Both Southern Eurobodalla Pirates teams have hit their straps in 2017.
While some inopportune washouts meant it was too late for C Grade to make the finals, the firsts came home with a wet sail to finish sixth, placing them in the B Grade semis. The semi-final at home to Mallacoota was a washout. Since the Pirates finished ahead on the table, they went through to the final without a ball being bowled.
The final was away to Pambula where the Pirates won the toss and elected to bat. It was an understandably cautious start by openers Dean Friskin and Jordan Dibden with each facing a maiden before Dibden scored a tension-breaking three from the first ball of the third. Frisken was off the mark from the very next ball and both breathed a little easier as they set about their work. When Dibden was caught for 10 off the penultimate ball of the 9th, it was hard to tell who was on top.
David Sweet joined Friskin and played his typical steadying role. The Pambula opening bowlers were seen off, and the pair settled into a healthy partnership. Pirates’ hearts sank when Friskin fell in the very first over after drinks for a well-built 32. Captain Ben Dibben strode to the crease with the match in the balance. When Sweet fell for 15, the score read 28 overs, 3 for 70. It was a run rate of just 2.6 per over.
Sam Young joined his captain at the crease with a licence to accelerate. In just 11 overs, the pair more than doubled the score with smart running interspersed with a smattering of boundaries. Dibben smote 13 off the final 5 balls, including a six, to ice the innings totalling a respectable 161.
It was time for opening bowlers Nick Mason and Brendon Connor to feel the weight of responsibility. Mason started with his customary maiden.
To call what followed match changing was an understatement. Connor broke the stumps on the first and last ball of his second over. Mason matched him with a wicket in his next. The pair bowled six overs, 5 for 0 to have Pambula reeling at 5 for 10 in the ninth. It was an astonishing spell of fast bowling that all but won the match for the Pirates.
With threatening rain, The Pirates shifted their focus from wickets to over rate, bringing on spin from both in ends in the form of Dean Friskin and Matthew Klose. Pambula were 7 for 21 at the end of the 13th. Only rain could save them.
The next seven overs were fast and tense. But with the pitch dry after 20, the Pirates were assured of victory. To their credit, the Pambula tail batted stoically to be all out in the 36th over for 79.
It was a legendary result to bid farewell to a legendary pair of Pirates, with Matthew Corbett and coach Frank Caruana announcing their retirements.
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