A FINAL-round loss was the extra spark needed to inspire Russells Creek to Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s under 15 premiership.
Creek recorded a six-wicket win against Nestles Maroon at Allansford on Sunday.
Russells Creek coach Andrew Thomson said his side responded emphatically after its final-round disappointment with strong performances in its semi-final against Merrivale and against the Factory in the decider.
“We’ve got a very talented team, with nine players taking part in country week competitions,” he said.
“Nestles was always going to be hard to beat. Their total of 180 runs was pretty formidable so to make those runs with a few overs up our sleeve makes the win even more memorable.
“Russells Creek has done a lot of work on junior development in the past few years, winning under 13, 15 and 17 premierships with different teams and the club is getting the benefit of those kids now filtering through to the top grades.
“What was most pleasing is that everyone contributed on Sunday. It was a standout team effort and the boys have all really improved over the season.”
Nestles Maroon set 8-180 with Bailey Timms (60) top-scoring.
But Thomson was thrilled with Creek’s bowling efforts.
Blake Evans took 3-18 and Charlie Locke 2-28.
“We did pretty well to restrict Nestles to 180 on a belter of a pitch at Allansford,” he said.
“We didn’t have a lot of luck in the field. Opening bowler Liam Brown caused some fear among the Nestles’ top order but Blake Evans was the pick of our bowlers and Jake Buxton did well at the end of the innings.
“Connor McLeod was exceptional behind the stumps, particularly up to the spinners.”
Charlie Locke (48) was instrumental in the run chase, as was Liam Brown who finished unbeaten on 42.
Jake Buxton (20 not out) also chipped in with important runs.
“Our top-order batsmen have done a lot of work in the lead-up to the finals concentrating on their technique for playing on turf,” Thomson said.
“Openers Connor and Charlie Locke put on 90 runs in 22 overs.
“Blake then combined well with Liam to see off the top Nestles’ bowlers off before Liam and Jake ran down the target with four overs to spare.”
Brierly Christ-Church celebrated back-to-back under 13 premierships.
Co-coach Stephen Brooks said the bulk of the side played in the 2012-13 win and had come through the club’s junior program together.
The Bulls recorded a six-wicket win against East Warrnambool YCW.
Luke Wilson (13) was the only Broncos batsman to reach double figures as they posted 77.
Jacob Brooks was the pick of the Bulls’ bowlers, claiming 3-4 off six overs, and Campbell Love snared 2-12.
That pair continued their hot form in the successful run chase.
They top-scored for Brierly Christ-Church — Jacob opened and made 29 and Campbell contributed 15.
“East has a very good bowling attack and we had to hang around and make runs,” Brooks said.