Saturday’s C Grade GF pitted the season’s two best teams against each other, with each side having gotten the better of the other once during the season.
Ashbourne skipper Scott Brookes won the toss & boldly elected to field 1st. Fortunately, the Echidnas made a solid start, with regular openers Jason Rehn & Oscar Chapman putting on 62 before Oscar departed for 23, followed immediately by Flynn on the stroke of drinks to see the match evenly poised at 2/64. During the drinks break the heavens opened up, even including some hail but the umpires soon recommenced play with Oliver Lukins, in his 150th, falling for 1 before the umpires again halted play due to further rain with the Echidnas suddenly precariously placed at 3/65.
After an approximate 45 min delay during which the mats were lifted up and blow dried, play resumed with 15 yo Jaxon Lynn joining Jase at the crease. The two would stabilise the innings, putting on 57 in only 10 overs before a calling calamity saw Jason BBQ’d for 67 from 78 balls, with Jacko following just 4 runs later for a well made 28. Another wicket soon after saw Wistow slump to 6/130 with only 4 overs remaining. Fortunately, some late hitting from the veteran duo of Hayden Bolto (22 from 15, 2 sixes) & “the finisher” Clinton Smith (13* from 4, 2 sixes) lifted the Echidnas’ to 165 despite being bowled out with a couple of balls in hand.
The Bulls went into the chase full of confidence, having successfully chased down 177 inside 31 overs just a fortnight earlier at the same venue. Regular openers, skipper Jordan & Hillary set to work, with Hillary grabbing a couple of early breakthroughs to see things evenly poised at 2/34 after 10 overs. Jason took over from Hillary and collected another wicket to send the Bulls into drinks at 3/76, the match in the balance but with the Echidnas still grappling with how to get star Bull, Anthony “Fudge” Farrugia out, who had contributed 60 of the Bulls 76, after making 121* of their 177 a fortnight earlier.
Hillary returned straight after drinks to collect his 3rd wicket (& finish with 3/22) but whilst Fudge continued on, the experienced duo of Jase & Hayden began to tighten the screws, pushing the required rate close to a run-a-ball. When Hayden lured Fudge into a loose shot early in his spell only to see a routine chance dropped, it seemed as if the Echidnas were in for another Fudge masterclass. Fortunately, the very next over Jase got the key breakthrough, luring Fudge into a top edge which was safely held by Flynn in front of the tanks a couple of metres inside the boundary. With Fudge departing for 83 (from a team total of 102) Ashbourne desperately needed another batter to stand up but were unable to find one as Oscar Chapman (3/20) matadored his way through the Bulls’ tail on the cusp of stumps to see Wistow home to a 41 run victory just after 6.30pm.
A few bits & pieces:-
Jason was the well-deserved player of the match for his 67 & 2/29 from 7 overs;
– Young Jacko was brilliant, in addition to his poised 28 he had two (2) catches, a run out & two (2) brilliant stumpings off Hillary’s bowling;
– What better way to celebrate your 150th match for the WCC than with a Premiership? Well for Oliver, together with fellow longtime Echidnas, Jordan & Hayden, it was a 3rd Premiership, with the trio having also played together in the 2012/13 B Grade & 2015/16 C Grade Premierships;
– That 2012/13 GF was also the most recent time that Ashbourne & Wistow had clashed in a GF.  In addition to the trio of Oli, Jordan & Hayden, the Bulls had two players from that match playing on Saturday, Tony Randall and Fudge, who also top scored for the Bulls with 53 in that match;
– Finally, a rumour did the rounds afterwards that Fudge may be planning to retire. 
An absolute gun of a player who has made runs for fun against the Echidnas (including scores of 121*, 114*, 90, 89 & 83), we’re not sure if it’s true but if it is, we wish him all the very best.
Up the Echidnas!!!