Coolac have won an amazing seventh straight Tumut District Cricket Association (TDCA) title beating the Junee Stallions by ninety-nine runs in the Elders Cup final at the Bull Paddock on Saturday.
Coolac’s win was full of good performances: none more so than the 106-run partnership between captain Tim Graham and Luke Graham, and the outstanding bowling spell of 5 for 17 from seven overs, put in by Mark Sharman.
Once Coolac had posted their total of 5 for 203, it was always going to be a big ask for Junee to chase those sorts of runs down, at 5.08 an over. The fact that the match was a final, made the task even more difficult.
The winning captain was very pleased with his side’s batting, and the fact they were able to take key chances, such as the wickets of Trent Charlton and Mick Butler. He was particularly pleased to see the two juniors, George Harpley and Tom Sharman, combine to take the last wicket.
“Our openers got us off to a solid start, and that seemed to put everyone in a positive frame of mind,” said Graham.
“It was pleasing to have partnerships throughout the batting innings, which allowed for an aggressive last ten overs. Bowling wise, we took our chances and Mark Sharman’s spell ensured the win; he bowled very well.”
Junee captain, Will McGrath, won the toss and sent the reigning premiers into bat. Openers, Andrew Scott and Andrew Keatinge, got Coolac off to a good start, putting on thirty-four for the opening stand, before Keatinge was out, caught by Tony Reece off the bowling of Trent Charlton.
Another thirty-four runs were added by the father-son combination of Andrew and James Scott, but a spring was put into the step of the Junee players when Nathan Charlton bowled James (9) before drinks, and then trapped Andrew (41) lbw straight after the break, with only one run being added to Coolac’s score.
The minor-premiers were now 3 for 69, but they were far from ringing the alarm bells, especially with Tim and Luke Graham at the crease.
One of Coolac’s strengths is their ability to turn over the strike with good ball-placement, resulting in comfortable singles. It ensures no batsmen gets pinned down for a protracted amount of time, and this skill was evident on Saturday with the two Grahams constantly rotating the strike.
This approach kept Coolac’s run-rate ticking along nicely and after the hiccup either side of the drinks break, they had put on fifty-two runs to be 3 for 121 in the thirtieth over. Tim and Luke Graham went from strength-to-strength, picking the Junee attack apart to be 175 before the Stallions claimed their fourth wicket when Joe Crowder bowled Tim Graham in the thirty-sixth over for a well-made sixty.
Luke Graham was dismissed in the same fashion in the thirty-eighth over, but Joe Scott was able to make a valuable contribution in the short time he had, scoring seventeen not out to propel Coolac to 5 for 203 at the end of 40 overs.
Faced with having to score at just over five runs an over, the Junee openers of Trent Charlton and Mick Butler started with an attacking frame of mind, scoring twenty-seven runs off the first three overs.
Rob Barron steadied the flow of runs with a maiden in the fifth over, and then drew first-blood in the seventh, taking the valuable wicket of Mick Butler, caught by Mark Sharman, to put Junee at 1 for 35.
While ever Trent Charlton was at the crease Junee were in with a chance, but when Darren O’Rafferty was out lbw to Tim Graham, and then Charlton fell to the bowling of Mark Sharman, Junee’s tilt at the title seemed a long way from fruition at 3 for 51.
Sharman took his second wicket when Issac Cooper was caught by Dwayne Shawcross without scoring. The veteran medium-pacer was starting to have a real impact on the final when he trapped Joe Crowder lbw in the sixteenth over, and it was only the staunchest of Stallion supporters at 5 for 61 that had hope of taking the Elders Cup from Coolac’s grasp.
Nathan Charlton and Tony Reece did their best to keep things moving and salvage their team’s innings, but aside from losing wickets the run-rate required was now past six an over.
James Scott, Shawcross, Harpley and Sharman all combined to clean up the Stallions’ tail, bowling them out for 104 in twenty-nine overs to secure their seventh straight TDCA title.
A. Scott, lbw N. Charlton 41
A. Keatinge, c T. Reece, b T. Charlton 14
James Scott, b N. Charlton 9
T. Graham, b J. Crowder 60
L. Graham, b J. Crowder 49
Joe Scott, not out 17
Adam Graham, not out 3
Total: 5 for 203
Bowling: T. Charlton 8-1-47-1, W. McGrath 8-0-42-3, N. Charlton 10-2-34-2, J. Crowder 9-2-37-2, I. Cooper 5-0-36-0.
T. Charlton, c T. Graham, b M. Sharman 28
M. Butler, c M. Sharman,b R. Barron 17
D. O’Rafferty, lbw T. Graham 1
I. Cooper, c D. Shawcross, b M. Sharman 0
J. Crowder, lbw M. Sharman 4
N. Charlton, c D. Shawcross, b M. Sharman 12
S. Turk, run out (James Scott) 4
T. Reece, c T. Sharman, b G. Harpley 14
M. Garlick, b D. Shawcross 0
B. Cowled, b M. Sharman 2
D. Gustowski, not out 15
Total: All out for 104
Bowling: R. Barron 5-1-29-1, T. Graham 6-2-15-1, M. Sharman 7-1-17-5, D. Shawcross 8-1-23-1, G. Harpley 3-1-13-1.