Coolac have won their sixth premiership in a row, and their second Elders Cup, defeating Junee in a drama filled day at Stan Crowe Oval.
In a month without rain, 3mm fell on Gundagai and the surrounding areas in the early hours of Saturday morning, affecting a pitch that was in tip top condition.
Gundagai curator, John Smith, worked tirelessly throughout the morning to get the pitch into a playable state, as Elders Cup rules do not allow the playing of a final on a synthetic surface.
After pushing the start time back to 1pm, and then 1.30pm, umpires Wayne Carthew and Peter Bridle deemed everything to be in order, and after the toss, which Coolac won, Junee were sent into bat.
Coolac got off to a terrific start with the ball when Rob Barron claimed the valued wicket of Nathan Charlton for 0. Caught by Andy Graham, it was a real coup for Coolac side, on only the fourth ball of their first over.
Barron and Graham struck again in the third over when they combined to remove Darren O’Rafferty for 9.
Trent Charlton and Sam Hook dug in to put on a good partnership, before Barron claimed Charlton caught, this time by James Scott.
When Brad Diggins was caught by Andy Graham off the bowling of Dwayne Shawcross for 0, Junee were in serious trouble at 4 for 38.
Joe Crowder helped the Junee cause along with the consistent Sam Hook, but with Hook out caught, not long after drinks, Junee were looking at a small total at 6 for 58.
Shawcross combined with James Scott to clean up the tail and Junee were all out for 75 in 27.4 overs.
With Coolac coming out to bat, the Elders Cup final looked set for further drama when Trent Charlton dismissed Andrew Keatinge lbw for 4, in the first over of the innings.
When Charlton removed James Scott, caught by Stephen Turk, without scoring, the final was well and truly alive.
With Tim and Adam Graham at the crease, Coolac did their best to consolidate, but strike bowler Trent Charlton was not about to make things easy for Coolac. He struck the defending premiers another blow when Adam Graham was out, caught by Darren O’Rafferty, and at 3 for 12 in the seventh over, the final was up for grabs.
In a preview of the cup final with the Times, Tim Graham was quoted as saying in reference to their preliminary final: “…our batting will have to be more consistent over the 40 overs…”
As it turned out, Coolac would not need the 40 overs, and in a ‘captain’s knock’, the Coolac skipper combined with Luke Graham to turn the tide of the match.
Over the next 11 overs the two batsmen scored consistently to take the game away from Junee and win the Elders Cup by seven wickets.
- Charlton, c A. Graham, b R. Barron 0
- O’Rafferty, c A. Graham, b R. Barron 6
- Charlton, c J. Scott, b R. Barron 15
- Hook, c T. Graham, b D. Shawcross 22
- Diggins, c A. Graham, b D. Shawcross 0
- Dobson, c J. Scott, b D. Shawcross ..6
- Crowder, c A. Graham, b D. Shawcross 19
- Garlick, c Keatinge, b J. Scott .0
- Turk, c T. Graham, b J. Scott 4
- McNarmara, c J. Carberry, b J. Scott 0
- Gustowski, not out 0
Total 10 for 75
Bowling: R. Barron 7-2-13-3, T. Graham 4-0-23-0, D. Shawcross 9.4-2-20-4, M. Sharman 5-1-15-0, J. Scott 2-0-3-3.
- Keatinge, LBW, b T. Charlton 4
- Graham, c O’Rafferty, b T. Charlton 4
- Scott, c Turk, b T. Charlton 0
- Graham, not out 48
- Graham, not out 19
Total 3 for 76
Bowling: T. Charlton 5-0-15-3, J. Crowder 6-0-17-0, N. Charlton 4.4-0-25-0, W. McGrath 2-0-3-0, B. Dobson 1-0-3-0.