Sport

Better late than never for Redbacks

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March 19, 2018

E grade premier: Kyabram claimed the Whitelock Shield with a 51-run win against Katandra.

Big effort: Kyabram's Damien Parsons gives it everything he has.

Big game player: Kyabram's Nicholas Ryan marked the grand final with 49 runs and two wickets.

Watch this: Katandra's Sam Smith hopes his lofted effort finds the gap.

Kyabram did not have an E-grade side until round four this season, but ended the campaign as premier after knocking off Katandra in Saturday’s Whitelock Shield grand final.

A strong batting display meant the Eagles would essentially control the decider from start to finish after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Opener Wayne O’Neill got things moving the right way with 25, but the star was Wes Shellie, who hit six fours on his way to an unbeaten 66.

Nicholas Ryan came within a single run of marking the grand final with a half-century, stumped for 49 after a swashbuckling innings that included three sixes.

After finishing its 40 overs at 8-217, Kyabram captain Peter Ryan said he was always confident his side could defend such a quality total.

‘‘I was really happy with the batting, fortunately we’d had a few guys recover just in time for finals,’’ he said.

‘‘We knew we had a strong bowling attack, so we were pretty confident.’’

In response, Katandra found a pair of half-centurions — Brodie Poole and Mitch Wilcox, who both made 51.

But the wickets tumbled around them, and the Eagles were always behind the eight ball, eventually falling 61 runs short.

Makenzie Ryan was the pick of the bowlers with 3-24 from five overs, with Chris Usher (2-17) and Nicholas Ryan (2-21) each picking up a couple.

Captain Ryan said his side had identified Katandra’s top-three batsmen as the decisive wickets to get, and benefited from a brilliant catch by young Aidan Robinson at gully, as well as a similarly quality catch from his father Colin.

And he added the late start to the season, combined with a family-feel in the side, made it a special win.

‘‘It was really good, we struggled to even get a team together and thought the club would only have three sides, just with a lack of commitment,’’ he said.

‘‘By round four we had the numbers, with a few old blokes and a few younger ones too.

‘‘My sons are there, Colin has his son, so that side of it is really good. There are a few other older guys too, so it’s really pleasing.’’

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