The Entrance have claimed the First Grade Premiership, defeating Terrigal Matcham by 8 wickets at Tuggerah Sporting Complex.
The Entrance (Seagulls) won the toss and sent the Terrigal Matcham (Bellbirds) into bat in the decider. It looked to be a great decision as Mitch Starkey ripped through the top order taking three wickets, including the big wicket of Ryan James for a duck, to have the Bellbirds reeling at 4/46. However, the Bellbirds fought back with Kristian Mitchell and James Kennedy combining for a 95-run partnership to get the Bellbirds back in control of the game. When Kennedy was dismissed for a very well made 51, Harry Brien continued the good work before the Dylan Bennett took two wickets in two balls, dismissing Mitchell for 59 and then captain Alex Patterson the next ball to put the Bellbirds on the ropes at 7/155. Brien was joined by Nick Toohey and the pair added 22 before Brien fell for 25 which was followed by the rest of the tail as they were bowled out for 187. Starkey finished with 5/45 while Bennett and Adam Taylor finished with two each.
The Seagulls had a nervous over to face as Shaun Byfield and Ash Hardy negotiated to stumps on day 1, setting up an interesting day 2.
The Seagulls though never gave the Bellbirds a look in on Day 2 as they showed why their batting was so highly rated. After Ash Hardy was dismissed early, Byfield was joined by Broc Hardy as the two put on a 94-run 2nd wicket partnership to give all the momentum to their side.
When Byfield was dismissed for an excellent 68, skipper Jeff Hemming joined the youngest Hardy and the two would finish with an unbeaten 81 run partnership to see The Entrance claim the premiership. Hemming finished with 23* while Hardy would finish 81*, once again showing he is a big match player.
Hardy (pictured) was awarded the Damien Wright Medal for Man of the Match, his second in his young career, whilst the performance of Byfield cannot be understated given that he was scheduled to play in the 2nd Grade decider until star bat Jake Hardy was ruled out following a work accident, The effort of Starkey to take five wickets was also exceptional.
The result highlighted that The Entrance has been the best side in the competition for most of the year. For Terrigal Matcham, it is a year of near misses with the Bellbirds making all three finals but falling second in all of them.
A Man of the Match performance from Jason Buckley (8/44 off 20.2 overs) and 67 not out to Tyler Searle saw Lisarow Ourimbah upset Minor Premiers, The Entrance by 5 wickets in the 2nd Grade decider.