Both Brad Smith and Josh Watling knew that Sunday’s final of the Country Championships was going to be a tough ask.
When the pair took to the field on Sunday for ACT Southern Districts against the Central Coast, they were going up against a team which was in seriously good form, having won the Regional Bash earlier in the week.
That did not deter the ACT Southern Districts side, who ended up winning the match thanks largely to a colossal unbeaten 175 from John Rogers.
Although ACT Southern Districts batted first and scored 275, it was by no means a sure thing, as the Central Coast repeatedly demonstrated its batting prowess during the Regional Bash.
“Our game plan was just to bowl a good length and stump-to-stump and build pressure,” Smith said.
“Getting the 275 in the first innings took a bit of pressure off us as a bowling unit.
“They found it pretty hard to score and lost wickets consistently. I think they needed 10 an over from the 40th and fell short.”
In Watling’s opinion, ACT Southern Districts were unlucky not to have won by a bigger margin.
“They probably got a bit closer than what they should have, because the bloke that got their hundred [Peter Gallichan, 107] apparently he got caught behind early on in his innings,” Watling said.
“And he was also run out later on in his innings, which from where I was standing was pretty out. But other than that, I think we handled the situation pretty comfortably.”
The early rounds of the Country Championship were played in November, and the final was originally set to take place at the Bradman Oval in Bowral before being relocated to Wollongong due to a scheduling conflict.
Both Watling and Smith were full of praise for the ground in Wollongong, which Smith said was “a really good venue”.
“I think they play some [Sheffield] Shield games there,” he said.
“It was probably staying a little bit low while we were bowling on it, so we were trying to bowl back of a length, but in general the facilities were really good.”
In the end, Central Coast were all out for 252 from 49.3 overs, which gave ACT Southern Districts a well-earned victory by 24 runs.