Cavaliers claim fourth premiership
BIG names stand up in big games and in Casino these days there are no bigger names in cricket than Irvine and Nowlan.
Sam Irvine cracked 72 runs and Al Nowlan took 5-32 to deliver the Cavaliers their fourth Far North Coast LJ Hooker League premiership at the weekend, erasing the memory of their loss in the final last season.
The battle-hardened premiers were just too sharp for a young Marist Brothers side that will see plenty more finals action if most of their squad stays together.
Ecstatic after captaining his beloved Cavaliers to their second title in three years, Nowlan paid tribute to the spirit in his team.
“Last year was tough,” Nowlan said.
“But it really steeled us as a squad and today we were able to get it done.
“It’s an amazing group of blokes and we have even started on a new song within the team – 12 best mates.”
Nowlan was also quick to point to the opposition, who despite fielding a host of teenagers never gave up.
“(Brothers captain) Craig Ferguson does a sensational job with that bunch of kids,” he said.
“I think we just got the better of them mentally, but with the talent in the side I reckon in a couple of years they might come back to haunt me.”
Nowlan lost the toss on Saturday – a significant blow given the Queen Elizabeth Park pitch looked perfect for batting.
But just as he has done all season, the gangly quick hit the deck hard, making life tough for Brothers at the top of the order.
With help from usual suspects Mark Mison (2-42), Michael Wood (2-15) and Wade Sweeney (1-21), Nowlan’s Cavs had Brothers all out for 138.
Opening bat Paul Simes provided the most resistance with a top score of 40.
“We just did the usual stuff, stayed at them with a constant line and length and eventually it paid off,” Nowlan said.
The Cavaliers got off to a good start in reply, with opener Adam Shields making his way to 51 before being dismissed.
As in their semi-final win over Cudgen, Casino’s batsmen proved almost immovable – Irvine’s 72 was two fewer than he scored in the semi.
“He is a big-game player, Sam,” Nowlan said. “(He) Loves the big stage and when he gets there he always seems to deliver.”
Ferguson threw everything he had at the Cavaliers in an attempt to get his side back in the match – everyone had a bowl except the wicketkeeper but it wasn’t enough to rattle the champs.
Wes Koskela rammed the victory home with a pair of towering sixes down the ground late in the innings to thank the crowd.
The match was called off late yesterday when Brothers finally got the last wicket, staring down the barrel of a 110-run deficit.
Casino added the Hooker League shield to the one-day title they won in February.