On the opening day of the Grand Final barkly St won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on one of the seasons best days. Barkly St got off to a solid start before a brilliant pick up and throw by John Conte to Andrew Caithness led to the demise of danger man Jeff Law.
After this initial wicket the Wyndham side bowled extremely tight and accurately to place the heat right on the Barkly St boys. Along with the excellent bowling came fantastic and committed fielding to ensure the pressure was wound right up.
Matthew Bennett who was in the middle of one of his usual miserly spells allowed the young terlich boy to hit his first ball of his sixth over for an unconvincing boundary before trapping him Leg Before next ball for 32. Not long after this there was a double bowling change with Ross Patterson replacing the luckless Nick Powell and Laurie Grioli stepping in to replace Matthew Bennett.
These two bowlers firmly put the brakes on and turned the pressure tap up to the redline. The spell was devastating for Barkly St, who were ravaged by Laurie Grioli who grabbed career best figures of 5 for 26 off 13 nasty overs. His first wicket was an absolute cracker, bowling talented Barkly St veteran Jim Verduci with an awesome inswinger that left everyone aghast.
Curnow was next to leave the wicket after he nicked one to John Grioli behind the wicket and he gladly accepted the catch. Laurie now with 2 for not many took a brilliant Caught and Bowled to get rid of the very dangerous Shane Yates. Barkly St were now reeling and looked to be in real trouble, especially after both Gibbs and Maynard were caught behind the wicket.
Barkly St were in a ton of trouble at 7 for 91, thanks to Laurie's great spell and tight clinical bowling from Ross Patterson, who kept the pressure right on. With the tea break only a few overs away, the skipper decided he would have a bowl and was extremely unlucky not to have Summerfield caught behind right on the tea break. Still Barkly St were in a real mess 7/97 at tea.
After the tea break the Barkly St pair of Summerfield and McMahon batted with plenty of composure to take the score along to 7/160+ before their partnership was broken when the Skipper tempted McMahon to mistime a drive to Jamie Davies at Mid Off, who took a good catch.
Soon after Barkly St were dismissed for 177 after being 7/91. The caught behind last ball before tea was adjudged not out and cost the Wyndham boys a lot of runs. It was less than pleasing to have the batsmen let us know he nicked it.
With 7 overs still to be bowled it was up to the openers Mark Robinson and Jamie Davies to survive and come back to fight another day. Although there were some hostile delivers, most of the bowling was wide and short which caused no real concerns and Wyndham completed the day 0 for 6.
Saturday 23rd March 2002 dawned another beautiful day and an opportunity for the Wyndham boys to make history. Unfortunately the dream looked to be heading to be turning into a nightmare when Mark Robinson was dismissed in the 4th over of the day without addition to the overnight score. John Grioli joined Jamie Davies at the crease and he looked to be in rare form, but lost his wicket with an uppish drive to mid off. This left the score at 2/24 and the nightmare was alive and happening.
Laurie Grioli was next to the crease and he joined Jamie Davies who was next to depart after weathering a barrage of short pitched bowling, but ultimately letting himself down by getting out caught at the wicket. Andrew Caithness joined laurie and things did not improve with Laurie departing the scene with the score 4 for 42. HELP !!!!!!!!!!!
The Skipper Scott Miles strode defiantly to the crease and with Andrew set about rectifying the dire situation. These two managed to get to the tea break without further loss with a score of 4/92. On resumption things appeared to be going well but with the score on 107 and with a partnership of 65, Scott was dismissed for 22. The game was now back in the balance.
Trevor Bennett was next in and was going to play his natural attacking game. Unfortunately he was out stumped with the score on 118. This sent the shudders through the camp and the game result appeared to rest with Andrew Caithness who had compiled a patient and determined 41.
Following Trevor Bennett's dismissal Andrew was joined at the crease by John Conte in his first ever Grand Final and with an excess amount of pressure riding on his shoulders, which only increased 10 fold after his partnership with Andrew Caithness was ended on one, when Andrew was bowled.
The score was now 7 for119 and two new batsmen at the crease. John was joined by Matthew Bennett who had sat all day with a steely resolve in his eye. Together they formed a partnership that was full of maturity and class given the amount of pressure and the magnitude of this game.
They put together 58 beautiful runs, which was made all the more extraordinary after John tore a Quad muscle and required a runner. Trevor Bennett was the man chosen and the three of them communicated efficiently and effectively to take the game away from Barkly St.
Unfortunately with the winning runs insight Matthew Bennett was dismissed for a very well compiled 27, which would be the most important of his career to date. Nick Powell who had bowled without luck came out to the middle and smashed one over cover to bring the flag home to Wyndham. John Conte was 27 Not Out and was a very proud man at the end of the day.
The clubs 3rd ever first grade flag, but the very first under the Wyndham name. It was eight hard and at times frustrating years in the making, but worth every up and down along the journey to experience the euphoria of the victory.
Congratulations to all of the players involved and a special Thank You to Wayne Jones for scoring and all of the supporters who came along to watch.