The Empire strikes back to win grand final

The Empire cricket team won the 2018/2019 Senior Cricket 40 Overs grand final on Saturday upsetting the minor premiers, Nymagee, to win by 66 runs.

The Empire cricket team well and truly ruffled the feathers of the Nymagee Magpies cricket side in Saturday’s 40 grand final with Empire claiming a convincing 66 runs win.

The Empire side was slow to get started on Saturday morning at Ward Oval in contrast to the competition’s minor premiers, Nymagee, who were keen to get the big game going.

Batting first, Empire didn’t have the best of starts with opener Clay Neale (4) bowled lbw in just the second over.

Jake Harbison (4) followed in the next over and Empire’s other opening batsman, Jay Egan (5) departed in the 5th over with the score at just 13.

Man of the Match, big hitting Robbie Mitchell then entered the game and steadied the Empire innings.

Mitchell hit eight fours and two sixers on his way to an innings of 57 (the top score of the match) before he was caught off the bowling of Travis Buckman in the 21st over with the score at 4/97.

Justin Kelly added a further 25 runs to Empire’s total, Patrick Harris contributed 10, and Slade Neale (20).

The Empire tail wagged a bit with Tom McKenna (24 not out) and Evan Rice (13) seeing their team through to a defendable total of 177 before Rice was run out in the 37th over.

Nymagee bowler Pat Dillon finished with figures of 3/48, James McClure took 2/22, Travis Buckman 2/28, Mark ‘George’ Fraser 1/24 and Phil Harley contributed with 1/31.

In reply, Nymagee openers Roger Mitchell (24) and Mitch Holt (36) got their side off to a good start and took the score along to 42 before Mitchell was caught out off the bowling of Evan Rice in the 10th over.

Rice was also responsible for the next wicket of James McClure who went for 12 in the 16th over but with the score at 2/81, Nymagee was still tracking ahead of the Empire run-rate at this stage of the game.

That was however until they lost their next three wickets for just six runs which heralded a batting collapse for the Nymagee team from which they couldn’t recover.

Holt was caught out and was quickly followed by his Nymagee team mates Stephen Nicholson (3), Phil Harley (2) and Pat Dillon (4).

Their tailenders Tony Polack (4 not out) and Mark ‘George’ Fraser (6) were unable to resuscitate their innings as the Empire bowlers ripped through the Nymagee line-up.

Travis Dunlevy finished with the best bowling figures for Empire taking three wickets and conceding just 11 runs in his four overs bowling spell.

Jay Egan also bowled well taking 3/16 from his 5.4 overs.

Rice finished with 2/42 from his eight overs and Justin Kelly claimed one wicket in his five overs and conceded 17 runs.

Empire were able to start celebrating their win early as Nymagee was quickly dismissed for 111 by the 28th over.