Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Flames dig deep to capture crown

Kyabram Fire Brigade has called on all its finals experience to defeat Tongala and lift Goulburn Murray Cricket's A-grade trophy.

MATTHEW GALEA March 17, 2014 4:15am

Kyabram Fire Brigade celebrates premiership glory.

Some may have thought they were dwindling, but the Flames are well and truly burning.

Kyabram Fire Brigade defeated Tongala by 71 runs in the first innings to secure its first Goulburn Murray Cricket A-grade title in the second year of competition.

No strangers to success, the Flames needed every ounce of finals experience to navigate the two-day match, especially after being bowled out for 176 after just more than 77 overs on the first day.

Andrew Nunn tore through the Flames’ batting line-up, notching five wickets, bowling five maidens for 43 runs in 16 overs, while Darin Ohlsen also took two wickets from his 28 overs that included 10 maidens.

But for a last-wicket partnership of 36, the Flames’ total of 176 could have looked a lot slimmer, and Flames captain Daniel Kent admitted the pressure was on during the first day of play.

‘‘I was nervous. We were nine for 140 and I didn’t think we’d have enough runs, but that last partnership was crucial,’’ Kent said.

‘‘It’s a lot harder to chase (176) than it is to chase 140, so while I wasn’t overly happy with it, I knew they weren’t overly renowned for their batting and with our bowling attack we’re always a chance, but we had to take some wickets that night.’’

That’s exactly what they did, taking four wickets from the 20 overs left to play on day one.

‘‘To get that was huge, but Darin (Ohlsen) was looking really good last night and really composed, so I thought he was a bit of a danger and we wanted to get him out as early as we could on day two,’’ Kent said.

They managed that as well, courtesy of a well-constructed over from man-of-the-match Tyrone Isitt, who took Ohlsen’s wicket with an in-swinging yorker.

Isitt would finish the match with four wickets and four maidens from his 24 overs, making up for his disappointing score of seven with the bat.

The wickets continued to fall for the Blues with alarming regularity, with a brave final stand from Andrew Good helping to push Tongala into triple figures and up to 105 going into lunch, but he was caught on the first ball following the break to confirm the first-innings loss.

With 50 overs remaining in the day, Good sent the Flames back into bat, but it quickly became apparent the collapse the Blues needed simply wasn’t going to happen, with Joe Taylor making more than 50 in 22 overs.

A 1-82 after 22 overs, Good decided enough was enough and conceded defeat.

‘‘There’s always a possibility that you might roll them for 50 and get back in, and in a grand final you don’t want to have any ‘what ifs’,’’ Good said.

‘‘If you come into any grand final and bowl them out in the first day, you’d take them every time and to bowl them out for 176 we were right in it and probably shouldn’t lose from there.

‘‘It’s a bit of a snapshot of our season.’’

Flames captain Kent said the club’s first GMC triumph ranked as one of the sweetest he had won with the Flames.

‘‘It’s hard to compare and they’re all sweet, but just the standard in this comp is a lot better and there’s 11 clubs, so it’s much harder to win,’’ Kent said.

‘‘Just winning three finals in a row is bloody hard, so this one is really special, and we’re going to enjoy it.’’

Kent said the secret to the Flames’ success was in their application.

‘‘We’re by far the oldest group and some of us are overweight, but we have ability, character and finals experience and I don’t think you can replace that,’’ Kent said.

‘‘I don’t think we had the best team, but we got the most out of our team.’’

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