By “Pegs” and Brooke Haffenden
A MATCH-WINNING 83 from captain Braden Hickey set the foundations on day one for what turned out to be a fairytale finish to Broadford’s 2017/18 season.
The Red and Blacks sat near the top of the table all season, and when challenged by both bat and ball over the weekend they managed to find ways to keep in the contest, eventually claiming the premiership by three runs.
Club President Lee McKenzie was understandably thrilled with the result.
“It’s an amazing achievement and something we are super proud of as a club,” Mr McKenzie said.
“So much hardwork and effort goes into each and every season so to come away with the win is a credit to all involved.”
Mr McKenzie was full of praise for Captain Braden Hickey who was named man of the match.
“Braden has led from the front all season, but the leadership he showed this game in particular and the way he batted under difficult circumstances was first class and I couldn’t be prouder of his efforts,” Mr Mckenzie said.
A ‘nail biter’ match, Mr McKenzie said it was a testament to the clubs to have the best sides in the competition play in the Grand Final.
“Full credit must go to Avenel and their efforts this season, they’ve had a great year and it’s fitting that the two best teams played off in the Grand Final,” he said.
“Genuinely thrilled for our club, so much time and effort goes into each season and to come away victorious is an amazing result.
“It was a nail biter for the best part of two days, so to come away with the win was extremely satisfying.”
For the majority of the SDCA’s top division decider, it was the bowling that held sway, but Hickey’s 98-ball (nine boundaries) knock helped his side post what proved to be a defendable score of 176.
With Avenel’s bowlers Burke and Tingay on song, Broadford found themselves at a shaky 5-78 at the tea interval, before some staunch batting by the middle to late order gave their bowlers something to bowl at.
Hickey enjoyed strong partnerships with Evan Mills (30), Paul Withers (16) before number 11 batsman Nathan Woods (9 not out) stuck around with his skipper for a 34-run last wicket stand.
Avenel were then required to face an interesting 13 overs before stumps, in which openers Kasey Duncan and Max Jones negated without loss.
Day two began slowly before Woods dismissed Jones, shortly followed by Swans’ skipper Harry Wheeler for 0.
Duncan and Tom Burke then dug in for a 60-run stand that was broken on the cusp of tea when Burke fell LBW to Jeremey Bradshaw for 21.
An amazing leg side stumping by Ash Wood from the bowling of Jack Connell moments later had the game precariously placed at tea. Avenel needing 91 for victory, Broadford six wickets.
Moments after the re-start, Duncan (50 off 178), who had been the mainstay for Avenel, chopped on off the bowling of Connell to have the visitors 5-92.
A 52-run stand by Willie Wheeler (32) and Huw Jones appeared to be claiming the ascendency back in the visitors favour until Wheeler fell to Woods.
When Steve Donovan (12) was dismissed by Berry the game got interesting.
Avenel needed 13 runs for victory, Broadford 3 wickets.
When teenager Jones fell after an impressive knock of 29, it initiated a collapse of 3-0 and handed Broadford the premiership.
Cam Berry and Jack Connell collected 3 scalps apiece, Nathan Woods and Jeremy Bradshaw two in a true team bowling performance by Broadford.
Whilst Hickey deservedly claimed man of the match honours for his 83, he was quick to deflect the attention and praise not just to his team mates, but also to those behind the scenes that contribute to the club – a gesture not lost on anyone when the medal for the 12th-man was presented to long-time club scorer Scott McDougall.