AN unbeaten 115-run partnership between Liam Brown and Callum Humphrys yesterday guided Russells Creek to back-to-back Warrnambool and District Cricket Association under 17 premierships.
The pair found themselves on a rebuilding mission after Creek looked to be faltering at 3-48 in the 15th over, chasing Nestles’ challenging target of 9-162 from 45 overs.
But Liam, in a man-of-the match performance, made an unbeaten 80 while Callum, who finished on 50 not out, took the game away from Nestles, racing to the target in the 39th over.
Their unbroken 115-run stand came off 24 overs and was capped with a number of classy boundaries. Liam’s knock included nine fours while Humphrys got the celebrations started with a six and two fours in his innings.
Russells Creek coach Matt Ansell heaped praise on his side but was impressed with Liam and Callum’s match-winning stand.
“They batted brilliantly,” he said. Ansell admitted to some nervous moments.
“They got Riley Owen for a duck, Hamish Porter and Jack Primmer pretty quickly and I thought ‘oh no, we’re in strife here’,” he said.
But after Liam and Callum steadied the innings and then pushed the scoring along at almost five runs an over, the tension eased.
The win completed a dominant junior era for a majority of the side, having won four premierships in five seasons at various age groups.
The bulk of the squad started with a flag in the under 13s in 2009-10, missed out on any silverware in 2010-11 but then won the under 15s in 2011-12 and the under 17s last season. All but three players were part of the back-to-back triumphs.
Ansell said all but about four of yesterday’s winning side were now bound for senior cricket.
He said Creek won the toss and elected to send Nestles into bat believing his bowlers could have maximised any overnight moisture in the pitch.
“It couldn’t have worked out better,” he said.
“It was a great deck. I thought it was a bit tacky because we were starting so early (10am) and after half an hour it was perfect.
“After they got to 162 I was thinking I pulled the wrong straw but it continued to flatten out.”
Nestles was in early trouble at 2-19 off eight overs before James Willsher (48) and Dean Finlayson (35) put on 75 for the third wicket. Jett Hermann then played his shots on the way to 37 as the Factory were building towards a big score.
But they lost 4-15 in the closing overs as Creek wrestled back momentum.
Creek opening bowler Jack Ansell finished with 3-28 off nine overs while Brad Worden collected 2-30.