When Robertson-Burrawang Bulls veteran Dean Roxburgh took to the Seiffert Oval wicket in Goulburn yesterday evening, it marked his last innings for the club.
Fittingly, Roxburgh's final knock came in the grand final of the Goulburn District Cricket Association's T20 Knockout, against the Astor Rats.
Bulls captain, Nathan Wright, said the knockout was a fitting send-off for Roxburgh, who was a "massive loss" for the team.
"We were happy we made the trip down for Dean, more than anything," Wright said.
"He's played for Robbo for 10 or 12 years now, and been driving down from Goulburn for the last four.
"He'll be a massive loss. Hopefully it's just one year and he gets itchy feet again, but the comp down here looks like it'll be a good fit for him."
Both teams had progressed through the early rounds after beating the Tatts Stags and Hibo, to set up a final in which the Bulls were heavy favourites.
Fresh off a grand final win in the Highlands District Cricket Association's First Grade competition, the Robertson side possessed some extremely high quality players whose abilities were on display early.
Batting first, the Rats were quickly reduced to 6-40 by the Bulls' high-calibre bowlers.
However, a bludgeoning knock of 44 from power-hitter Isaac Walker rescued the innings, and he dragged the Rats to a total of 8-118 from their 20 overs.
It was the second big score of the day from Walker, whose 56 in the first game against Hibo was also crucial.
After he batted for most of the Rats' innings, Walker then came out to open the bowling, and his pace and swing made life difficult for the Bulls' openers.
Wickets did not tumble the same way they had in the first innings, however the Rats restricted Robertson's scoring and, after nine overs, had them at 2-36.
The Bulls continued going slowly until roughly the 15th over, when there was a clear decision to make a charge for the total.
Despite regular wickets, Wright batted well in conjunction with Jack Whitfield, and together, the pair put on 42 for the fourth wicket.
At 4-82, the match could have gone either way, and two more wickets in the 18th over left the Bulls relying on young guns to chase down the last 20 runs.
A messy 19th over from the Rats, including a number of overthrows and wides, left Robertson in need of just four runs in the last over, which they chased down with no risk.
The win was a fitting send-off for Roxburgh, whose last innings of 13 capped off a thoroughly enjoyable day for the team.
Following their close win, Wright complimented the Rats on their tenacity.
"They were saying to us that they're a second-grade team, and I was telling them to stop saying that," he said.
"They can put it with the rest of them. They've got a couple of big hitters in there and some good bowlers."
Walker's performance in the final, with a wicket to go with his 44 runs, drew praise from Rats stalwart Shane Munroe.
"[Isaac's] there, he's what we need to go forward and challenge First Grade next year," Munroe said.
"We'll be very competitive, Robertson's in a six-team First Grade competition, and for us to nearly knock them off is a good effort."
In his capacity as GDCA president, Munroe said the day could not have gone any better, save for some kinder weather.
"It was a really good day, I hope we can put it in-season next year and make it a bit bigger," he said.
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