SOME things never change.
Rochester United is going to the grand final once again.
With only one loss throughout the season, United entered the finals with the confidence only a side with back-to-back flags can carry.
And they did not look like losing.
Their opponents, Tongala, were coming off a whirlwind week that saw them sneak past Moama to claim fourth spot.
They had momentum.
But Rochester United was the league leader for a reason.
Tongala won the toss and chose to bat, with Darin Ohlsen and Jayden Tucker opening the batting for the visitors.
They put on 18 runs before Liam Ringin began his day, dismissing Tucker for eight.
New man in Blake Campbell was unable to make a major difference in the match, making just two runs before Ringin had him trapped in front.
Adam Nunn — fresh off winning A grade’s player of the year award — struggled, dismissed for seven off the bowling of Myles Wade.
Jordan Souter was also unable to make a contribution, falling for a duck off Sean Williams.
Jamie Garde could only add two before becoming Williams’ second victim, Tongala in serious trouble at 5/41.
Clayton Thompson would add 11, before William claimed his third wicket of the afternoon.
Ohlsen batted well while wickets fell around him, but could not hold his team up alone and was dismissed for 26 by Ringin, with his team now 7/82.
At the other end though, Joel Regan had come to the party, batting strongly to add 45 to the total.
Travis Johnstone came and went, adding just one to the score, but Regan remained the shining light in the team.
When Regan was dismissed — the second catch for Tim Rasmussen off Dylan Cuttriss’s bowling — it was all but over.
John Copeland remained unbeaten on 11, with Matt Ohlsen out for one.
Tongala was dismissed for 122.
Jordan Garrett and Corey Windridge immediately went to work on the run chase. Windridge was the only wicket to fall, which forced captain Tim Bubb and Garrett to see out the day at 1/36.
Garrett (15) and Bubb (10) did not last long into the second day’s play.
Though it wouldn’t change the result.
Sean Williams and Dylan Cuttriss went to work, reducing the required target even more.
It was Williams who was first to go, making 25.
New man Tim Rasmussen pitched in with 22.
When the innings closed, it was the old hands of Cuttriss, unbeaten on 29, and Stephen Rasmussen, unbeaten on one, that saw them across the line.
Bubb said the club’s experienced players were a big part of United’s success.
‘‘Guys like Stephen and Dylan are huge to our club,’’ Bubb said.
‘‘We went through a long period there where we lost a lot of grand finals. They were huge for our club at that time.
‘‘They both probably went through a time where they would have thought they would never win a flag, so for them to be going for a third in a row, it’s what they deserve for everything they went through as players.’’
The club will face off against Kyabram Fire Brigade in the final.
The last time they met was United’s only loss.
‘‘I think we learnt a lot about ourselves that game,’’ Bubb said.
‘‘We kept their runs down in the first 40 or so overs but we didn’t take the kind of wickets we would have liked and that came back to haunt us.
‘‘We made basic errors like dropping catches and we can’t afford to do that again. We need to get that right.’’
But if you ask Bubb, the feeling of a premiership is the best motivation.
‘‘It never changes. We still feel as great about winning them now as when we won the first,’’ Bubb said.
‘‘You don’t have that window for ever. We know we want to keep winning while we have the ability to do so.’’