Old Boys have won their third-straight premiership and their seventh title in eight years, after a man-of-the-match innings by opener Simon Norvill was the knockout blow in an absorbing, low-scoring contest.
A brute of a batsman known for his sheer destructiveness, Norvill put on a masterclass in restraint - for him - to finish 80 not out in the second innings - as he and Aaron Hazlewood (14 not out) steered Old Boys to an outright win at a sun-bathed No 1 Oval on Sunday.
Norvill still struck seven boundaries and two sixes in his 131-ball, match-winning innings.
While it was Old Boys' third-straight premiership, it was the first of the three that was claimed in the heat of battle. The past two finales were abandoned because of wet weather and COVID-19.
North Tamworth resumed on 3-46 in their second innings on Sunday morning, after making 74 in the first innings - good enough for a four-run lead.
Young off-spinner Hayden Baker took 6-37, as Norths were dismissed for 113 - leaving Old Boys 118 runs for victory.
Redbacks opener Lincoln Peter made 37, the second-highest score of the match.
Norths - who were attempting to claim their first premiership since 2012-13 - must have fancied their chances when Redbacks skipper Adam Greentree removed Old Boys captain Ben Middlebrook for two. It was the veteran quick's 10th wicket for the match - and Old Boys slumped to 5-67. (Greentree took 7-30 in the first innings and 3-32 in the second dig.)
Norvill and Hazlewood - another highly aggressive batsman who practiced admirable restraint on Sunday - steadied the ship, as Old Boys added to their sterling legacy, in what is one of New England's greatest-ever sports dynasties. They finished on 5-118, with Hazlewood scoring the winnings runs and delivering several fist pumps as he came back for the second run.
Norvill, Hazlewood and Middlebrook have been there for the whole ride - the only failure a loss to South Tamworth in the 2017-18 grand final.
This title added another dimension to Old Boys' golden reign: it was their first triumph where they came from outside the top two (they finished the regular season in third place.)
Middlebrook said: "The outfield was really slow, and you can tell by the scorecards over the weekend that it was very hard to score runs. His [Norvill] knock was sensational; he's performed when we needed it most.
"And the partnership between him and Hazlewood at the end just drove them [Norths] into the ground and got us the win."
An inspired spell of fast bowling by Greentree left the grand final evenly poised after wickets tumbled on day one on Saturday.
The 36-year-old finished with his best figures of the season - 7-30 off 15 overs - as the reigning two-time premiers were dismissed for 70 in 31 overs. Norvill top-scored with 13.
Earlier, Norths were removed for 74 after being sent in by Old Boys.
Old Boys' veteran quick, Troy Sands, took 4-23 off 19 overs to continue his excellent form this season.
Only five batsmen reached double figures, with Norths No 5 Brendan Rixon the top-scorer after compiling a 106-ball 32.
North Tamworth got off to a dreadful start when Old Boys paceman Hazlewood removed Peters for two and No 3 Chris Dobson for six.
Sands chimed in by dismissing opener Toby Smith for one, leaving Norths at 3-19 - soon to be 4-21 when the competition's leading run-scorer, Michael Rixon, fell to Dylan Smith for 13.
Hazlewood finished with 2-20 off 24 overs, while Smith took 2-22 off 11.3 overs.
Norths used only two bowlers, with Cameron Reeves a good foil for Greentree after taking 3-34 off 16 overs.
Reeves and Greentree backed up on Sunday by bowling 18 and 19 overs respectively, out of a 42.4-over total - meaning they bowled 68 of Norths' 73.4 overs for the match and took all of the minor premiers' wickets (Reeves claimed 1-45 on day two).
Greentree - who debuted in first grade at Norths at age 17 - vowed in 2017 to keep playing until the Redbacks won another premiership.
Post-match on Sunday, he said: "It was a good game of cricket - a good battle. Obviously, Old Boys were just too strong in the end."
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