BAXTER was crowned the final MPCA Provincial premiers on Saturday.
With a new competition coming into play next season, the Provincial premiership cup handed over to the Baxter players will stay with them forever.
It took just a couple of hours on Saturday for Baxter to pick up the two wickets required to win the match.
In fact, it took until the first ball of the 14th over of the day to claim the title.
Justin Bridgeman took out the off stump of Tim Clarke to wrap up the match, Mt Eliza all out for 209.
At the beginning of the day, the Mounties had two wickets in hand, chasing 273 for victory. They resumed at 8/172.
Clarke was at the crease on 37 and Nick Baron resumed on five.
Baxter opening quick Dale Irving started proceedings from the Somerville end of Tyabb’s Bunguyan Reserve to get play underway on the third and final day.
Clarke’s intention was obvious and he played his shots from the opening delivery. Baron, however, had a clear game plan to stick around with Clarke.
Mt Eliza players patrolled the boundary line offering support. Club legend Lyle House was asked if he was nervous, only to reply, “we’ll only get nervous when we get closer to the target”.
The Mounties were looking comfortable though, adding 17 runs in six overs to be 8/189.
At the end of the sixth over, Chamika Sattambi was brought into the attack and straight away had a massive appeal for LBW turned down.
However, on the last ball of his first over, Clarke poked a ball to a man short cover, who charged in and hit the stumps with a diving direct hit – Baron was gone and Mt Eliza’s faint hopes were dashed. The score was 9/190.
Chris Brittain continued from the Hastings end while Clarke, still visibly disappointed with himself, brought up his 50.
Justin Bridgeman was brought into the attack after Brittain’s fifth over and Sam Wolsgrove replaced Sattambi at the other end.
Wolsgrove kept things quiet while Bridgeman wrapped up the match.
The drama did continue when Mt Eliza sent Baxter back into bat in the hope that they could produce a miracle.
Firstly, Joe Rule, who was a hero of the first innings with a team-high 78, was retired hurt, which brought Chris Brittain to the crease.
On 998 runs for the season, ‘Britts’ needed just two runs to bring up the magical 1000. He was trapped in front by Shaun Knott first ball.
The word spreading around Graydens Rd later was that Brittain had in fact scored 1000 runs for the season. It was said that a six he hit against Crib Point was given to Brittain’s batting partner at the time, Dale Irving, instead of Brittain after a fill-in scorer relieved the ‘official’ scorer for a couple of overs.
Regardless, Brittain as simply sensational in season 2016/17, as were the rest of his teammates.
Baxter was the best side in it and once again, ruled another season of Provincial cricket.