For Simon Norvill, it was a birthday present he won't forget in a hurry.
The veteran Old Boys opener celebrated his 34th birthday on Sunday with a match-winning 80 not out in the grand final against North Tamworth at No 1 Oval.
He steered Old Boys to an outright victory over the minor premiers, as the dominant side of recent times finished on 5-118 in their second innings to win their third-straight premiership and their seventh title in eight years.
"It's right up there," he said of his man-of-the-match performance in comparison to his many other career highlights.
"Obviously, to do it in grand finals is when you want to do it; that's what we play for all year."
A renowned attacking batsman, Norvill showed considerable restraint on Sunday - although he still struck seven boundaries and two sixes in 131 balls at the crease.
Redbacks opener Lincoln Peters' second-innings 37 was the game's second-highest score.
Norvill said he had wanted to bat with "freedom" on Sunday.
"Free of mind was the biggest thing I was trying to tell myself. If I've got a clear head, it will all come to me."
He added: "We just had so much time [on Sunday]. We rushed it a bit in the first innings - played some silly shots; we probably tried to play too fast."
Having put Norths into bat on Saturday, Old Boys responded to the Redbacks' 74 by making 70. Norvill top-scored for Old Boys with 13.
Resuming on 3-46 in their second innings on Sunday, Norths were dismissed for 113.
Norvill said "it feels really good to stand up and get a not out chasing in the grand final".
"And, yeah. Can't wait to have a few beers and celebrate with the boys."
It was Old Boys' eighth-straight grand final. Norvill, his skipper Ben Middlebrook and Aaron Hazlewood are the only players to feature in all eight finales.
Hazlewood hit the winning runs on Sunday, to finish on 14 not out.
It was the first time during Old Boys' dynastic reign that they won the title after finishing the regular season outside the top two.
Norvill said he would keep playing "if the body allows it".
"I love it," he said.
Middlebrook said Norvill was "sensational", adding: "He's performed when we needed it most."
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