ROCHESTER humbled Kyabram Fire Brigade on their way to winning its third Goulburn Murray Cricket A grade title in four years at the weekend.
The yellow and blue crushed the Flames, the reigning premiers, by a whopping 114 runs at the Moama Recreation Reserve in the A grade grand final.
The result was largely thanks to an exceptional performance with bat and ball from stalwart Dylan Cuttriss, who was also named MVP of the grand final.
Rochester’s skipper Tim Bubb had won the toss and elected to bat first on Saturday.
Bubb opened the batting and was out soon after having only made one run from six balls.
After that shaky (and nerve-wracking) start, Rochester settled into their work.
The top order regained composure until the second wicket fell at 2/38.
It started a collapse which set Rochy back to 5/42 and included the key wicket of Vibhor Yadav for a duck after his magnificent 161 the previous week in the semi-final win over Tongala.
The bowling of Kyabram Fire Brigade duo Mick Mattingly and Marx de Villiers was proving too much to handle.
Fortunately for Rochester, the collapse brought Cuttriss (79) and Tim Rasmussen (37) to the crease and who set about righting the ship, smashing a match-winning 105-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Rasmussen fell off Mattingly’s bowling.
Cuttriss bashed 12 boundaries to help Rochy set a decent total.
Jake Perry made 24 off 67 balls and Liam Ringin finished the day 18 not out as Rochy ended the first day’s day play on 225 from 76 overs.
Brodie Unwin (3/65) and Mattingly (3/70) claimed the most wickets for Fire Brigade.
On Sunday, Rochester came out firing from the outset, claiming wicket-keeper and opener Justin Elliott for a second-ball duck.
Cuttriss was the man who was able to knock over the dangerous Elliott, with the Rochy spearhead keen to back up his strong performance with the bat.
Elliott’s opening partner Marx de Villers didn’t last much longer, out for one off three balls and another notch in the Cuttriss belt.
Next to go was Mattingly, who fell leg before for a duck (in a case of déjà vu for Mattingly, who also made a duck in the 2017/18 grand final) to Liam Ringin.
It left Fire Brigade reeling with the scoreboard reading 3/4.
Ben Langley provided some resistance, making nine runs off 34 deliveries before falling leg before and becoming the third scalp for Cuttriss.
But the biggest surprise of all was the fifth wicket — Paul Newman.
For years the rock on which the team has succeeded, Newman looked on song when he clubbed two boundaries in quick succession.
But a Ringin delivery provided enough for Newman to edge behind to Rasmussen’s waiting gloves, dismissed for eight off 31 balls.
Dale Shaw (15) and skipper Daniel Kent (34) put together a 32-run partnership before Shaw fell for the sixth wicket.
Jayden Rosin contributed just two runs before falling to Vibhor Yadav’s bowling, leaving Fire Brigade at 7/66 — with more pain to come.
A 44-run partnership ensued when Jake Gascoyne stepped up alongside Kent. Gascoyne was eventually dismissed for a quickfire 26 off 29, leaving Fire Brigade eight down for 110.
The final two wickets fell in quick succession, adding just one run to the total and giving Rochester a comprehensive victory.
Cuttriss (3/21) was the pick of the bowlers, adding to his half-century with the bat.
His stunning all-round performance rightfully saw him awarded the player of match.
Yadav took 3/28 and Rasmussen claimed an incredible five catches as wicket-keeper in what was a fitting way to end his A grade season.
It was the third title in four years for Rochester, with the previous two coming as Rochester United before the club’s merger with Rochester Tigers ahead of the 2018/19 season.