Opener gives thumbs up after maiden first grade premiership
The plan worked so well Magpies decided to do it twice.
Less than a week after Adam Zurvas was moved from the middle order to open alongside skipper Rhys McBride against Norths, Magpies went with the same strategy to great affect in Saturday night’s Dixon Homes Division 1 T20 Shootout grand final.
After Zurvas and McBride combined to take the game away from Norths in the final round of the regular season, the pair again provided the spark for Magpies – this time on a much bigger stage.
McBride played his usual big-hitting role and Zurvas the complementary rotator of the strike, as the pair put on a matchwinning opening stand of 81, chasing Norths’ 123.
When McBride departed for 62, Zurvas remained at the crease to see out the innings with a level of maturity belied by his lack of big game experience.
“I’ve been playing first grade for six or seven years now and I haven’t been in a final (until now),” Zurvas said.
“So to be in a final firstly and then to win, especially with the young side we have, is just amazing.”
With university commitments in Townsville keeping him away for the bulk of the one-day season, Zurvas returns for the T20s each season to bolster Magpies’ prospects.
His experience was particularly crucial this year, with the club boasting just three players over the age of 19.
At 20, Zurvas is the third-oldest in a Magpies line-up that shocked everyone to claim the spoils in the shorter format.
“For us to win a first grade premiership with an average age of 18 or 19 is pretty spectacular,” Zurvas said.
Magpies went unbeaten since the return to T20 action to claim the top prize, but their form with the bat was admittedly not stellar.
Zurvas said his move to the top of the order last week was in an effort to rectify their runscoring woes – and it worked.
“I used to always open up, but with me being away at uni and only playing part-time I’d been batting in the middle order,” he said.
“Our batting had been a bit of a weak point so we decided to change it up ... against Norths in the final round and it worked, so we stuck with it.
“I think Rhys and I complement each other well. I’m not a big hitter – I hit one boundary tonight. But all I had to do was feed him the strike and take the pressure off so he could play his game.”
Zurvas had the best seat in the house to watch McBride tee off of the grand final, including one over which went for 25 runs to break the game open in Magpies’ favour.
“It’s a great sight,” Zurvas said.
“Some of the sixes he hits are just phenomenal. He took pressure off our young batting line-up at the end as well. All we had to do was go out and knock it around to get the win.
“He’s one of the best players in Mackay and one of the best minds in Mackay.”
In his own right, Zurvas can be proud of the part he played in landing his club a rare T20 premiership.
“It’s something that I’ll cherish for a long time; playing a role in a first grade win,” he said.
“Those don’t come around very often, so to play a part like I did in a victory is phenomenal.”