Can Tigers start new cricket era?
IS a new cricketing era about to begin?
That was the question being asked yesterday after Coffs Tigers swept aside the challenge of Sawtell to seal their place in the Coffs Harbour District Cricket Association grand final.
Tigers will face up to reigning premiers Park Beach Bowling Club Colts but when the form guide was being perused before the first over was bowled last October, few gave them a hope of getting this far.
Proving the doubters wrong will be oh so sweet.
The club last won a top grade premiership in 2002-03 and was known by the historical title of West Coffs when they last made a season decider in 2004-5.
As minor premiers and captain-coached by Brad Greenshields, they were skittled by Sawtell who went on to win an unprecedented five straight titles.
On that occasion, man of the match was Ben Andrews and ironically, the gutsy all-rounder led the Blue Caps at the weekend.
Hero of the day was batsman Nic Rowe who defied everything Sawtell could throw at him to finish unbeaten on 113.
With a succession of partners he painstakingly built a mighty innings and despite Dave Angus picking off the tail one by one, the 233 total on the card proved too great a target to chase down.
“I had a life around 40 when Jeff Butterworth put me down but just tried to remain cool-headed and keep the scoreboard ticking over,” a humble Rowe remarked.
“But it was nice to get a hundred against Sawtell as they are a very tough side to get on top of.
“Just the same it was a team effort with everybody sticking together to get the rewards.”
Rowe also scored an unbeaten century against Sawtell in the opening game last year and another big innings against Colts wouldn't surprise.
Coming in to bat, Sawtell dug in and tried to make as few errors as possible but the dream ended on 146 and still a long way in arrears.
“In hindsight I have to admit I got a bit anxious watching Nic bat, especially when we dropped him early and then gave him another opportunity later on,” Sawtell skipper Ben Andrews said.
“We got the first three or four wickets fairly cheaply and let them get away.
“A lot of things can happen in the course of two days but that's how it goes and we'll enjoy a couple of beers and start planning for next season.”
Next weekend's first grade grand final will be played at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park's No.1 wicket.
The second grade grand final between Northern Districts and Urunga will be played adjacent on the No.2 wicket while the third grade decider featuring Sawtell and Nana Glen will take place at Brelsford Park.