CATCHES win matches proved true in the Millicent and District Cricket Association grand final at Rendelsham on Saturday when home ground player Brad Wight took four “pearlers” to send four key Millicent Black Hats batsmen back to the pavilion.
Due to Wight’s safe hands, skipper and top-scorer Cooper Hamilton was sent packing for 26, while Jaxon Cushion, Pat Lawlor and Jacob Todd suffered a similar fate, but with meagre tallies.
Wight intervened with three different bowlers to change the course of the season decider and Rendelsham was able to defend its low tally of only 87 and win the premiership by a narrow margin of just 27 runs.
Coming into the grand final, Wight had only played three games and his only catch was Mount Burr skipper and MDCA 2019/20 batting trophy winner Jordan Muhovics on January 18.
It was Rendelsham’s first MDCA flag in four seasons and was viewed by a bumper crowd of 300.
The victory was a bitter-sweet moment for Rendelsham all-rounder Sam Telfer as he could not take his place in the team.
As he had recently returned from Japan, Telfer voluntarily placed himself in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Telfer watched the game on the deserted eastern boundary of the Rendelsham Cricket Ground and did not participate in the post-match celebrations.
Played under mostly grey skies, first-year Rendelsham captain Zach Jones got his side off to a perfect start by winning the toss.
Jones elected to bat and his side soon found their bowler-friendly slow outfield gave them poor value for their shots.
Full-bodied strokes frequently pulled up well inside the boundary while the Millicent Black Hats bowlers maintained a tidy line and length.
At the half-way mark of the innings after 20 overs, Rendelsham had crawled to only 2/38.
The pressure was on the batsmen with Jones producing the best return of the innings with 25.
In the chase for quick runs, he was well taken at deep mid-wicket by teen Jaxon Cushion off the bowling of his father Luke Cushion.
A further three batsmen also were caught in the outfield in a bid to clear the boundary while “nervous” running between wickets and smart fielding resulted in two run-outs.
Rendelsham was dismissed for 87 in the 37th over and the bowling honours went to veteran Michael Gibson with 3/17.
When defending a double-digit tally, everything had to go right for the home club.
Spearhead Jake Wight responded in a magnificent fashion and he had Josh Mason trapped leg before wicket with the first ball of the innings of the Millicent Black Hats innings.
Hamilton led the counter-attack but no others reached double figures.
When he was the fourth man out in the 12th over with the score on 39, Rendelsham had one hand on the Cameron/De Garis premiership shield.
Great bowling from Tyson Smith (4/20) and James Thorn (2/6) mopped up the middle-order and the tail and Brad Wight worked his catching magic.
With the score at 9/60, Smith delivered the final ball of the 24th over.
It was the first ball faced by Luke Stephens and it missed his bat and hit his pads.
Umpire Dale Bateman adjudged him to be lbw and the Rendelsham celebrations began.
As well as the premiership medal, Jake Wight was awarded the MDCA bowling and cricketer of the year trophies for 2019/20.
Jaxon Cushion received a consolation prize in the form of the prestigious Gillap Trophy which is awarded each year to the outstanding underage cricketer in the MDCA.