New South Wales Men’s team has reversed the result of last year’s final of the National Indigenous Cricket Championships against Victoria to claim the 2018 title in Alice Springs on Monday night.
In pursuit of 191 for victory, NSW endured some nervous moments towards the end of the match. The Indigenous Blues then lost four late wickets, but ultimately got over the line in the 40th over to win by three wickets.
Victoria earlier posted 7/190 from its allotted 50 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat. Sam Doggett (2-55), from the Eastern Suburbs club in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket, was the best of the NSW bowlers.
“Yeah it feels amazing, this was something we’ve been looking forward to ever since last season, and to have Victoria in the final this year and to win was obviously amazing,” said NSW captain Nathan Price.
Top order batsmen Brynley Richards and Brendan Smith were both key to the successful run chase for NSW.
Richards scored 55 from 114 balls at the top of the order and anchored the innings for the champions.
“Top of the world, it’s the best feeling, it really is,” Richards said about the victory.
“I just sort of thought I’d go out there and really apply myself and just try and guide the innings from the top.”
Smith provided the acceleration that kept NSW well ahead of the required run-rate. He scored 52 from 49 deliveries. He finished the tournament as the third leading run-scorer on 229 runs at an average of 57.25.
“Brendan Smith was amazing this year,” Price said.
“Four hits he had in the carnival and had four fifties.”
Price was the leading run scorer for NSW throughout the tournament. The NSW captain scored 285 runs at 71.3 which included a highest score of 128 against Queensland in the third match.
He was the second most prodigious run scorer during the championships behind Damon Egan. The stand-in Victorian captain for the final scored 299 runs at 59.8.
Price made 16 from 12 balls in the final batting at No. 3.
Despite a steady 53-run partnership between Nathan Gardiner (57) and Clayton McCartney (36), and another 77-run stand put together by Gardiner and Nicholas Boland (47 not out), the Victorian innings never really got going.
It was an impressive team bowling performance by the Blues to restrict Victoria to under four an over for the duration. Two scalps to Doggett and one each to Djali Bloomfield (1-31), Ben Patterson (1-13), Brock Larance (1-32) and Martin Jeffrey (1-35) demonstrated how well the side bowled as a unit.
Jeffrey was the leading wicket taker for NSW. He collected 14 wickets at 11.00 during the competition.
It was the second most wickets for the tournament just behind Tasmanian Rhys Ward. He claimed 16 wickets at 10.5.
NSW appeared to have the final all wrapped up at 3/176 in the run chase, but lost 3/5 with all three wickets courtesy of Boland (4-26).
Victoria found an extra step in the field with NSW still requiring another 10 runs for victory, and when Boland suddenly struck again clean bowling Jeffrey, the impossible seemed possible.
However, it wasn’t to be as Doggett came to the crease to hit the winning runs.
“We were pretty nervous sitting here on the sideline for a bit, (but) we got over in the end, which is the main thing,” Richards said.
The victory capped off a very successful day for the NSW Indigenous Cricket program after the Women’s team claimed its eleventh title in a row earlier in the day.