Druids have taken out the Victorian Turf Cricket Association Twenty20 title with a thrilling last-ball victory over Strathmore in the final at Hanmer Reserve on Sunday.
Needing one to win off the last two balls, the first chance for Druids batsman Steve Nicholson was a swing and miss, but he made contact a second time, dropping the ball at his feet and giving non-striker Sam Thurston a chance to scamper through for the match-winning run.
It sparked wild celebrations from the Druids, ecstatic after chasing down Strathmore’s total of 7-122 to win the final by four wickets.
“Everyone just ran on to the ground and Sam just kept running,” Druids captain Leigh Wilson said.
“It was a pretty good feeling to win, especially against a quality side.”
Druids had the upper hand at the mid-point of the game.
Wilson saw Strathmore’s total of 122 as slightly below par and gettable.
Nicholson was the standout with the ball for Druids with 3-25.
The left arm spinner locked down the runs in the middle of the innings and claimed vital wickets.
Thurston did the trick earlier on, taking 2-14 off four.
Druids faced a required run rate of 6.1 runs per over – certainly achievable under normal circumstances, but the pressure of chasing in a final made it that little bit tougher.
When the run rate needed crept up towards eight an over, there was a bit of panic in the Druids camp.
“We were a bit slow out of the blocks and were only about 45 after 10 overs,” Wilson said.
“It got pretty tense there.”
Michael Hay (26) and Shane Windridge (19) built the platform for Druids, but it was man-of-the-match Nicholson (43 not out) and Sam Handley (23) who steered the side home.
Nicholson and Handley combined for a match-winning 66-run fourth wicket partnership.
The Druids players dedicated the win to the volunteers who have helped keep the club alive. There have been uncertain times at Druids, but their relocation to West Footscray in the summer of 2011-12 seems to have worked wonders.
“The players did a good job to win, but those guys who put in the work week in week out to raise money for the club to keep it ticking along, this is for them,” Wilson said.
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