Kyabram’s Nathan Pell saved the innings of his life for the Clyde Young Shield grand final, an outstanding, unbeaten 126 helping his side make a tricky chase of 218 absolutely easy.
Against Numurkah, the Redbacks breezed to the B-grade premiership one wicket down thanks to an unbeaten 182-run second-wicket partnership from Pell and Paul Parsons, the latter finishing on 74 not out as his side won inside 61 overs.
Redbacks skipper Jason Leocata said the one-sided result had caught him off guard — but he was certainly not complaining about that.
‘‘Unreal, I didn’t think we’d win by the margin that we did, but it’s an absolutely fantastic achievement the guys have had,’’ he said.
‘‘It sort of built up over a few weeks, and our finals campaign has been really good. (Sunday) has just been a really good day.’’
After winning the toss and batting, Numurkah started brilliantly with Tyson Woods (53) and Matthew Price (61) raising their bats, steering the side to a comfy position of 1-117.
But disaster struck as the Blues lost 3-1 — including two to star bowler Kanwal Singh — before Price went as well, slumping to 5-130.
Andrew Cline (46) and captain Sean Dawson (25) provided some stability and dragged the Blues to a competitive total of 218, Singh finishing with dazzling figures of 5-75 off 38.4 overs.
But returning to John Gray Oval for day two, Leocata and most of his teammates had the simple task of pulling up a pew and watching in awe as Parsons and Pell smashed their way to the win.
‘‘Definitely on John Gray I felt that 220 was gettable, but we still would have had to bat really well to get them, runs on the board in a final are massive,’’ Leocata said.
‘‘Credit to Pelly and Parso, to put together that partnership was unreal.
‘‘I saw (Pell) melt a cut shot pretty early in his innings and I thought ‘he’s on’.
‘‘He’s put together a brilliant knock, I think the boys just counted up about 18 boundaries and it was a very, very good knock. He’s a worthy premiership player and BOG medallist as well.’’
But the straightforward chase, Leocata said, would not have been possible without a big momentum lift in the field, led by Singh and his five-wicket haul.
‘‘(Singh) took a five-for, he bowled near on 40 overs which was a monumental effort,’’ he said.
‘‘To peg them back too, they were looking at probably 300 early in the innings and we pegged them right back. At the end of the day to see they only had 220 on the board was a really good effort.’’
It completed a strong season for the Redbacks in which they finished third on the ladder, winning their last six games of the season to lift the shield.
‘‘My motto was just to enjoy your cricket, enjoy everything as much as we could,’’ Leocata said.
‘‘If we put our best foot forward and enjoyed the games as much as we could, then we’ll win more games than we lose, and that’s obviously come to fruition for us.’’