Gisborne saved the best for last to claim back-to-back Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup titles at the weekend.
The Dragons weren’t quite perfect in the grand final, but they went close to it, defeating Sunbury by 164 runs.
After batting their whole 120 overs for 9-307, the Dragons had Sunbury in trouble at 5-51 at stumps on day two.
After a couple of missed chances on Saturday’s final day, the Dragons finished the job, bowling Sunbury out for 143.
Dragons playing coach Simon Harman, who got the match-winning run-out, said he couldn’t have asked for any more from the side across the three days.
“We didn’t want to get complacent, but we knew we were in a really good position due to some exceptional cricket on Saturday and Sunday last week,” he said.
“We were in trouble early last week but were pretty resilient, with a few guys cashing in on Sunday.
“I think Sunday last week flexed our muscles and showed we were the best side in the competition. We probably didn’t start brilliantly today, but we persisted and got the result we wanted.”
Harman said the win, and the way the game was played, showed the all-round strength and batting depth of the side.
“It’s been a strength of ours through the year, even though it’s been inconsistent – when we bat well, we are very, very good.
“With the ball we were relentless with our pressure and took our chances.”
This was the 16th McIntyre/A-grade premiership for the Dragons and the sixth time they’ve claimed the flag back-to-back.
“Usually there’s a big turnover of players every time you win one,” Harman said. “You tend to lose guys and rely on recruiting players, and sometimes you drop a little bit.
“The guys who went out [after last season] were replaced with similar cricketers and we gave ourselves the best chance of success.
“It was pretty seamless – we were lucky to pick up some good players, as well as the two young guys [Roby Lane and Riley Vernon] that came in and played the house down.”
As for which of the two premierships he thought was the better, Harman said they were both special. Last season’s title came courtesy of a tied grand final.
“It was satisfying both times – if you can win by 150 runs you’ll take that every day of the week,” he said of this year’s decider.
Harman, who has stood down as coach after two seasons in charge, said he would definitely play on next season.
The Dragons also won back-to-back C-grade premierships on Saturday.
Showing the overall depth of the club, five of Gisborne’s seven senior sides played off in grand finals.