SUNGOLD Cup organisers paid tribute to Robert Haberfield before crowning Dunkeld-based club Grampians as their 2014 champion.
Grampians defeated Irrewarra by 31 runs at Uebergang Oval yesterday to claim the sixth edition of the inter-association Twenty20 tournament.
Grampians avenged their defeat to Woodford in the same match last year and earned the club $15,000, which will go towards new facilities.
Irrewarra pocketed $5000 for its runner-up finish while semi-finalists Noorat and Woodford won $2000 each.
The four quarter-finalists — Tatyoon, Portland Tigers, Panmure and West Gambier — took home $500 each.
But the most telling moment of the day came after the action had finished, in a tribute to Haberfield who died in a truck crash this month, aged 53.
Haberfield was a former Warrnambool and District Cricket Association chairman and one of the men behind the Sungold Cup.
The tournament has grown from modest beginnings to include representatives of eight associations vying for a share of a $26,000.
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter national retail manager Bill Slater said he and colleague Ross McKean first proposed the tournament to Haberfield.
“We weren’t expecting what would come back from Robert, whether he would be keen or would wipe it aside,” he said.
“As soon as we mentioned a Twenty20 competition, he grabbed it with both arms and said ‘how far down the track are you?’ I said ‘it’s just an idea’.
“It would not have got close to where it is today if Robert hadn’t put his heart and soul into it, like he did with everything else.
“He dedicated his life to his family and the community. It was a sad passing of a great gentleman. I do feel for his family because he was a great man.”
Haberfield’s wife Heather and father John presented Grampians captain Kane Uebergang with the cup post-match. The Pumas won the toss, batted and raced to 2-84 from their first 10 overs before finishing with 8-141.
Uebergang and Heinrich Joyce laid the platform for the score with a 66-run stand for the second wicket. Both made 39.
Only Irrewarra gun Leighton Hart put up any resistance in the run chase as the Redbacks were all out for 110 in 19.4 overs.
Hart made 56 and looked ready to turn the match before being superbly run out by Ty Gilmore at deep point to leave the score 6-88.
The last five wickets fell for 23 runs. Man of the match Uebergang was the pick of the bowlers with 3-21 from his four overs.
Uebergang said the Pumas’ “dedication to our bowling and fielding” stood out in its wins against Tatyoon, Noorat and Irrewarra.
“It’s fantastic. We’ve built new clubrooms and built a new deck and one thing we’ve been saving for and working hard for is new toilets and facilities,” he said.
“Losing last year did come into it, every loss you learn from. We’ve got a great bunch of guys and to win today is a great moment,” he said.
Irrewarra skipper Dave Jackson said he was happy the Redbacks won $5000, vowing to put the money into their junior program and facilities.
He said their bowling had been a strength during the tournament, highlighted by chasing sub-100 scores against Panmure and Woodford.
“They (Grampians) got away early. We restricted them in the end a little bit but 140 is always a tough total to chase,” he said.