ACT Southern Districts batsman John Rogers has scored a remarkable unbeaten century that proved decisive in his team claiming its first McDonald’s NSW Country Championships title as a zone on Sunday.
The former First Class batsman for Tasmania and Western Australia made more than half the runs posted by ACT Southern Districts during the 24-run Grand Final victory over Central Coast at North Dalton Park in Wollongong. He hit 175 not out from 155 balls in a total of 9/276 from the allotted 50 overs.
His performance earned Rogers the Mark Curry Medal as Player of the Final.
In reply, Central Coast was dismissed for 252, in the final over, highlighted by a valiant century to captain Peter Gallichan who did his utmost to claim the trophy for his team. He scored 107 from 130 balls faced.
During a little more than three hours at the crease, Rogers smashed seven sixes and 10 fours. The innings was made all the more extraordinary by the fact the next best score for ACT Southern Districts was just 20 scored by middle-order batsman Owen Chivers.
Like Rogers, Gallichan similarly held the innings together for Central Coast batting at No. 3. The next best score for his side was wicketkeeper Harry Woodhead who made 32 from 25 balls down the order.
In a beaten side, paceman Scott Burkinshaw returned best figures for the match with 4-56 from 10 overs.
WATCH: Player of the Final - ACT Southern Districts batsman John Rogers.
Rogers, 31, played 11 First Class matches for both Tasmania and Western Australia between 2010 and 2013.
He also made nine One-Day appearances for Western Australia and played three T20 matches for Tasmania.
Rogers said the key to his match-winning knock on Sunday was to stay relaxed at the crease.
“(It’s important) not get too flustered by the match situation and have trust in yourself to be able to score the runs at the back end and then play each ball on its merits,” Rogers said.
“It’s pretty important for someone, if they’re in (during) a 50-over game to bat through the innings. That was my job and I was lucky enough to score (nearly) 180 runs whilst I was doing it, but the goal was to be there at the end.”
Under new boundary changes for NSW Country Cricket during the off-season, the new zone of ACT Southern Districts was created following boundary changes to Illawarra and Southern Zones.
The new ACT Southern Districts zone now captures the Far South Coast region, Cooma Monaro, Goulburn and the broader ACT district.
ACT Southern Districts captain Daniel Leerdam said the Country Championships title meant a lot in that respect.
“This is our first carnival as just ACT Southern Districts,” said Leerdam.
“Over the last couple of years (as ACT Southern), I think we probably haven’t played as well as we would’ve liked.
“We had a really good team but came away (feeling as though we had played below par).
“This year to turn that around, I think the way we’ve shown the competition how good we are, was really pleasing.”