A Grade Division 1 premiers, Inverloch, back, from left, Clay Tait, Jason Smith, Darien Mathews, Ryan Thomas, James Jesson, Wal Taberner; front, Ben Thomas, Will Rankin, Kit Rotthier, Dylan Clark, Brett Debono and Lew Rankin.
• A Grade Division 1
YEARS of hard work by the Inverloch Cricket Club was rewarded on the weekend, with the Stingrays enjoying an emphatic win over Nerrena in the A Grade Division 1 grand final.
Premiership success has been a long time coming for the Inverloch’s First XI, with the club’s last premiership in the top grade coming in 2000/2001, with a win in A Grade Division 2 in 2002/2003 seeing them return to the top flight where they’ve stayed since.
The Stingrays have featured in every finals series for the past six years, including a grand final loss to the Wonthaggi Workmen’s in 2011/12.
Inverloch Cricket Club president Bill Aikins paid tribute to captain/coach Kit Rotthier.
“It was his hard work with the A Grade players and his commitment that got us there, and the commitment of the players too,” he said.
“He played a huge part in it and once again led by example, making 82 runs and taking wickets.
“When you get a bunch of guys together, it’s settled and they know how each other works, it does help a hell of a lot.”
Bill said the celebrations went well into the night at the Inverloch clubrooms.
“Grandparents, parents and kids were there – it was a very good family atmosphere,” he said.
“They were bloody good, it’s a job well done by them.
“It gives the club a hell of a boost.”
Inverloch won the toss and batted at the Leongatha Turf before registering a competitive total of 208 on day one.
Openers Walter Taberner and Brett Debono got the Stingrays off to a steady start before Debono was caught off the bowling of Paul Matheson for 19.
Will Rankin departed shortly after without troubling the scorers before Rotthier joined Taberner at the crease.
The pair took the score to 77 before Taberner was brought undone by Ryan Clark for a well-made 35.
Rotthier continued to bat with poise and shared an important 77-run middle-order partnership with Clay Tait to consolidate the Stingrays’ innings.
Gerard Murphy entered the fray for the Red Caps and had immediate success, removing Tait for 31 before bowling the dangerous Dylan Clark for a duck.
An inspired spell of bowling by Nerrena’s Josh Trease saw him have Rotthier caught behind for what proved to be a match-winning knock of 82.
With the score at 6/185, the important wicket of Rotthier gave Trease a spark as he ripped through the tail to have Inverloch all out for 208.
Trease finished with 5/61 from 24.2 overs.
The lethal Inverloch bowling attack proved to be up to the challenge on day two.
Rotthier continued his stellar match to have opener Dave Trotman caught for two, before Red Caps’ skipper Mitch Clark was caught for 12 off the bowling of Darien Mathews.The Red Caps were quickly in trouble at 5/52, with Mathews bowling Murphy and Damien Symmons to turn the match heavily in Inverloch’s favour.Nerrena’s chances of an unlikely victory all but disappeared when Dave Baldi and Ryan Clark were dismissed in quick succession – the Caps reeling at 7/57.Paul Matheson would not give in, though, and put in a defiant batting display.
Caine Salmon, 17, and Brendan Hayes, 18, provided good support to give Nerrena a pulse but there was to be no stopping the Stingrays as Josh Trease was well caught by Lewie Rankin off the bowling of Ben Thomas to give Inverloch the premiership.
Matheson remained 60 not out in an honourable effort as his side was bowled out for 164.
Rotthier was the obvious choice for the man of the match, with 82 runs and 3/51 off 20 overs.