THE game was all but gone from Russells Creek’s clutches with 15 overs remaining. Enter Vinny Smith and Adam Doak.
The bowling pair produced a match-winning back-end of the innings to dismiss West Warrnambool’s final four batters as the Panthers built a head of steam towards Creek’s total of 147.
By the time the Panthers’ number 10 batsman was removed via leg before wicket, West Warrnambool had posted just 130 runs in response to Creek’s batting total.
The feat meant the Jetty Flat club was able to secure its first two-day division two premiership.
Creek division two captain, Eddie Wallace, said his team showed brilliant resistance to claim the victory.
“We dropped Mick Edmonds just after tea, and I said to the guys that we just had to keep creating opportunities,” Wallace said.
“We just had to keep bowling to the right areas. But in saying we dropped Mick, we probably only missed one or two chances throughout the day.
“Once we had Mick out, we knew that West had some kids to come in. Credit to those kids, because they are going to be good batsmen as they hold a nice straight bat.”
Creek edged in front late on Saturday, removing veteran Dean Hurford (1) and captain Mark McLean (0) before stumps.
West Warrnambool was 3-26 after Steve Poyner was dismissed early on Sunday but fought back through Edmonds and Anthony Hawken to sit at 5-127.
From there, Smith and Doak took over.
Wallace, a 12-year veteran at Russells Creek, described the victory as euphoric.
“We were robbed of a premiership six years ago after we fielded an ineligible player,” he said.
“We were at the tribunal on the eve of the grand final was heartbreaking. We played in a final a couple of years ago, and even though we were only chasing 96, we couldn’t get over the line.
“This is my first *(premiership) in all my years.”
The stay-at-home dad said his side had been the beneficiary of improved depth at the club and was placed well for next season.
“To have three strike bowlers like Glenn Moore, Vinny Smith and Adam Doak, that have all had division one experience, it’s just been unreal,” he said.
“To have that kind of depth has probably been the difference.
“Our batting has great. We haven’t had too many players that have made more than 300 runs, we’ve probably had five or six that have made around that without anyone being a standout.
“It’s been the same with the bowlers. Nobody has taken 40 wickets, but we’ve instead got about five guys around 20 plus wickets for the year.
“Everybody has just chipped in with something.”