Pride of a new dad
By MITCHELL DALE
AT 5.35pm yesterday, Sawtell pace bowler Lawson Jarman waltzed out of the Richardson Park canteen clutching a box of 30 Tooheys New cans with all the pride of a new dad holding his first-born.
Seconds later, despondent Coffs Hotel Tigers veteran Grant Purdy emerged from the same room carrying a lonely banana in a plastic container. It was a poignant snapshot of the 2004-2005 first grade cricket grand final.
That's not saying anything against the Coffs Coast's favourite yellow, potassium-filled export, but a banana is hardly the foundation for a night of celebrations.
As the beer flowed in the Sawtell dressing room, the sounds of 'Mighty mighty Sawtell' echoed for all to hear.
Sawtell deserved the celebrations.
Throughout the 2004-2005 finals series, they proved themselves to be, without a doubt, the best cricket side in the Coffs Harbour and District Cricket Association.
Their 52-run victory over Tigers in the decider was built on a solid platform on Saturday and clinched by a relentless performance with the ball on Sunday.
There were times on both days when Coffs Hotel Tigers looked half a show, but on reflection, Sawtell always held the upper hand from the time the coin landed their way at the toss.
Sawtell were steady, if not tediously slow, on Saturday, plodding along to 6-207 from 79 overs at stumps before launching a whirlwind attack on Tigers' bowlers yesterday morning, thumping 57 runs from eight overs.
That gave the home side a total of 264 to defend, with opener Kel McMillan (50) and left-handers Alex Pearson (52) and Phillip Hughes (50) all registering half-centuries.
In reply, Tigers started strongly, with Hugh Campbell (24) and Matt Secomb (39) adding 53 for the first wicket. Tigers captain-coach Brad Greenshields (56) then did his best to hold the side's innings together, but his knock wasn't enough and the minor premiers were bowled out for 212.
It was the bearer of the celebratory drinks, Jarman, who was the chief destroyer for Sawtell yesterday, snaring 4-60 from 21 overs.
Fellow new-ball bowler Ben Andrews (3-47 from 18 overs) was equally impressive, while all-rounder Jason Hughes was economical and effective, taking 2-35 from 19.
For Jarman, 33, it was sweet revenge.
"Yeah, I'm pretty stoked, this is the first grand final I have won," Jarman said. "I have been in two other grand finals and lost them both.
"(Both losses) were to West Coffs (Tigers), so this is pretty sweet."
Sawtell's victory gives 21-year-old skipper Todd Gill a perfect record.
"Yeah, one from one, you can't ask for much more than that," Gill said.
"I was pretty confident overnight, I hoped we would about another 50 this morning, which is what we did.
"I knew we could defend that score if we just did the same thing we have done all year (with the ball) and that's bowl a good tight line."