Brad Kernahan and Dylan Winter showed the value of experience as they guided Albion to a dominant win in the Borton Cup final on Saturday.
Albion, champion for three consecutive years before dipping out in the semifinals last summer, regained the symbol of North Otago club cricket supremacy by crushing defending champion Waitaki Boys’ High School by 107 runs at Centennial Park.
“The boys are pretty excited about having it back,” captain Ricky Whyte told the Oamaru Mail
“They’re not used to the cup being in other people’s hands.”
Albion, a side that oozes experience, was making its seventh appearance in a Borton Cup final in nine seasons.
The Mungers took a few rounds to get going this summer but their captain was happy to wait till the crunch end of the season before assessing whether a return to glory was likely.
“You’re never really sure until you get on the paddock and see how strong the team is looking, but you normally have a fair idea by Christmas,” Whyte said.
“We came together really well and got stuck in over the second half of the season.”
Seasoned campaigners often play crucial roles in finals, and Albion got major contributions from two of its top men, the evergreen Kernahan and Winter.
The pair came together when Albion was teetering at 57 for four after choosing to bat, and promptly put on a 100-run partnership that turned the game around. Kernahan top-scored with 55 and Winter added an invaluable 35 to guide Albion to 205.
“We were in big trouble, really, and we definitely needed someone to dig in,” Whyte said.
“Dyl’s had a bit of a lean run with the bat but he sort of stuck in there and came right at the right time. And Brad’s just a guy who seems to score runs when we need him.
“We thought 205 would be very hard not to defend. The ball was doing plenty, and we knew we were a great chance if we got early wickets.
“Everything seemed to come together.”
All the Albion bowlers got among the wickets as Waitaki Boys’ was rolled for 98.
Whyte led the way with three for 28, Winter, Jeremy Smith and Brady Kingan all claimed two wickets, and Kernahan added one for 17.
The average age of the Albion XI was comfortably in the 30s, but Whyte said there were no retirements on the horizon, and the club made the most of having a strong core of veteran players.
“As far as I know, everybody will be back next season.
“I think it comes down to us being good mates and having a bit of fun together. We don’t just turn up in the summer to play a few games of cricket.”
Waitaki Boys’ could not repeat its fairytale win of 2015-16 but there is still plenty of young talent in the squad.
A major prospect is Mason James, who had the bowling figures of the day – five for 36 off 10 – while youngster Sam Senior claimed two wickets.
* Glenavy beat the Waitaki Boys’ Second XI in the senior reserve final.
Valley made it seven straight wins in second grade with a nine-wicket shellacking of Oamaru in the final.
The highlight was Hamish Loe’s haul of five wickets for a single run. Oamaru was rolled for 58, and Kelvin Mansfield guided Valley to victory with an unbeaten 35.