Batsmen hit form
By TANIA PHILLIPS
MURWILLUMBAH'S batsmen saved their best till last, combining to sink South Tweed Colts in the Tweed District Cricket grand final at Rabjones Oval yesterday.
When Colts scored a commanding 221 on the opening day it seemed likely that the visitors would run away with the match.
Murwillumbah had not scored more than 190 runs in an innings all season but they made a mockery of their regular-season scoring efforts yesterday, reeling in the target for the loss of just five wickets.
Man of the match Aaron Chapman (68) and Paul Dhillon (52) laid the platform, combining for a 94-run third-wicket partnership.
"We hadn't scored that many runs all year," Murwillumbah captain Kevan Newell said.
The victory delivered Murwillumbah its first premiership in the top grade since the club was formed by the amalgamation of Murwillumbah-Tyalgum and South Arm Burringbar three years ago.
"The great thing about this was that all 11 blokes were from Murwillumbah," veteran all-rounder Josh Singh said.
"We all came back here to play this year, there was not one import, everyone is a product of Murwillumbah High."
The game marked the end of Newell's impressive career.
A Tweed District first grade player since he was 17, Newell announced his retirement before the game.
"I went out like Bradman," the middle-order batsman said after getting a duck in his final innings.
"Of course he was older and had a better average. But it is a great way to end my first grade career and a nice way to celebrate turning 40 tomorrow."
South Tweed Colts captain Joel Walle said the loss would help inspire his team.
"We are definitely determined now to win a premiership, we are itching for a grand final win, this has given us a taste for it," he said.
"(But) it was a fantastic game of cricket and an excellent way for Kevan to go out."
But there were lots of heroes for the Murwillumbah side who had not won a first grade premiership since it was formed by the amalgamation of Murwillumbah-Tyalgum and South Arm Burringbar three years ago.
Fast bowler Lionel Foster, still recovering from a knee operation just nine days, was the chief destroyer for Murwillumbah, snaring 4-48 while Justin Singh, who returned from Gladstone for the match, took 3-43.
Captain Joel Walle (61) and Jason Fletcher (63) led the way with the bat for Colts.