FGDCA: Upwey-Tecoma wins cup

Good times: Upwey Tecoma players celebrate the wicket of Eildon Park star Cam Cosstick during day two of the Knox Tavern Cup grand final on Sunday. Upwey Tecoma won the premiership. Pictures: Rob Carew Hot hit: Eildon Park’s Shane Cosstick hits a cover drive on Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

UPWEY-Tecoma claimed its first Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association’s Knox Tavern Cup in 10 years, beating Eildon Park at Upwey Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

The Tigers entered the final as favourites but faced a Panthers side desperate for another premiership.

Feaver Medallist Sam Taylor laid the foundation with 88 not out on day one as the Tigers won the toss and batted, making 248 on Saturday.

The Panthers were stung by the dismissals of stars Cam and Shane Cosstick on day two as the Tigers bowled them out for 214 to claim the premiership.

Tigers bowlers, 42-year old seamer Justin Smith (4-35) and Leigh Bianchi (4-79), and were the chief destroyers.

Tigers captain-coach Matt Mulcahy said the premiership was not just for the players but for the communities of Upwey and Tecoma.

“This goes beyond the playing group, it’s about everyone involved in the club,” he said. “It was an unbelievable feeling of relief and happiness when we had finally won. That game was a high quality grand final which ebbed and flowed for two days.”

Mulcahy paid tribute to his whole side for their contributions in the grand final, from Taylor and Ryan Pitts (46) on day one to a stunning catch by teenager Jake Evans and Smith’s four wickets on day two.

“After tea, Evans took an amazing catch and from that point on the game changed and we got the last few wickets,” he said.

Taylor and Smith provided compelling stories to the Tigers premiership. Taylor joined the Tigers from Premier Cricket side Richmond before last season on the advice of his good friend Mulcahy.

The Tigers skipper said Taylor had loved his time back in club cricket. “I don’t think Sam realised how much he would enjoy playing at this club,” he said. “You could tell he was very determined to bat for a long time – he never lost his head.”

Mulcahy said Smith was an emotional figure after the game. “Justin came to us from Upper Ferntree Gully last season,” he said.

“This year one of our players moved to South Australia and he came into the side. We had our backs against the wall on day two so I threw him the ball and told him to give it everything he had.

“He ended up with four wickets for not many runs. This was his first flag, I think he couldn’t believe his luck.”

To cap off the weekend the Tigers’ second side also won its grand final. Knox Gardens beat Lysterfield in the De Coite Shield final.

For more pictures from the Knox Tavern Cup grand final, click on multimedia link to picture gallery, above right.