Nathan Munro and his father Wayne were all too aware of Jordan Moran’s talents when he came to Dubbo and started playing for Rugby in 2006.
The Munros knew Moran from their time together on the state’s north coast and the pair knew they had a batsman they could build a side around.
The powerful left-hander has played countless brilliant knocks for his club but in the weekend’s RSL-Whitney Cup he achieved something special.
Moran’s incredible run-a-ball 214 not out decided the grand final.
It led his side to a staggering total of 4/426, a score which had the Dubbo cricketing community scouring the record books.
But not only that, it was the kind of innings Munro, now the Rugby captain, and his father had been waiting on for 12 years.
“Ever since he moved here about 15 years ago or so, Dad and I have just said to him we want him to bat 75 overs, all day. Just to do it once,” Munro said after the weekend’s premiership win.
“That was his goal and he’s pulled out an absolute belter and didn’t look in trouble at any stage.
“He was always in control and he manipulated fielders and played one bad shot on 180 and was dropped on the fence.”
It will never be seen again in my lifetime.Rugby captain Nathan Munro on his side's victory
Souths went on the attack on Sunday in the hope of achieving a miracle but it was all too much and the Hornets were ultimately bowled out for 155.
The final margin was 271 runs in one of the most lopsided results in RSL-Whitney Cup grand final history.
Moran spoke on Saturday night after his knock and said his efforts would be all the more special if his Rugby side was to go on and claim the premiership.
On Sunday afternoon, Moran and everyone else at No. 1 Oval got the chance to soak up the enormity of what he had achieved.
The Australian Country representative hit 20 four and five sixes and he went from 100 to 200 in just 74 balls.
He was given a standing ovation by those in attendance at stumps on day one and then his teammates and those from South Dubbo clapped him off after Rugby secured the title.
“It’s unbelievable,” Munro said of the win, the weekend’s title following on from success in this season’s McDonald’s Megahit Twenty20 tournament.
“It’s a long hard season and we put a lot of effort into winning both comps and we’ve come away with what we set out to do.”
For South Dubbo captain Mitch Bower, there wasn’t a whole lot to say.
His side was dealt a massive blow before the start of the game when one-time NSW Country representative Will Lindsay failed to overcome a hamstring injury and was unable to bowl.
But Bower wasn’t using that as an excuse, acknowledging his side came up against a batsman and a team at the peak of their powers.
“No one likes to lose by that margin in a final,” he said.
“It (Lindsay injury) kills you. Only have one strike bowler in Henry (Railz) hurts but we had to play with the cards we were dealt and he couldn’t bowl so that was it.”
While Bower and his teammates were left shattered as they chased leather all of day one, each of them were aware Moran’s knock was “something special”.
“Even being on the receiving end, it was pretty good to watch,” Bower said.
“I said earlier in the week and I said it to the boys that their batters will give us chances and they didn’t.
“Jordan gave us one chance on about 160 or so and by then the damage was done so full credit to them, they outplayed us.
“They played nearly the perfect game for a grand final. It was crazy. We didn’t bowl that bad.”
Souths did start well with the ball after Rugby won the toss and batted.
Railz and Mat Finlay, who took five wickets in the semi-final, kept things tight but a Moran six off the latter in the eighth over set the tone for the day.
He and fellow opener Ben Wheeler added 111 for the first wicket before the youngster fell for a well-made 48.
Jacob Hill chipped in with 20 and then James O’Brien toughed it out early before combining with Moran to take the game away from Souths.
O’Brien went on to make 73 from 83 in a 172-run stand before he was trapped in front by Bower (2/85).
Ben Patterson belted 40 from 21 before Munro (8 not out) helped Moran reach the amazing feat of a double century.
“This is up there (with other premiership wins) considering it’s 426 to 155,” Munro said.
“It will never be seen again in my lifetime and 200 in a grand final. Batting first, I would have taken 200 (in total) and he’s scored 200 himself so it’s unbelievable.
“I didn’t sleep very well, to tell you the truth, even though we got 426 it was still a grand final.”
The final total of 4/426 was realistically never going to be got but Bower promoted himself to the top of the order on Sunday and got his side off to a flying start.
He took 16 off the second over and but when he tried to pull a Ben Patterson short ball on 25 it only resulted in a top edge and Rugby keeper Campbell Rose made no mistake under the high ball.
Lindsay was gallant and kept things ticking over but had little support and was eventually forced to retire hurt after his hamstring went again.
For Rugby, spinners Adrian Carey (4/50) and Ben Taylor (3/21) bowled with maturity and capitalised on scoreboard pressure.
Taylor claimed the final wicket, sparking celebrations among Rugby players and fans and confirming the side’s return to the peak of Dubbo cricket just one season after claiming the wooden spoon.
“There was a couple of big inclusions and a few of our senior blokes took it upon themselves to put a bit more emphasis on their own performances and contributing consistently,” Munro said.
“You can look at Jordan this weekend, I’ve scored more runs than I have in a season for a fair while, ‘Obie’ (O’Brien) has scored a couple of hundreds and we’ve all stood up and led the way because that’s what we play for. We’re here to win it.”
The result marked three straight for grand final defeats for Souths and while the players were hurting, Bower was adamant his side would be back again.
“We went in there everyone is pretty upset but no one died,” he said.
“We’re all going to go to work this week again. It’s not the end of the world.
“We’re still going to come back next year and we’ll still enjoy each other’s company.”
A full report on the lower grade finals will appear in Tuesday’s Daily Liberal.