An emotional Garry Briggs has recalled how the spirit of his late father was with him as he delivered a sublime fast bowling performance in the Connolly Cup final.
After taking 6-19 and being named man of the match in the five-wicket win over Inverell at Wolseley Oval on Sunday, Briggs spoke about how the triumph was tinged with sadness.
His father Garry, whom he described as his "best friend", passed away on February 28 last year.
"It would have been nice to have him here on the day," Briggs said. "But life is the way life is, and I know he's looking down and he'd be proud of me for the day - for the effort."
Born and bred in Gunnedah, Briggs has entered a new phase of his life as a single parent of Malakai, 14, and Shaniqua, 12. On Wednesday he started a new job, at Mannion Drilling.
Being a single parent was "a big sea change" - "a lot of responsibility on my shoulders", he said.
"It's good, though ... I do it all for the kids: create a life for them - one that I never had."
He also said: "I've been here [Gunnedah] all my life, got my own little family here - I don't plan of moving anywhere any time soon."
Briggs spearheaded Gunnedah's undefeated Connolly Cup run - taking a competition-leading 19 wickets at 8.11, his best haul occurring in the final.
Post-match, he said he was "lookin' forward to this day" and was "really pumped" for the clash.
"It was just good that it all come together," he said.
Gunnedah made 5-110 in response to Inverell's 106. It was their first Connolly Cup triumph since 2017-18.
Briggs's other sporting loves are rugby league and AFL, which he did not play last season as the Bulldogs went undefeated for the season - beating the Swans in the grand final.
Instead, he ran water for the Bulldogs' women's side, in their premiership-winning debut season. "Love my cricket, love my footy - just like to get out and about with the boys," Briggs said.
On Saturday at Kitchener Park, Briggs's Albion meet Mornington. While Court House and Kookaburras clash at Wolseley Oval.
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