After a tough season off-field for Union, being able to retain the Borton Cup in convincing fashion was just that little bit sweeter.
Union went back-to-back last Saturday, successfully defending the Borton Cup with a six-wicket win over St Kevin’s College in the final.
It was not the first time Union had won back-to-back titles – the club won the Borton Cup four years in a row, from 2009 to 2012.
In last Saturday’s final, Union appeared comfortable from the start, getting St Kevin’s all out for 107. Brad Fleming was strong, taking four wickets.
At the crease, opening batsman Jeremiah Shields made 33 runs easily; his brother Thomas Shields made 30.
Their starting contribution, helped by a few others, took Union to 108 for four to retain the cup.
Captain Jeremiah Shields said it was a satisfying end to the season, Union having won both the Borton Cup and the David Sewell Shield, as minor premiers.
Several Union players had experienced personal challenges off the field this season.
“It’s been a hard season for us … to do it like that in style was pretty great. It’s been hard work,” Shields said.
The side’s finals performance was the highlight of the season, alongside its semifinal win, defending 139 runs against Oamaru, which had been a test of character.
The semifinal was also an emotional game. Play was stopped so players could attend the funeral of Wayne Kinzett.
“There was a bit of emotion in that game – it was pretty special.”
Shields was full of praise for St Kevin’s College, Waitaki Boys’ High School and Glenavy, who all provided strong competition.
“They’ve really pushed us all the way.”
Union’s experience and depth had proved crucial this season.
Shields had been able to call upon different players each week to step up, and be key figures, especially important when five players had been involved in the Hawke Cup throughout the season.
Having young players in the ranks boded well for the future of the club, he said.