ORANGE are the Mitchell Cricket Council colts champions for season 2013/14 after a spirited and well-executed three-wicket win against Mudgee yesterday.
After being belted by Mudgee in the first semi-final a fortnight ago, Orange had a point to prove with a better side travelling for the grand final.
Winning the toss and sending Mudgee in to bat was a bold, yet crucial, move for the visitors. They had Mudgee 7-22 after 16 overs.
Orange’s Andrew Johnson (3-17 off eight), Sam Nichols (2-28 off eight) and Brayden Riles (3-10 off four) all chimed in for two wickets early.
Mudgee were down but not out as Stuart Fredericks (23), James Ford (41) and Sam Joyce (21 not out) carried the tail to a respectable 116.
Mudgee skipper Troy Kenny said there were plenty of headaches early.
“I probably can’t say what was going through my head,” he said. “Some silly shots, some silly [batting] decisions. I thought our tail brought it back to a respectable total and if wasn’t for them we would have been done two hours ago. I guess that’s cricket.”
When one side had their opponents on the ropes, each failed to deliver the knockout punch.
The home side were also on top early with the ball as Ford removed Orange skipper John Warrington on the first delivery of the innings. Mudgee had Orange 3-19 after seven overs.
However, Max Dodds (42) and Matt Corbin (30) put on a 67-run fourth-wicket partnership to restore order. At 3-86 it looked as though Orange were cruising.
A well-executed boundary throw from Kenny ran Corbin out and at 5/101 the visitors started to wobble from the 37th over.
Orange lost a further two wickets in quick succession to be 7-108 in the 41st over thanks to some tight bowling from Mudgee’s Andrew Best (2-11 off 6.5) and Luke Norris (1-18 off seven).
The visitors then passed the total in the 43rd over.
Orange co-coach, Steve Warrington, described it a “classic game of cricket”.
“We came out fired up and had them seven down for bugger all and then they came back at us and posted a respectable target,” he said.
“They [Mudgee] also got a couple of early wickets and we thought the way the pitch was playing, we’d have to weather that and Max Dodds and Matt Corbin got us close. Then we lost a couple of wickets and it became rather hairy but in the end we got over the line.”
Warrington said there was a definite game plan for the visitors.
“We’ve probably got one of the quickest bowlers in the zone who has come back for us from uni to play with us when he can,” he said. “He liked the look of the deck so we decided to run with his ideas and they worked out.
“We certainly didn’t like losing the skipper first ball but that’s cricket. But once we got ourselves to 50, 60 and 70, then we got more confident. Losing a couple of wickets swung the pendulum back Mudgee’s way but we did enough and that’s all you can ask.
“For a lot of our guys this will be their last game in this competition. We’ve won it twice in the last three years so we’re really happy with that.”