NOT even a stray cow could distract the McCarthy Catholic College cricket team from their goal of taking out this year's Ron George Shield.
The team, made up of players from years 9 to 12, defeated Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in the grand final to take home their second shield in three years.
Played as a twenty-20 competition, the side was up against some of the region's best cricketers as they battled it out throughout the season against Farrer and two Calrossy teams.
In the final at Nemingha Oval, McCarthy set a competitive total of 6-158 off their 20 overs, thanks in part to an unbeaten 57 from Killian Apen.
The Year 9 student helped rebuild the side's innings after they slumped to be 3-50.
In reply, Farrer brought the game down to the wire, requiring 12 runs off the final over.
However, it was not to be, as McCarthy claimed the final wicket to dismiss Farrer for 146.
McCarthy coach Damian Kenniff told the Leader this year's shield final "had everything".
"The shield has been going 40 years and has always produced some good cricket," Kenniff said.
"This final was no different and - despite an appearance from a cow who interrupted the game looking for some green pick - the day went off without a hitch."
Farrer played host to majority of the games this season due to the unavailability of turf pitches at other grounds around the region.
"It was a little bit difficult to source playing grounds, so a big thanks must go out to Farrer and Gus at Nemingha for helping us play the semi-final and grand final there," Kenniff said.
"With only a few schools taking part, it was a bit difficult to get on the pitch, but those guys made it happen."
Kenniff said there were plans to help bring the Ron George Shield back to its former glory.
"The competition is named after George, who did so much for junior and high school cricket in the Tamworth area," he said.
"He owned a sports store, was heavily involved with local cricket and this shield is one of the best ways we can honour him.
"Last year, the competition was quickly organised into a shortened gala day, which was good. However, we want to give our kids the chance to play a full T20 match and with us really pushing to make it bigger next year hopefully we can."
Kenniff said the competition "offers young cricketers a lot of memories".
"We are hoping to invite Gunnedah and Quirindi next year as well," he said.
"The beauty of this competition is it is for the students to have a bit of fun and form some great memories."