A 108-run partnership helped Stanhope thrash Girgarre in the Goulburn Murray Cricket D grade grand final.By Zach Hubber
A 108-run partnership by Stanhope pair Brenton Gray (83 not out) and Simon Harrison (60) helped their side to a 121-run thrashing of Girgarre in the Goulburn Murray Cricket D grade grand final at Girgarre on Saturday.
It was an incredible display by the pair, taking their side from 4/47 to 4/155 to set up a commanding total of 9/196 from 35 overs.
Stanhope captain Brendan Densley said it was great to see Stanhope as the first name on the inaugural shield.
‘‘We’ve had a few defeats over the years, so it’s nice to get this one,’’ he said.
‘‘It feels pretty good, especially to win it with the kids.’’
Densley played alongside his sons Aaron, 10, and Josh, 12, in the premiership and said it was a moment he would treasure.
Girgarre won the toss and sent the visitors in to bat.
The decision seemed a wise one by Girgarre captain Craig Wickham as James Mackenzie-Ross and Tom Curnow each claimed a wicket in the first four overs to have the visitors at 2/12.
Hayden Durston and Gray went after the Girgarre bowlers to add 23 runs for the third wicket before Durston (7) became Mackenzie-Ross’ second victim.
Jason Norman could not make an impact as he fell for four runs and the home side seemed in control.
‘‘I thought we were in a bit of trouble at that stage, but I knew we could bat deep,’’ Densley said.
‘‘(Gray and Harrison) batted sensationally. Brendan used to make centuries as an A grade cricketer, so it came as no surprise.
‘‘Simon was definitely a surprise. He hadn’t played for a couple of weeks, but then to do that on grand final day was amazing.’’
The match-winning partnership charged along at 7.5 runs an over until Harrison’s innings, which included nine boundaries, came to an end when his stumps were cleaned up by Curnow (2/18).
Jack Hepburn (5) came and went as Jake Tooley (2/51) struck for his second scalp and Stanhope was 6/167.
The tail tried to avoid the strike as Gray chased a century.
But time escaped him, finishing unbeaten at the crease with two sixes and six boundaries.
It was Gray’s first half-century of the season and consequently his highest score for 2012-13.
Shane Walker (2/47) and Justin Wickham (1/35) helped clean up the tail for Girgarre, as the home side prepared for a monster run chase with a required run rate of 5.63 an over.
It was a promising start for the minor premiers as Darren Butler and Barry Fletcher put on 18 runs in three overs.
But the partnership eventually came unstuck when Fletcher (13) was caught off a Billy Newton delivery.
Ben Walker (2) fell the next over to Norman, who then struck again three balls later to have Billie Gahan out for a duck and Girgarre was 3/24.
The wickets continued to tumble as Norman (3/16) dismissed Justin Wickham (3) and Newton (3/28) took care of Tyler Norton (0) and McKenzie-Ross (0).
Stanhope had complete control of the match, with Butler struggling to find a partner who could stick around long enough.
At 6/43 things were looking grim for Girgarre and when Butler was finally dismissed for 34 by Jack Hepburn (2/4), any hope of victory was diminished.
The last three wickets fell for six runs as Gray (1/4) and Aaron Densley (1/1) notched grand final wickets.
Densley, the youngest member of the side, and Ross Sheers, the oldest member, combined to dismiss Craig Wickham (0) and claim the premiership.
Girgarre finished all out for 75 in the 25th over.
Densley said defending 196 should have been a simple task.
‘‘We knew we had to get early wickets,’’ he said.
‘‘For them to win would have meant we either bowled really bad or they batted out of their skins.
‘‘We got those few early wickets and kept going through them. Our bowlers bowled really well.’’
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