It may have been the senior players who shone in Friday night’s McDonald’s Megahit grand final win but captain Nathan Munro feels its the club’s next generation which will benefit most.
The Rugby Liberty OneSteelers claimed this season’s first piece of silverware when downing the Bob Berry Blasters by 18 runs in Friday night’s decider at No. 1 Oval.
Ben Patterson blasted 62 while Ben Taylor hit 23 late on and took 2/19 from four overs but Munro was more excited for the likes of Campbell Rose, Ben Wheeler and Baye Wallace.
“Those young blokes, it’s great for them to get that feeling so early on and win a grand final,” he said.
“It will stand them in good stead for the years to come on Saturdays when blokes like myself decide they want to sit at home and watch the races and have a bet.”
Before the decider, Munro noted Patterson was in a rich vein of form but was adamant the depth in his side was the key.
That was proved right as, despite the absence of NSW Country player Jordan Moran, the captain made 22 in a 93-run stand with Patterson while Aidan Bennewith (27) and Taylor chimed in late to help Rugby post 5/154 from 20 overs.
Their input was vital after Darrel Williams had removed Patterson and led a Blasters fightback in a fine spell, finishing with 3/22 from four overs.
The Blasters got off to a brilliant start in reply with openers Wes Giddings and Greg Buckley patient at first against Patterson’s pace before lifting the run rate.
They smashed an 80-run stand before Giddings was run out for 46 in the 10th over.
Taylor had Buckley trapped in front for 35 shortly after and he then bowled Chris Morton (7) while Adrian Carey had Williams (6) caught in the deep.
“He (Taylor) is just a grand final specialist,” Munro said of Taylor’s key spell.
“Fair dinkum, he just turns it on. Even his innings with the bat, making 20-odd, that was clinical and it was a big effort for us.”
With 35 runs needed from the final two overs, Jason Ryan and Aaron Morris opted to take the maxi over but Patterson produced six near-perfect deliveries and only eight came from it.
Jacob Bruce held his nerve in the final over as the Blasters finished at 5/136.
“It was unbelievable,” Munro said.
“It was a great effort bowling-wise to turn that around and make what looked like a defeat a great win.
“I know we needed to take one or two wickets and we’d be right back in it and we still had our spinners up our sleeve but it was a great effort from everyone.”
With a vital second day of Whitney Cup action against RSL-Colts on Saturday, Munro joked his biggest task was going to be making sure the celebrations on Friday didn’t get too out of hand.
“We’ve got to turn up, ready to go again,” Munro said.