Rivergum wasn’t going to give up the title of top billing in North Metro Cricket Association’s Jika Shield without a fight.
North Brunswick-Rosebank and Rivergum are already locked in a rivalry that will go down in NMCA history, and the fifth consecutive grand final play-off between the two was always going to be spirited.
The Kookas, playing for a fourth straight premiership, made the Eagles wait until the final over to seal the flag.
Eagles won the toss and elected to bat on a good wicket. They batted well and were looking good at 2-176 before a couple of wickets fell late.
Matthew Perri took three wickets for the Kookas.
Needing 246 for victory, the Kookas started their innings well, with the openers looking settled.
They put on 98 for the first wicket partnership before it all started to fall apart.
Losing 5 for 31 put them behind the eight-ball, and although they kept pushing, the Kookas lost wickets at crucial times – they needed more than a run a ball in the final 10 overs.
Unable to make the mark, the Kookas were bowled out for 230 on the second ball of the last over.
Opener Alex Jesensek top-scored with 64, while Jarrod Bannister made 50.
Kookas’ captain-coach Gary Bell said both sides played some good cricket.
“It was a great game … unlucky it didn’t go our way,” he said. “It’s good for the crowd and good for the competition, I guess. The toss of coin was a deciding factor. If we had batted first and put on a partnership like they did, you get to set the field a bit better.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them though, they deserve their win.”
Bell said the Kookas had faith they could snatch the game right until the end, knowing they are a good T20 side.
“We’d rather lose 10 wickets going for the victory than having four or five wickets in the shed. I always have confidence in the boys, and they always stick up for each other.”
Bell said the club hadn’t looked beyond the grand final and would have some decisions to make in the off season.
One thing for sure is the rivalry between the Kookas and Eagles will continue.
“I think, both teams, we both hate losing and are so determined to win,” Bell said.
“It makes for a bad weekend, and we hate losing and they’re the same too.
“They’ve got great support and we’ve got great support, which is the difference between the stronger and the lesser clubs.”