WODONGA captain Robbie Jackson has capped a sensational Cricket Albury-Wodonga season by leading the Bulldogs to their second Provincial premiership in three years.
Jackson took his season aggregate to 1032 runs by topscoring with 79 in the Bulldogs’ mammoth score of 6-302 on Saturday before yesterday’s play was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
The home team was declared the winner after being the highest ranked team following St Patrick’s semi-final loss to Lavington a fortnight ago.
Jackson, who was awarded the Gary Williamson Medal for the player of the grand final, said he couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated team to lead.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Jackson said.
“I take my hat off to these blokes because we have had our ups and downs but they all came together and today we got the result after six months of hard work.
“It’s disappointing the rain came into it but that’s how it goes.
“St Pat’s would have given it a shake and we were prepared for a tough day’s play.”
Jackson described Wodonga’s batting performance as its best of the season with his top-seven batsmen making double figures.
The skipper dominated the Patties’ attack with 79 in another vintage display while Dylan Beattie (47 not out) and James Tonkin (46) also helped turn a steady start into one of the biggest totals in recent grand final history.
Jackson put on a 99-run third-wicket partnership with Tonkin with the pair blasting a combined tally of 11 boundaries and four sixes on a deck that was covered for several days in the lead-up to the match due to rain.
Even St Patrick’s coach Mark Butters found the going tough, sending down 25 overs for a modest return of 1-111.
The early departure of fellow opening bowler Cameron Furze with a quad injury put further stress on the Patties’ attack with spinner Kane Arendarcikas the most successful with 3-94 off 19 overs.
Jackson said the ability of openers BJ Garvey and Trent Ball to soak up early pressure was critical.
“They were fantastic, just like last week,” he said.
“They put us in a position to push on and build a really good score.”
The loss continued St Patrick’s heart-breaking run in recent grand finals with the Patties going down to Lavington last season and Wodonga in 2011-12.
The only other club to lose a hat-trick of premiership deciders was Albury in the 1930s.
Wodonga also clinched the Provincial second grade title by thrashing East Albury on Saturday after bundling the Crows out for 60 and replying with 5-171.