After last winning the Tumut District Cricket Association competition back in 2011/2012, Wyangle are back on top after a resounding 68-run victory over Coolac in the Elders Cup grand final at the Bull Paddock on Saturday.
The Tumut side was led by an impressive batting performance from skipper Matt Stubbs (80 not out), Dean Crane (42 not out) and Tom Shedden (34), as Wyangle went on to score 2/171 in their 40 overs.
Crane, who would eventually go on to be named man of the match, was also very lively in the attack, taking 5/12 off 9.3 overs.
The opening bowler was very well supported by the likes of Brenton Hotham and John Breed, who would take 2/25 and 2/22 respectively.
Stubbs, who put in a dogged batting display when leading by example as captain, was understandably pleased with the result.
“Honestly, it was a relief, I was so happy to get the win and I am just so bloody proud of all the boy’s efforts,” Stubbs said.
“It has been seven years since we won the grand final and we are glad to have it back in our hands.”
Stubbs admitted that Wyangle went into this year’s decider with a newfound confidence, after finishing the year as the minor premiers and winning all but two of their regular season games.
“After the year we had, we were very confident we could get the job done,” Stubbs said.
“We had played so well all year and that motivated us to perform on the day, which we did.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Stubbs though, who struggled in the early stages of his innings, with the opener grinding it out before finding some motivation via a thinly veiled swipe at his early efforts.
With Tim Graham bowling in the 15th over, and Stubbs only sitting on 19, Rob Barron suggested to his teammates that the Wyangle captain was in all sorts.
“He is in trouble here, he knows he is hurting his team here,” Barron said.
The following ball, Stubbs hit the only six of the match, smashing the ball back over Barron’s head before offering the fielder a wry smile.
After the game, Stubbs admitted that he heard the sledge and believed it was added motivation to go on with a big score.
“Absolutely you hear those comments and of course I wanted to go big and I guess it was a bit of good luck that the very next ball was in my slot and I hit it for six,” Stubbs laughed.
Still, it wasn’t his own contribution that gave Stubbs the most delight on Saturday but the feeling amongst the team during and after the big win.
“Everyone performed well, Tom (Shedden) was huge with the bat and when we were bowling, Dean (Crane), Brenton Hotham and Johnny Breed were terrific with the ball and everyone had energy in the field,” Stubbs said.
“We are a close-knit team and the overall result is always more important than those individual efforts and that’s why we have the grand final trophy tonight.”
In the opposition camp, skipper Tim Graham heaped praise on Wyangle after their victory, admitting Coolac were outplayed on the day.
“All credit to Wyangle, they batted really well and we could only take two wickets, which allowed them to get their total up,” Graham said.
“Their bowling was tight, too, and they stopped us from generating any partnerships and they were a lot better team on the day.”
Graham even noted Wyangle standouts with both the bat and ball, which essentially took the game out of Coolac’s hands.
“Stubbsy (Matt Stubbs) with his 80 odd and Dean (Crane) chipping in with a quick 40 were big with the bat and then Dean taking five for bugger all was probably the difference,” Graham said.
The victory, which rounded out one of the more exciting Elders Cup competitions in recent years, will no doubt add extra interest ahead of the 2020/21 competition.