.”
The GCA executive adopted the Western Waves Festival of Cricket rules for its inaugural Twenty20 tournament.
The rules state if rain intervenes, sides can play a reduced-overs match, down to five overs.
If that is impossible, a super over is the next option. After that, a coin toss determines the winner.
GCA president James Sinnott said the executive would be open to making changes if it had the support of clubs.
“The GCA executive and the board are always proactive. This being the inaugural year, we’re certainly open to suggestions for next year,” he said.
“We’re happy to tinker with the rules in consultation with the clubs to get the best and fairest winner.”
The coin toss drama overshadowed some remarkable performances and results during the tournament.
Yambuk, Killarney and Hawkesdale topped the three groups after playing two round-robin matches each on Saturday.
Panmure, which lost to Hawkesdale, became the fourth semi-finalist courtesy of having the best record of the runners-up.
Yambuk defeated Hawkesdale by five wickets in one semi-final yesterday, chasing down the Cats’ 98 with 24 balls to spare.
Panmure thrashed Killarney by 47 runs in the other semi-final thanks to a wonderful century from opener Tom Wright.
Wright made 123 in the Bulldogs’ 8-198 batting first. The Crabs reached 9-141 in reply but were rarely in the hunt.
Wright was one of two century-makers for the weekend. Killarney opener Matt Fleming made 106 in a pool match against Purnim.
The best bowling figures came from Purnim’s Symon Wilde, with 4-6 against Mailors Flat, and Wangoom’s Jason Graur, with 4-11 against Grassmere.