YARRAWONGA-Mulwala yesterday claimed the Wangaratta and District premiership in one of the most extraordinary grand finals in the association’s history.
A devastating haul of 7-9 from Ben Doyle in slippery conditions turned what was shaping as defeat for the Lakers into one of the club’s most memorable wins.
With play delayed for more than an hour by an early downpour, minor premier Bruck firmed by the minute to take out the premiership by default.
Even by mid-afternoon when the rain had stopped, Bruck was still in the box seat, needing only a draw to march off with the trophy.
But Doyle tore through Bruck’s batting line-up as the powerhouse capitulated in unbelievable fashion.
He took four wickets in the space of five balls to end the contest.
Yarrawonga-Mulwala captain Lee Fraser, who top scored with 85 on Saturday, said the result had been as remarkable as it sounded.
“Benny Doyle was really the story of the day,” he said.
“He bowled exceptionally well.
“We were always confident we could defend our 225 from the Saturday but, when the rain came and they only needed to bat out their overs, things looked a little difficult.
“We had to change our mind set and went ultra-attacking but we’ve been bowling well and there was a bit in the wicket.”
After posting a highly competitive 7-225 from 75 overs on Saturday, the clash was shaping as a cracker with Bruck’s batting line-up entering the decider in white-hot form.
But with cloud and moisture about, the competition heavyweight had no response to the resurgent Lakers.
Bruck had slumped to 4-34 by tea, with little sign of the rain returning.
The big wicket came next when star batsman Darren Petersen was bowled for a duck by Mark Athanitis.
With Bruck on the ropes at 5-34, Yarrawonga-Mulwala still faced a race against time to get the job done.
Opener Vance Curran (34) and Jeremy Wilson (24) provided some resistance for the minor premiers and looked to be steadying the ship.
Wilson fell lbw to Doyle, leaving Bruck at 6-77, and Doyle wasn’t done yet.
He broke Bruck’s back, dismissing the determined Curran with the first ball of his 11th over, then went wicket, dot, wicket, wicket to steer the Lakers to their second flag in the space of three seasons.
“It’s been a great few years for us,” Fraser said.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Bruck and they’ve been the yardstick of the competition over the past few years.”