IT was not done entirely their way but for the second straight season Simpson reigned supreme in South West Cricket’s division two competition.
The Tigers strode to a five wicket victory over Heytesbury Rebels to claim back-to-back flags at Terang Turf
Skipper Brad Salmon, who was also named man of the match, said the club was thrilled with the weekend’s results.
“We couldn’t ask for much more than that,” he said.
“It was just really good for the boys to win and for the division three boys to win also.
“The club is really rapt with the achievements.”
The Tigers were forced to field in the opening 40 overs, a decision that appeared to work in the Rebels’ favour as they built the foundations for a big score.
But Salmon (4/17) and Nick Harding (3/23) wrested back the momentum for Simpson as they were able to dismiss the Rebels for a score the skipper said was below par.
Harding (40) then backed up his performance with the ball to lead his side to victory along with contributions from Salmon (16), Shaun Drayton (13), Jay Bowman (15) and Scott Carter (14 not out).
“They won the toss and batted and at one stage were 3/50 or 3/60 and they had the wickets in the shed,” he said.
“But luckily we sort of reined them back in and got them out for 120 which I thought was a little bit below par but being a grand final it’s always handy to have runs on the board.
“Nick Harding then sort of smashed a few around and everybody else chipped in and we got there with eight or so overs to spare.”
Despite the five wicket margin, Salmon said the game could have gone either way after Heytesbury landed a couple of early blows.
“They did get a couple of early wickets, they got our openers who have both batted well throughout the season cheaply,” he said.
“Definitely the pressure was on being a grand final and as I said with Heytesbury having the runs on the board.
“Once Nick started to get a few to the boundary and a couple of others made contributions, it started to look like it would go our way
“But it was still level-pegging there for a while.”
With the club still revelling in the glory of its back-to-back flags, attention has already turned to what Simpson will do next season.
Many around the league believe it is time for the Tigers to play division one and Salmon revealed the club had already spoken with president Kym Mathew about a top grade return.
“There has been a bit of talk about but I guess we’ll just have to sit down and vote on it,” he said.
“Without speaking on behalf the boys and what they’re thinking, it is something that will be considered.”
While time will only tell as to whether or not they step back up, Salmon said their best side was certainly capable of being competitive in the top grade.
“I definitely think we do (have the side to be competitive) but it’s whether or not we can get everyone to commit for a full season,” he said.
“A lot are dairy farmers and that and have harvest before Christmas so we’ll struggle to field the best side we can (during that period).
“But definitely when we have our full side on the park we’ll be competitive.”
Meanwhile, one of the youngest players on the ground bowled Simpson to victory in the division three grand final.
Fifteen year-old leg-spinner Tanner Fratantaro put together a man of the match performance to claim five wickets as he led his side to a 71 run win over Woorndoo at Terang’s second oval.
Skipper Thomas Weel said the players were thrilled to reverse last year’s grand final loss to the same side.
He said they had heeded all the lessons learnt from that game and used them to their experience in this year’s decider.
“We’re really stoked,” he said.
“It’s really good for the boys, they had a good win and all the hard work has paid off.
“We probably weren’t thinking about last year, but it was definitely pleasing we handled the pressure better this year and came away with a good win.”
Simpson posted a score of 9/180 from their 40 overs, overcoming the loss of early wickets to post a competitive score with Weel (30), Peter Kerr (23) and Adrian Fratantaro (21 not out) all making valuable contributions.
Woorndoo’s run chase followed a similar trajectory of Simpson’s, with the side 4/83 before Tanner Fratantaro (5/40) claimed five of the last six wickets to dismiss them for 109.
“We won the toss and batted first and we lost a few early wickets and I think at one stage we were 3/20,” Weel said.
“But I think we had a good team performance (from that point), we had a few guys make 20 or 30 but no one made a big score
“We managed to scrap our way to 180 which was a good score in the final.
“We bowled well and I think at one stage there was only three runs difference at the same stage but then Tanner came on and took five wickets and broke the game open for us.”
Fratantaro’s effort was the standout in what was a “pretty good team performance” according to Weel.
“He got Wayne Loader out for us, he was on about 40 at the time and he was looking like he would break the game open for them,” he said.
“He managed to get both him and Jake Fowler, who was starting to hit the ball well.
“He did an excellent job and got some really important wickets for us.”