Sunshine YCW had special stubby holders made to commemorate the club’s 60th season.
But these are relics now, and the Cougars need to update some critical information.
YCW has another premiership year to add to the four listed on those pieces of memorabilia after a stunning come-from-behind win over Sydenham-Hillside in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association north A1 four-day grand final at Town Centre Reserve.
YCW president Shaun Janetzki has seen his club go through ups and downs since their last title in 2001-02, but the blood, sweat and tears has been worth it.
“It means a lot to the club because it’s been 16 years since we last won a first XI premiership,” Janetzki said. “A lot of hard work has been done in the last few years, but it was all worthwhile.
“It brought a bit of a tear to my eye, the win today,” he said. “There’s nothing sweeter – we’re over the moon.”
It was a grand final to remember … the pendulum swung on countless occasions before Sunshine YCW secured the flag late on the fourth day.
The Cougars went into the clash as slight favourites after finishing higher on the ladder, but this was a wipe-the-slate-clean kind of game – everything that went before was irrelevant after the first ball was delivered on March 18.
“It was a hard-fought game, both innings and both weekends,” Janetzki said. “Neither side gave an inch. We had to work for it, and that made it even better.”
One of the best moves Sunshine YCW made this summer was installing Syed Ali Hussain as captain-coach.
Hussain, a former first-class cricketer in his native Pakistan, was undoubtedly talented with the bat, but untried as a leader.
Janetzki had a hunch that Hussain could be a good leader, but knew there was a risk attached.
In an earlier interview, Janetzki said: “His cricket ability on his resume, no problem, but as a first-year coach, we were a bit unsure – but he’s exceeded what we wanted. The leadership he’s provided throughout the first XI is starting to spread down through the club.”
What an incredibly fine decision – Hussain guided YCW to their drought-breaking premiership. Janetzki paid tribute to YCW players for their refusal to concede defeat.
Trailing by 13 runs on first innings, Sydenham Hillside held all the aces, but YCW battled back to reverse the result.
Spinner Tharanga Jayawardhane was the match winner for Sunshine YCW with nine wickets, including five in the second innings, when Sydenham Hillside were bowled out for 141, to lead by just 154.
Sunshine could not have claimed their seven-wicket victory without gutsy second innings batting performances from Andrew Lowe (48) and Joel Evans (51 not out, including a towering six over long on).
“We knew if we backed ourselves … we’d get the reverse,” Janetzki said. “We knew we were good enough to do it.”