After dominating for most of the season, the Yass Golf Club Cobras claimed the 2019/20 Triggs Shield following a gritty performance against the Dalton Dingos on Saturday at Victoria Park.
The Dingos, whose momentum had steadily built leading into the final following strong performances against the Boorowa Crocs and the Bowning Buffaloes in the semis and prelims respectively, were deflated and defeated by 34 runs after a clinical Cobras performance.
After eight millilitres of rain fell on Saturday morning, exceptional work from the players and ground staff ensured the wicket was still ready to play at 12.30pm.
Following the downpour, Dalton won the toss and elected to bowl on a lively strip.
The opening hour of the match was sedate, as the Cobras lost two early wickets and decided to consolidate.
Captain Ben Hutchinson (73) and Craig Irwin (24) saw the Cobras through the first half of the innings, to reach 2-50 by drinks at the 20-over mark.
By that point, the wicket had flattened out and Yass began opening up with their strokeplay. Hutchinson was timing the ball beautifully and played some sumptuous drives, while Irwin muscled the ball past fielders as the pair built a crucial 64-run partnership.
After 40 overs, the Cobras had compiled 147 runs for the loss of six wickets, which Hutchinson knew would be tough to chase.
"I thought it was pretty competitive," Hutchinson said.
"It was tough to bat on early, it was moving around a little bit, and then as it got on, there was a bit of variable bounce. 140-150 was always going to be a tough score for them to chase."
In reply, the Dingos blazed early thanks to Jamie Apps (13 from 14 balls) and Harry Morris (14 from 25), but after they fell, the flow of runs stopped.
Brent Poidevin (46), who was the top YDCA run-scorer for 2019/20, batted resolutely at number three and built a foundation for the Dingos, but wickets fell around him steadily as Dalton slipped from 4-69 to 112 all out.
Irwin (3-18) and Dave Field (3-18) were the standout bowlers for the Cobras, while Daniel Kemp (2-25) bowled another important spell to back up his five-wicket haul in the semi-final.
The versatility of Yass's bowling attack was critical after the Cobras were forced to change tack early in the second innings.
"Initially, we tried to get the quicks on early and get the best use out of the new ball on that wicket," Hutchinson said.
"It seemed like it was coming on very well and Brent was hitting them okay, so we took the pace off and spread the field.
"Fortunately we were able to build enough pressure and enough dots."
During the presentation ceremony, Dingos captain Mick Poidevin congratulated the Cobras and told his team to take the positives away from a tough loss.
"Big congratulations to my boys, what a great effort," Mick said as the Dalton team whooped and cheered.
"We were probably C Graders at best and we made it to the first grade grand final.
"Great effort boys, you should be proud of yourselves."
Unsurprisingly, Hutchinson was named Man of the Match for his half-century in what was his first Triggs Shield win.
"I just had to stick in and be patient," Hutchinson said.
"Rob [Field] threw his wicket away early, so I had to knuckle in, and they bowled really well. Their bowlers were bowling good lines and lengths, so I couldn't go out and play as freely as I'd like.
"It was nice to dig in and get some runs, and it paid a dividend."
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