Mulbring added the final piece to the puzzle on a stellar season by winning the Cessnock District Cricket first grade premiership with an emphatic four-wicket victory over Supporters Club in what was an exciting finish at Bellbird’s Carmichael Park last Saturday.
The Marlins’ twelfth association title and ninth since the turn of the millennium added to their minor premiership and T20 trophies already in the cabinet this season.
Supporters skipper Troy Culley won the toss, and as predicted decided to make first use of what looked to be a good batting wicket.
They were in a little spot of bother at 3-56 after 12 overs, but Michael Gates (37) and Andrew Nicolai (56) went about rectifying the situation with an 83-run fourth wicket stand.
A 200-plus total was beckoning, but Mulbring’s bowlers remained cool, with Sam Apthorpe (4-22 off 6) knocking over of Gates, with Zechel brothers Matt (2-39 off 8) and Aaron combining to dismiss Nicolai.
They were eventually all out in the 37th over for a respectable 182. Opener Pete Brennan (22), Nathan Stapleford (18) and Greg Brodie (16) were the other main contributors for the Goannas.
Apthorpe’s fine spell for Mulbring was well supported by Ben Neaves (3-48 off 8.3) who picked up the dangerous Brennan and also knocked over the tail.
Mulbring’s run chase started off in positive fashion, putting on 58 runs for the opening stand before Drew Olsen was dismissed for 19. The defending premiers appeared to be cruising at the drinks interval at 1-98, but Supporters were not about to lay down in a hurry.
Scott Robertson was dismissed for 35 and opener Josh Lewis for 74 in what was a fine innings under pressure. This gave the Goannas a glimmer of hope, and with seven overs remaining Mulbring still required 38 for victory.
Skipper Cameron Ross made a calm 21 in the situation before being caught out, and with one over remaining Mulbring required two runs to win. Number seven batsman Neaves (10 no) hit the first ball of the over for three runs to secure the Marlins’ third successive title.
Jordan Goldman was the pick of the Supporters attack with 3-39 off 10, with Andrew Nicolai completing a fine-all round performance with 2-39 off 10.
Greta/Branxton broke a 24-year drought to claim the second grade premiership with a 66-run victory over Chelmsford Hotel at Mulbring.
Batting first, Greta/Branxton recovered from 5-58 to post 9/180 from their 40 overs.
Competition leading run-scorer Brett Bridge did not disappoint when it mattered most, coming in at the fall of the fourth wicket to blast an unbeaten 89.
Andrew Bercini was next best with 12, with Dylan Lipscombe (11), Anthony Brunsdon (11), Pat Andrews (10) and skipper Peter MacKenzie (10) all contributing.
Hayden Ridley was the best of the Chelmsford Hotel attack with 4-40 off 7, with Dean Johnston (2-38 off 10) also bowling well.
Many Chelmsford batsman made starts in reply, but no one pushed on to a much-needed big score to get them within range. They were all out inside 30 overs for 114.
Daniel Killen led the way with 24, with Andrew Wanless (16), Arron Follan (12), Matt Turnbull (12) and Dean Johnston (11) all keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Andrew Bercini was the pick of the Greta/Branxton attack with 4-17 off 6.4, with Darren Thomson (3-21 off 8) picking up vital wickets.
Laguna are the third grade champions following their eight-wicket victory over Greta/Branxton Blue at Miller Park.
Greta/Branxton Blue batted first and were on the back foot early at 3-10 due to some very good bowling from the Laguna seamers.
Things did not improve from there either, with the Blues all out in the 30th over for just 57. Skipper Sean Wright (17) and Ben Lahey (15) were the only batsmen to reach double figures.
For the Village People Tim Williams provided the highlight, taking a hat-trick with the second, third and fourth deliveries of his third over.
He finished with the very tidy figures of 5-20 off 10 in what was a match-winning performance.
He was well supported by Steve Sullivan (3-9 off 5) and Greg Kelso (2-17 off 9) who also bowled very economical spells.
Laguna were very cautious in reply in reaching the small target, taking 22 overs although only losing the two wickets.
Opener Craig Howe led the way with 34, with Alan Taylor (11 no) and Williams (6 no) putting the icing on the cake.
Jason Varley (1-16 off 8) was the sole wicket-taker for Greta/Branxton.
Greta/Branxton claimed the fourth grade title by knocking over minor premiers Wine Country by nine wickets at Allandale.
Wine Country batted first and were skittled inside 29 overs for 72. Ben Wood made 14 at the top of the order, with Wayne Ling making 13.
Sam Hines was the pick of the Greta/Branxton attack with 4-16 off 4.4, and was well backed up by Anthony Lawrence (3-23 off 10) and Ben Ciba (2-18 off 9).
Greta/Branxton had little issues reeling in the target in reply, reaching it in the 14th over after losing just the one wicket.
Logan Millard continued his recent good form with an unbeaten 35, receiving good support from Stewart Ison who was also at the crease for the winning runs with 26 no.
Ben Wood (1-9 off 3) took the Wood Ducks’ lonesome wicket.