Wyangle have been a different team in 2019/20 and many cricketing pundits look to Dean Crane as the catalyst for their recent success.
The speedster, who played first grade in the Cricket Wagga competition before joining Wyangle this season, was at his damaging best against Coolac in the Elders Cup decider on Saturday.
Crane batted at four, scoring 42 not out and really took it to the likes of Duane Shawcross, Tim Graham and James Scott as the innings came to a close.
The 29-year-old then put in a brilliant performance with the ball, taking 5/12 off his 9.3 overs, earning man of the match honours.
Crane was humbled by the man of the match award but said it was more rewarding winning the grand final with his friends and Wyangle teammates.
“It was great to contribute for the team and win the big one and especially to do it in front of friends and family,” Crane said.
“Its great to win it for the Wyangle guys who have been around for years, especially to win it with the Sheddens, who are club legends.”
Crane’s influence wasn’t just felt in the grand final either, with the talented all-rounder essential to Wyangle’s semi final win over Coolac, which was another man of the match performance.
Batting at four, Crane scored 61 and then took 3/20 off his 10 overs, helping guide the minor-premiers to a grand final.
In what will excite cricketing fans, Crane will return for Wyangle in 2020/21 and will look to guide the Tumut team to successive premierships.
Coolac dynasty ends
Wyangle categorically ended Coolac’s seven-year-long stranglehold of the Elders Cup on Saturday with a comfortable 68-run victory on the Bull Paddock turf wicket.
After winning the toss, Matt Stubbs, accompanied by the ever-consistent Tom Shedden, batted through a very difficult period in the early stages.
Stubbs would then combine with a dangerous Dean Crane to smash the ball around late in the innings before going on to make an impressive 80 not out, leading Wyangle to a total of 171 from their 40 overs.
In return, Crane was masterful with the Kookaburra in hand, mesmerizing the Coolac batsmen to take 5/12 from 9.3 overs, putting an exclamation mark on a convincing grand final victory.
The match started as a battle of attrition, typical for a Elders Cup decider, with Coolac building an immense amount of pressure in the early stages.
Rob Barron, bowling under cloudy skies and with some assistance from a slight southerly breeze, had the ball on a dime in his opening spell, bowling four consecutive maiden overs.
Duane Shawcross was equally as impressive from the other end and Stubbs and Mark Bradshaw struggled early, limited to five runs from the first six overs of play.
Barron struck in the seventh over when he had Bradshaw out on one run, when James Scott caught him, reducing Wyangle to 1/5.
Tom Shedden was the next to the crease and Barron and Shawcross continued hounding the batsmen and stifled any attempt to increase the run rate.
By drinks, Wyangle were 1/56 and were struggling along at a run rate of 2.8 but there would be no such troubles after the break.
Stubbs started to open up his shoulders and unfortunately, Shawcross, Tim Graham and James Scott were the bowlers to suffer, as the relentless opener punished them.
Tom Shedden finally fell for a well-earned 34 in the 29th over, after Barron bowled him, reducing Wyangle to 2/89.
Crane was the next man in and he would go on to hit a quick-fire 42 that included six boundaries.
Wyangle, who looked like they would have been lucky to make 130 at stages of their innings, eventually went to town on the Coolac bowlers and finished on 2/171.
The minor-premiers took this confidence into the second innings and found results in the first over.
Crane opened and on the final ball of his over, Andrew Scott lobbed one down the throat of Travis Curnow and Coolac were 1/5.
Three overs later and fellow opening bowler Brenton Hotham had Andrew Keatinge out for just three runs, after he caught and bowled the opener, reducing Coolac to 2/9 at the end of the fourth over.
It wasn’t too much longer until Crane had his second wicket when he trapped the stoic Luke Graham in front, leg before wicket.
Graham, who was seemingly playing the long game, was out on eight in the 11th over and Coolac were now 3/18 and in real trouble.
Crane then bowled one of the balls of the year to remove Tim Graham in the 13th over.
The speedster put the ball a little fuller and just outside the off stump before it cut in drastically to take the bail off the leg stump, leaving Graham looking confounded and out on eight.
Adam Graham was on deck next but he didn’t last long after the Elders Cup bowler of the year John Breed came into the attack; Breed caught and bowled the Coolac batsman on five and left Coolac at 5/46 in the 23rd over.
James Scott had been holding up the other end for Coolac and started to score some runs but Breed found his man when Scott lobbed the ball to Stubbs; Scott was dismissed on 22 and Coolac were now 6/57.
Rob Barron and Anthony Nicholls were able to save face for Coolac, combining for 41-runs and giving the reigning premiers a sniff of a result.
To the delight of a boisterous crowd, Matt Webb was brought into the attack to break the partnership and he delivered instantly, removing Rob Barron for an innings-high 28 runs after he knocked over his castle and Coolac were now 7/98.
Hotham was then back into the attack and he had Anthony Nicholls out on 18 after the Coolac Batsman spooned it to Curnow, who took his second catch of the match, and Coolac were reeling at 8/98 in the 36th over.
Crane was then asked to come in and clean up the tail and he made light work of the remaining batsmen, bowling Mark Sharman for one.
The last wicket of the match that delivered a Wyangle win was poetic to watch, with constant rival Duane Shawcross out for a duck after Tom Shedden, who has been a mainstay for Wyangle since the mid 1980s, caught him of Crane’s bowling.