A SOARING six into the Kable Avenue plane trees from Simon Norvill’s big bat ended the Tamworth first grade grand final in stunning fashion at around 6.07pm yesterday – a mighty blow to end an absorbing, fluctuating game with a three wicket win for Norvill and his Old Boy team-mates on No. 1 Oval against a gallant South Tamworth.
The game had started on time Saturday with Old Boys winning the toss, sending Souths in and dismissing them for 102.
However, the minor premiers were then ripped out for just 59 before South batted again and with the first innings lead and upper hand, made 118.
That set Old Boys 162 to win in around what became 34 overs if they were to lift the Wombramurra Cup at this Friday night’s TDCA presentation night.
And with just eight balls to spare that’s exactly what Norvill did when he caressed an Andrew Maher delivery high into the plane trees for a huge six and a 7-164 finish.
Norvill, named man of the match, finished unbeaten on 89 from 103 balls, slamming four fours and three sixes in his unbeaten innings.
With captain Ben Middlebrook (45 off 29) he put on 70 for the fourth wicket before young South paceman Angus McNeill (4-51) turned the game on its ear, again.
McNeill claimed three wickets in four balls, including Middlebrook’s scalp to leave Old Boys teetering at 6-118.
However Norvill had great support from Dave Heyman (5) and then Stewart Morgan (4no) to find the extra 46.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Norvill told The Leader last night . “I couldn’t ask for any better.”
South Tamworth had their chances at various stages and were ruing a costly chance when dropping Norvill in his 20s.
“It was a great game of cricket,” South Tamworth skipper Nick Leyden said.
“It took a special knock from Simon to win it, but if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be him. He’s been the best bat in the competition this season. That dropped catch was crucial but all our bowlers toiled so hard. They were unbelievable. Jake Everett, Andrew Maher, Col (Smyth), all the quicks. Angus was great again today.”
McNeill was man of the match in last season’s grand final and looked like he might run through the Old Boys batting when he took three wickets in four balls but Norvill rested the ascendancy back.
“They had us under the pump,” Old Boys skipper Ben Middlebrook admitted.
“We batted poorly this morning and were 40 behind, we knew we had the bowlers to bowl them out a second time but whether or not we had enough time to score the runs was the question.
“It became a one day match, 160 off 34 or 35 overs and Simon was outstanding. It became a great match in the end. Souths have had a good season too and both teams played well to make it a great finish.”
Will Howard had led the way for Old Boys, claiming 35 off 15.2 overs on Saturday. Aaron Hazlewood (2-21), Josh Smith (2-12) and Will Chesterfield (1-30) also had success.
Howard then grabbed 3-44 in the second innings to finish with eight for the match while Aaron Hazlewood took 4-24 and Josh Smith 3-12.
Josh Smith (24) and skipper Nick Leyden (23) top scored for Souths.