What a difference 12 months make. The Finley Cricket Club’s top side has completed an extraordinary U-turn from being winless in 2017/2018 (and 2016/2017) to being Murray Valley Cricket Association Division One premiers in 2018/2019.
The Cats won the grand final against Katunga by a nail biting seven runs in Katunga on Saturday.
It was the first premiership won by Finley’s top side — Premier Division or Division One — in more than 23 years.
Finley set a small total of 100 runs at the end of their limited 40 overs, however the Finley bowlers held their nerve and bowled the Swans all out for 93.
The final wicket came from a Duncan Clarke catch off the bowling of Anthony King.
Club president Matt Whitty said it was a relief when Clarke took the catch.
‘‘It was certainly tense and came right down to the last wicket; it was anyone’s game before that.
‘‘I thought maybe defending 100 runs might not be enough for a grand final but they played really well and got the job done.
‘‘The boys have done it the hard way for the past two weeks, having to defend low scores and ironically the only team we lost to in the regular season was Katunga, twice.
‘‘There was a lot of celebrating into the night.’’
Mr Whitty said the premiership was dedicated to the town.
‘‘You see how tough the last 12 months has been for this area and that’s what makes this one really special.
‘‘It’s about town pride and we certainly can share that moment now with locals.
‘‘Sporting teams are the life blood of the town and hopefully this can bring some joy to people,’’ Mr Whitty said.