THE ability to hold its nerve under extreme pressure on the biggest stage has delivered glory for St Joseph’s Primary School’s boys’ cricket team.
St Joseph’s won the state final of the T20 Blast Schools Cup Kanga 8s at the MCG on Wednesday.
The victory was the first time the school has won the state title since 2006.
The team was runner-ups in 2008.
St Joseph’s made it to the finals at the MCG after winning district and regional competitions in Warrnambool and Hamilton.
In a thrilling final on Wednesday, St Joseph’s defeated Sacred Heart Primary School Croydon 145 to 144.
The rules of Super 8s cricket meant any mistake or missed opportunity proved costly.
Five runs is given to the opposition team when a wicket is lost, making not going out an important skill.
St Joseph’s bowled first and a strong performance in the field meant they were able to claim nine wickets in eight overs. This restricted Scared Heart to 124.
The nine wickets taken by St Joseph’s mean they started their batting innings on 45.
They were to add 100 more runs with the bat and only lost four wickets.
This gave just 20 runs to Sacred Heart for their bowling, giving St Joseph’s a winning margin of one run.
St Joseph’s coach Mark Gercovich said it was a suspense-filled day.
“The umpires were keeping the score and we didn’t have a running update,” Gercovich said.
“We just had to focus on batting as well as we could.
“With the rules the way they are there can be big swings on just one ball.
“You might drop a catch and the ball goes for four, that’s a nine-run swing.
“For most of our batting innings we thought we would be in a winning position but it felt like it was getting tighter and tighter as the innings went on.
“We went into the last over with the aim of not losing a wicket.
“We did lose one wicket so the 15 minutes we had to wait at the end of the game to hear what the result was turned out to be a long one.”
The one-run win capped an unbeaten performance on the MCG for St Joseph’s.
Eight teams took part in the boys section, four each from both country and metropolitan areas.
The teams were divided into two pools with St Joseph’s up against Brighton, Oak Park and Strathfieldsaye.
Joining Sacred Heart in the other pool was Lucknow, St. Arnaud and Ouyen.
The pools were played in a round-robin format with both St Joseph’s and Sacred Heart winning all of their three games.
Sacred Heart went into the final as favourites with a run aggregate of 689 compared to 476 for St Joseph’s.
The day also had the finals in the girls primary school competition with Brighton Beach (117) defeating Kyneton (80). Timboon P12 College finished third in their pool with two wins.