RUGBY League foiled Colts’ Walcha News Cup aspirations again on Saturday with a 31-run victory in the grand final at Cook Oval.
In another low-scoring encounter League defended a smallish total to claim its first premiership since 2007/08 and its ninth title overall and hand Colts its second upset loss in a season decider in as many years.
Batting first League got off to a good start when Mick Boyd and Rob Laurie saw off the first 13 overs.
They took the score to 41 before the partnership was broken, but it proved to be a crucial knock.
Boyd top-scored with 26, which included three of the four boundaries hit in the innings, and Laurie made 10 before Luke Brennan (14), Peter Boyd (12) and captain Peter Mooney (10) made their contributions.
The last wicket fell with only one ball wasted and the total was 111.
“It all went to plan,” Mooney said.
“We batted our overs out and put runs on the board. You’ve got them and they’ve got to get them.
“If you have runs on the board in a grand final, even a low score is not going to be easy to get.”
Phil Frewen was the most successful of the Colts bowlers with 4-30, Paul Pittman claimed 2-23, Phil Mawhinney bagged 2-21 and Stu Halliday (1-4) and Sam Martin (1-29) picked up a wicket each.
The chase started badly for Colts as captain Eddie Blomfield went in the second ball of the dig, a victim of Luke Brennan’s bowling.
Two more wickets fell and Colts was in strife at 3-15.
Josh Wellings was still at the crease though and he and Halliday took the score to 36 at drinks, but only added one more run after the break before the partnership was broken.
That triggered the collapse and Colts soon lost 5-3 to be 8-40 in the 23rd over.
The game looked gone but Halliday was still there and he and Sam Martin did their best to keep Colts in the contest.
Halliday belted the only six of the match but when he tried to do it again he was caught for 31. Martin made 23 but when he departed Colts were all out for 80 and the title was League’s.
“We got Eddie second ball for a duck and Paul Pittman has been scoring runs for them this year and he didn’t get many,”
“Stu Halliday was probably the other key wicket.
“He got a few, top-scored for them, but he started running out of partners and had to hit out.”
Mooney was judged man of the match after he took 4-29, Brennan finished with 2-15, last year’s grand final man of the match Chris Watts picked up 2-17 and Peter Boyd recorded the same figures.
Watts and Andrew Brennan can boast two premierships in a row having played for Bowling Club in last year’s win over Colts while it was a first for youngster Ben Cross.
It was also the first time in 17 years that a side has gone from wooden spooners to premiers in the space of 12 months.
“On paper we had no right to be in the grand final,” Mooney said.
“But we came together after Christmas and picked up a bit.”
Bowling Club was the last team to go from the bottom to the top in 1995/96 and three others have achieved the same feat in the past 50 years.