The Tamworth Magpies claimed their third consecutive Doug Walters Cup earlier today, but it was the first time the man himself was there to present the trophy.
Walters, a former Test cricketer for Australia who played from 1965 to 1981, made the drive from his Sydney residence early this morning to appear at the grand final between the Magpies and the combined Newcastle Hunter team.
He watched as Tamworth elected to bat first on a tricky Riverside 2 wicket, and proceeded to compile a total of 5-198 from their 40 overs.
"The shower we had last night spiced the wicket up a little bit, so to win the toss and bat was a bit of a gamble," Magpies captain Steve Wilson said.
"We thought the wicket was going to play around a little bit, but our openers got us off to a good, solid start and we kept our wickets intact throughout."
Tamworth was aided in its pursuit of a big first-innings total by some sloppy fielding from the visitors, who put down roughly six catches.
In the second innings, the Magpies were not nearly as merciful, and took almost every opportunity that came their way.
Tamworth required less than 27 overs to bowl Newcastle Hunter out for 77, thanks in large part to spells of 3-14 from Andrew O'Halloran and 3-6 from Phil Constable.
"Our quick bowlers always bowl line and length, but our spinners often make the difference," Wilson said.
"Jason Bowler bowled well, and Dean Petty came on and took the last couple of wickets, but [Andrew] and Phil make the difference."
Walters presented the trophy after what he said was a "great" day of cricket. He promised to return for the final in future years, and lamented the fact that he couldn't hang around for the celebrations.
"Had I been here to present [the cup] for the last three years, apparently I'd have been giving it to the same mob anyway," Walters said.
"It's a pity I can't stay and help you [celebrate]."
The legendary batter said he was "choked up" to have the chance to present his namesake trophy.
It was a sweet moment for Wilson as well, not just to receive the cup from Walters, but share it with a "great group of blokes".
"To win three in a row ... we've just got a good bunch of blokes. They turn up every week and put in, it makes a difference," he said.
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