It’s been a championship three years in the making for South Coast.
The team that raised the trophy on Thursday first arrived in Orange three years ago as a group of very young bottom aged players.
They were predictably beaten soundly in each game, but returned again the next year to win a few games and improve out of sight.
This year, they’ll go home with the best result possible: the premiership.
Coach Bill Harrison said it was a huge effort.
“It’s something they deserve and I’m very proud of the boys.”
“All these boys have been with me, we won the South Coast championship with this team and we just won this one, so we’re very happy and I’m a very happy coach.”
He said every member of the team had pulled their weight, especially during the final.
“Our best batters didn’t score all the runs, we even threw a bowler in (to bat) and he came in with a 43, and one of our batters made his first ever 50,” he said.
“It was a whole team effort, and we didn’t have to rely on anyone.”
After losing Sam McLennan for five early in the piece, Joel Whelan (25) joined Dane Dunningham (22) to give South Coast a strong platform to build on.
Whalan’s 25 came off just 31 deliveries before Angus Hughes made the breakthrough.
However, with things at 5/113, Tom Nolan walked out to join Kobe Ross and put on a 71-run partnership, Nolan hitting five fours to reach 43 off 42 before being dismissed.
Ross continued on to making his 50 of 101 balls before falling to Harjapan Singh (2-19), who was the pick of the Bankstown bowlers.
The tail didn’t offer too much resistance, with the final three wickets falling for eight runs, but the top of the order had done its job to get South Coast to 197.
Bankstown got off to a solid start, reaching 4/70 from 23 overs and only adding another 25 in the next 10, but the continued presence of number three Harjas Singh saw the run rate keep steady.
He finished with a very impressive 82, falling only in the 46th over as the Bankstown threw all they had at the chase.
In the end, Singh just didn’t have enough support, with the next best batsmen Ben Coates-Grayson and Arnav Raina both scoring 11.
Bankstown finished on 161, which would have got them over the line in most games this week.
Their coach, Ryan Cameron, said it was a “really, really good game”.
“They were the better team on the day and probably posted 32 runs too many,” he said.
He said South Coast – like all the other teams – played the game in good spirits, and said the organisers had been “amazing” with the weather issues during the week.
“We’d give [the tournament] a triple A rating. The boys have loved it … they’ll remember this forever.,” Cameron said.
“Harjas’ knock today of 80 plus was obviously terrific but the bowlers, taking 40 wickets in four games … I would say the bowlers taking so many wickets and coming into today only having lost seven wickets. We got bowled out today but it was a great bowling performance from South Coast.”
In the play-off for third, Blacktown Gold took the title after a hat-trick to Lachlan Grace left Illawarra reeling at 5-5, and then two more quick wickets saw them at 7-12.
The tail valiantly rebuilt, but in the end they couldn’t do enough to surpass Blacktown’s 164, which was made on the back of Hugh McDonald making 55 not out and Sahil Mengar hitting an unbeaten 50.