With a tense five-wicket win over Cavaliers at Wade Park Orange City completed its 2017-18 fairytale summer, the Warriors’ top grade win sealing an Orange District Cricket Association premiership treble for the club in its 50th anniversary season.
Led by a player-of-the-final performance from mid-season recruit Taylor Beatty and an equally as good effort from left-arm tweaker Brad Johnson the Warriors ran down Cavaliers 138 with five wickets in hand at Wade Park, the former securing the win with an agricultural flat bat through mid-on.
He did so in front of the club’s celebrating second and third graders too, those sides’ respective seven-wicket wins over Cavaliers and Waratahs had been secured earlier in the day.
Combined with the the Warriors’ trio of Orange District Junior Cricket Association titles and McCarthy Cup win – the senior club championship – as well, Sunday’s wins capped off one of Orange City’s most successful seasons in the 50-year history of the club.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Orange City skipper Craig Rogan said, moments after his side added the major trophy to its minor win.
“Our win is incredible, I’m a very relieved and proud captain and a very, very happy man, but the feeling of success as a club is just something else.
“It just couldn’t be any better for us right now.”
Johnson produced a stunning spell in the dying session of Saturday’s opening day and finished with superb figures of 5-28 as Cavaliers limped to 138. Beatty also snared 2-43 from his 14 overs before backing that up with a top-notch half century under mountains of pressure on Sunday.
Craig Rogan (0) and nightwatchman Brett Causer (0) successfully negotiated one over before stumps on Saturday but fell in the space of two overs, to Josh Doherty (3-67) and Harry Pearce (1-22) respectively, on Sunday to leave their side reeling at 2-0.
When Doherty sent Nathan Rosser (8) packing with the score at 19 Beatty entered the fray, and immediately watched Cavaliers gun all-rounder – who produced a Herculean effort to bowl 18 straight on Sunday – lure Tim Low (14) into a false shot too.
The Warriors had slumped to 4-24 at that point, and looked in real trouble.
But Beatty and Shaun Grenfell (15) began mounting a fightback, toughing it out and working the score to 64 before the latter was dismissed, once again leaving the game on tenterhooks.
That’s when Beatty kicked up a gear though. With Shaun Churchill (21 not out) aiding him beautifully, Beatty cracked an unbeaten 80 to tie the scores before a shortened lunch break, then sealed the win two overs after resuming.
With less than three hours remaining in the day the captains shook hands, sparking raucous celebrations from the Orange City crowd.
“There was nerves the whole way through. But yes, at 4-20 odd there was a lot of butterflies in the basket,” Rogan laughed.
“We didn’t want to make it that tough but that’s grand final cricket, things happen and it’s all about how you react to that type of thing and doing so well is what makes a premiership side I think.
“We reacted beautifully, we showed a lot of grit and determination and controlled attack as well. We scored pretty quickly on a difficult wicket, and we pretty much took the game away from them in the space of an hour.
“Taylor was absolutely magnificent and Brad Johnson, well, he just does his thing. I didn’t actually realise he’d taken five until we came off on Saturday night.”
Cavaliers skipper Matt Corben was a disappointed man at stumps, but lauded his side’s effort during his presentation speech.
“We’re a young side and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort all the boys put in this season and this weekend,” he said.
“But Orange City was the best side all year and they proved that, we didn’t really have an answer for it.
“Taylor Beatty’s innings was absolutely outstanding. Congratulations to them.”
Rogan won the toss and elected to bowl first on a juicy Wade Park wicket, one which had plenty of life in it even after the start of the game was delayed by 45 minutes to give it a little longer to dry out.
Corben and his opening partner Ryan Kurtz toughed it out for the first hour though, and when the latter was dropped at cover by the usually reliable hands of Jackson Coote luck looked it may favour the maroons.
Cavaliers’ opening pair made it to 39 before Kurtz (19) slashed another one in the air through the cover region but this time Brett Causer, who bowled just three overs with the new ball for 0-7, made no mistake and latched onto the chance.
Corben (26) added another 15 with the dangerous Josh Doherty before feathering a Taylor Beatty (2-43) ball through to Lachie Coyte, leaving the maroons 2-54 and swinging momentum back to the Warriors.
Beatty and Ed Morrish (0-22) had been superb until that point, pushing through plenty of overs in tandem and after Rogan gave the latter a break to hand Coote the ball from the northern end, he lulled Doherty into a chance in his first over.
I’m a very relieved and proud captain ... the feeling of success as a club is just something else.Orange City skipper Craig Rogan
But it went begging, Darren Barrett spilling the straightforward catch at mid-off.
Once again, especially after Doherty clobbered one into Piesley Street and then the rain delayed play for a bit over an hour, luck looked to be on the maroons’ side.
But the Warriors rallied again and Coote (1-16) picked up his man not long after resuming, Causer taking another crucial chance to dismiss Doherty – the competition’s leading run-scorer – for 27, leaving the maroons 3-78.
That became 4-87 then 5-101 after Johnson entered the fray, the left-arm tweaker picking up Bailey Ferguson (3) and Chris Brown (14) cheaply.
Johnson, along with Shaun Grenfell (2-19), ran riot after that, claiming Cavaliers’ five remaining wickets for just 37.
First Grenfell sent Hudson Izzard (3) packing before Johnson took care of Brad Wright (0), Wes Lummis (32) – who had batted well under pressure – and then Hugh Middleton (1) as his fifth.
Grenfell finished the maroons off by snicking off Harry Pearce (5).
“When easy chances like the couple we dropped go down in a grand final you do sort of thing ‘how much is that going to cost us?’,” Rogan admitted.
“But we fought back and then later on that day we took a couple of screamers, so to be able to come back from those little setbacks was pretty huge.
“They both came off Brad Johnson’s bowling, from Taylor and Darren Barrett, and they picked us up in the field and I think they both turned the game a bit.”
The second day was all Beatty’s though, the former Manly-Warringah first-grader once again proving his class by clobbering his fourth half-ton since joining the Warriors.
He smashed 11 boundaries on his way to an his match-winning 80 not out, adding an unbeaten 78-run, sixth-wicket stand with a determined Churchill.
Outside Orange City’s second and third grade victories Centrals-Wanderers produced an epic fightback to win the fourth grade crown over Spring Hill while Kinross was crowned premiers after the Centenary Cup decider was washed out.
As minor premiers, Kinross only needed a draw.
Pick up Tuesday’s Central Western Daily for a full wrap-up and photos from the lower grade deciders.