In two previous grand finals against Rochester United, Kyabram Fire Brigade’s feared batting line-up hasn’t been able to produce its best.
But that same problem didn’t come to haunt the Flames for a third straight year, largely thanks to a devastating partnership between English import Henry Charlton and club legend Paul Newman.
The pair teamed up at 4-75, and by the time they were both out they’d swung the game dramatically, the side 6-198 and given the perfect platform to go on and make a sensational 301.
Charlton’s 78 took 189 balls, his patience and ability to put away the bad balls winning him the man of the match award.
The Englishman was keen to give props to his adopted club, thrilled to be able to help deliver a third flag in five years.
‘‘It’s a massive day for the club, especially with what they’ve been through the last two years,’’ Charlton said.
‘‘One man doesn’t win a two-day game of cricket, it’s a massive team game and since Christmas we’ve played like the best team in the competition.
‘‘What we did today was fully deserved, and massive for the club.’’
Skipper Daniel Kent said even at 4-75, he had full faith in his dynamic duo.
‘‘There was no real message to them, we just wanted them to bat the way they normally bat,’’ he said.
‘‘Henry just bats time, he did that perfectly, and Paul plays his shots and they did that to a tee.
‘‘They really complemented each other, and that was the match-winning partnership.’’
Charlton said Newman’s legendary aura was the perfect way to calm the nerves.
‘‘When you see Paul Newman walk out to bat, you just relax,’’ he said.
‘‘You know he’s an absolute gun, so there’s just not as much pressure on you.
‘‘The way he’s done it for years and years, he’s an absolute legend and makes it easier for everyone.’’
The opening batsman saved his highest score for the biggest game of the season, finishing his campaign with 442 runs at an average of 31.6.
‘‘I’ve loved (my time at the club), absolutely loved it,’’ Charlton said.
‘‘I couldn’t have been luckier coming to Fire Brigade, what a great club. I really landed on my feet out here with everyone I’ve met, just a lot of great people.’’