The Wagga City Cats are premiers for the fifth time in 10 years following a grand final demolition of the Kooringal Colts on Saturday (18 March).
Winning by 133 runs, the Wagga District Cricket Association premiers set the tone early after posting a mammoth 279 total in 50 overs on a flat Robertson Oval deck.
Middle-order batsmen Jonathan Nicoll and Jack Harper took the game away from the Colts with a 220-run partnership, both passing the illustrious century milestone.
Wagga City captain Josh Thompson said the batting innings had helped calm the nerves heading into the second innings.
“Jack and Johnno set us up. That was as impressive a partnership as I’ve ever seen and to do it in a grand final was incredible,” Thompson said.
“Jack Harper in particular, he’s been there or thereabouts all year but never quite cracked the ton. To do that in the final game of the year when it matters most, it was a huge effort.”
The Cats’ final score of 5-279 was the club’s second-highest total of the year and proved to be too much for the Colts, who were bowled out for 146 in reply.
“From the first ball, we were locked in,” Thompson said.
“We bowled in partnerships and hit a consistent and difficult length from the get-go.”
Harper followed up his superb batting with the ball, leading the way with 3-27 from his 10 overs, while opening bowler Luke Naumann took three scalps of his own.
Supported by Sean Gaynor and Cane Graetz, who took two wickets each, the Cats comfortably dismissed the Colts for 146.
“Our bowling has been our backbone for the majority of the season, so to see that we could follow up an impressive batting innings with a tight and precise bowling innings is something that I, as captain, was quite proud of,” Thompson said.
“We celebrated pretty hard on the Saturday night. It was important to us after getting so close last year, and taking that extra step and reclaiming top spot is something quite special.”