After some close calls in recent seasons, St Anthonys has finally claimed the Gisborne and District Cricket Association Johnstone Shield District Firsts premiership.

Playing in their third grand final in four years, it proved to be third time lucky for the Saints as they beat Bacchus Marsh in a thrilling grand final.

Saints captain-coach Cam Clayton said it was an amazing feeling.

“To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet and I don’t think it will until Tuesday or Wednesday.

“It’s amazing for the group and the club.

“We worked hard over the pre-season to get into this position, we learnt a lot from our loss to Wallan in last year’s grand final.”

Bacchus Marsh won the toss and sent the Saints in.

It was slow going early on but the Saints managed to push the total to make 9-269.

It was the lower order that saved the Saints for a second straight week.

“They bowled really well,” Clayton said.

“Our tail got us to the total. Robert Strugnell [27 not out], Jason Orr [13] and Jason Craven [four not out] pushed us to 270.

“To achieve that, I thought was a really good total.”

Justin Craven top scored, making 52 at the top of the order.

In the end the Saints needed nearly every single one of those runs, as the Bulls pushed the game deep into day two.

The Saints held their nerve, bowling the Bulls out for 242.

Clayton said it was nerve-wracking towards the end.

“They got off to a good start and were attacking our bowlers,” he said.

“We knew runs on the board were always important, especially when it comes to a final.

“We held our nerve and knew if we could bowl our line and length we should be right.”

Photo Gallery: St Anthonys vs Bacchus Marsh

All five Saints bowlers took wickets and Clayton was the pick of the bunch, taking 3-60.

The Saints fielders also backed them up, with two run-outs.

One of those was of danger man Shaun Taylor, who made 105. Taylor was named man of the match for his innings.

The premiership is the club’s first top side premiership since the 2012-13 season which promoted the club into the McIntyre Cup.

Clayton, who was coach of that side, said they thought they were better equipped to go up to the top grade this time.

“Last time we lost 12 players and went straight back down,” he said.

“We want to recruit hard and keep the list we have, so some of that will filter down the grades.

“We’ve got some good kids coming through too. Conrad Farrugia made 100 last week in a semi-final and made 100 this week in a grand final.”

The celebrations continued for the Saints, with the side then watching their fifth XI taking out the Club grade South premiership on the next oval.

That win was also against Bacchus Marsh.

The Saints made 237 on the back of a century
from Farrugia, before bowling the Bulls out for 214.

Clayton said watching the team win made the day even more special.

He said it was a big achievement for the Saints to claim two premierships in a town which has several cricket clubs.

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