AFTER several lean seasons in terms of silverware, Cavaliers returned to their title-winning ways on Friday night by thrashing Orange City to secure the club’s 15th Royal Hotel Cup.
Friday’s win is Cavaliers first since the competition was reformatted to Twenty20 cricket last season.
“It was a surprising win more than anything I guess,” Cavaliers all-rounder Stuart Middleton said.
“In these last few games we played much better than we had previously, or last season, and to be frank we’re probably pretty lucky to make the grand final at all.
“We’ll take it though, any trophy is good for the club.”
After stand-in skipper Chris Martin won the toss and batted first, Middleton (57) clubbed the Warriors attack to all corners of Wade Park, passing 50 for the third consecutive time in the day-night competition.
Middleton and Josh Doherty (22) put together a 46 run opening stand before Doherty was caught behind. Luke Wilson (14) and Middleton took the score to 90 before the latter was dismissed, sparking an Orange City resurgence.
Andrew Rutledge (4-27) and Craig Rogan (2-25) led the fightback, with good support from tweaker Ben Findlay (1-21).
Brad Wright (20) and Matt Corben (18 not out) put the final touches on a defendable total of 8-141.
Orange City was behind the eight ball from the start of its innings, a team-sheet error leaving the Warriors with just 10 batsmen.
It didn’t matter though, as Brad Wright (3-10) and Mark Maybin (3-7) tore through the Warriors top, and middle order, leaving them languishing at 6-27.
Again Rogan fought hard, knocking up a top score of 18 in a dismal scorecard that registered just 64.
“These kinds of wins are good for the younger guys, who haven’t won anything at the club,” Middleton said.
“We didn’t celebrate too hard, at the end of the day everyone’s goal is the long form trophy.”
Orange City skipper Matt Findlay gave credit to Cavaliers.
“We got outclassed,” he said.
“We’d been so good in T20 for so long, I think our time was just up. Cavaliers played really well, and thoroughly deserved their win. We’re looking forward to playing them again, hopefully in another grand final.”
Sharpe work from Middleton
AFTER three blockbuster performances in a row, Cavaliers all-rounder Stuart Middleton has been awarded the Carl Sharpe Medal as the Royal Hotel Cup’s best and fairest.
Middleton (pictured) had a relatively quiet start to the Twenty20 competition, before finishing the day-night tournament in style.
The burly all-rounder blasted 93 not out against Blayney, helping his team chase down 137 in just 14 overs, before destroying CYMS in an incredible show of hitting, blasting 127 in the semi-final.
He rounded the tournament out with a well constructed 57 against Orange City in the final, to undoubtedly and deservedly take the prize with 348 runs at 69.6 and five wickets at 12.4.
“I just played my role,” he said.
“It was my job to go out and get quick runs, and it seems I hack pretty well.”
Middleton was a runaway winner, with only Blayney’s Jameel Qureshi and Orange City’s Andrew Rutledge any chance of challenging him.