A controversial fortnight for the Port Augusta Cricket Association has ended with the season’s best side, South Augusta, claiming the premiership shield.
After they were on the brink of their third flag in a row last week, Quorn had to gear up again for a Grand Final replay when the heat intervened.
They weren’t so lucky this time, as Craig Shirley lead the Bulldog attack to restrict their opponents to 92.
It took nine batsmen and 24 overs for South to achieve the target, but nonetheless the Bulldogs are the 2018-19 A-Grade premiers.
In much more suitable conditions at ETSA Oval, Quorn batted first and started well with Alex Hosking and Liam Bury negotiating the first 15 overs.
From there, things took a turn for the worse, as Ben Trewartha dismissed Hosking for 16 and then Scott Williams for zero.
With those two wickets, South continued to ride the momentum and took the next four wickets for just 30 runs when Craig Shirley tore through the middle order.
Matt Griffiths, Tom Finlay, Simon George and Corey Finlay all fell to the Association’s leading wicket-taker, as Quorn stumbled to 6/72.
Bury was still there doing all he could to keep his side in the game, but he kept losing partners.
Shirley picked up two more scalps, before Aaron Vater got his chance and took the final two wickets to have Quorn all out for 92.
Bury finished not out on 51 and certainly played his part, but Hosking was the only other batsman to reach double figures.
Shirley’s player of the match performance of 6/16 was backed up by Vater and Trewartha, who each picked up two wickets.
After bowling his side into the box seat, Shirley then had to go out and open the batting for South along with Corey Cuffe.
However, his efforts with the ball didn’t carry over after the innings break, as he was the first man dismissed, with Tom Finlay sending him back for one.
The two youngest players in the South side, Cuffe and Will Waterworth, were left to get things up and running and managed to get them to 34 before they both got out in quick succession.
First, Cuffe was out LBW off Karl Finlay for 18 and then Corey Finlay saw Waterworth off for nine.
With a third of the total achieved, Greg Shirley and Marcus Gill looked to trim the margin even further as Shirley cut loose.
He blasted four fours and two sixes in his innings of 30, and by the time Corey Finlay dismissed the leading run-scorer, South only needed 26 more runs to win.
Gill had to relinquish his role as spectator that he was enjoying while Shirley was out in the middle with him and take charge.
He kept things moving with Todd Kernahan and brought the shield within reach, but then Tom Finlay came back on and gave the South camp a mini scare, taking three late wickets when they only needed four to win.
However, Quorn weren’t going to get that lucky, as Gill finished it off and his 21-not-out saw South to their first premiership win in six years.
The end to season 2018/19 will be talked about for many years to come, but after losing only two games all summer, South deservedly got to hold the shield high.