WODONGA’S grand final coup didn’t come by chance.
The Bulldogs lodged their first application to host Cricket Albury-Wodonga’s provincial showcase five years ago and Peter Macklan and his band of workers have been chipping away in the background ever since.
It hasn’t been without hiccups along the way, either.
When the Les Cheesley Oval turf wicket was put down eight years ago it was with a North East soil, which officials believe was going to take longer to settle down than that from Merri Creek which is popular on the Border.
The gripes came thick and fast from rivals clubs with low scores providing them with plenty of ammunition.
But two years ago, Macklan sensed the wheel started to turn and Wodonga seriously believed it would soon host the first Cricket Albury-Wodonga or Albury and Border first grade grand final out of Albury since East Albury played SS and A in the 1989-90 decider at Martin Park.
“It’s just taken a bit longer to settle,” Macklan said.
“It was a little two-paced early and a bit up and down, but it has really come into its own over the past two or so years.
“A lot of the junior football is now played on the main oval at Wodonga as well which has helped.”
Wodonga didn’t take any short-cuts with this year’s presentation to the CAW board with officials lodging data from every innings played at Les Cheesley Oval.
The numbers were impossible to ignore with the board opting to move the grand final from Xavier Oval for the first time in four years.
“I think it’s fair to say that we have earned our stripes,” Macklan said.
“We did an analysis this year up until Christmas that included every A and B grade innings played on the ground and every score.
“The average was 229 runs before Christmas and it has got higher since then.”
Last weekend Wodonga and Lavington produced a combined score of 591 runs with star batsmen Robbie Jackson and Liam Scammell scoring hundreds.
Macklan said the club was still on a high after receiving the news.
“It was a team effort. It’s good for the club and every cricket club in Wodonga and Victoria.”