The MCC Division One grand final between Old Scotch and Old Xavier finished in a big Old Xavier victory on the Main Oval at Scotch College, that saw the top of the ladder Scotchies lose a home Grand Final two years running.
Batting first, the Scotchies got off to a disastrous start as Armstrong was dismissed for a duck and the Scotchies were 1/0. Sam Shearer and Matty Mitchell, the two form batsmen of the season for the Scotchies rebuilt the innings in somewhat difficult conditions. They advanced the score to 1 for 75, and a decent base was established for the power hitters to push the score up to 190-200. It didn't pan out that way, as first Mitchell, and then Tom Murray departed, leaving the A Team 3 for 77.
Shearer and Hosking advanced the score to 114, and again, it seemed likely that the Scotchies would post a strong total. However, the innings disintegrated in spectacular style with a batting collapse that halted all momentum, and effectively lost the grand final for the hot favourites. Old Scotch lost 4 for 0, a complete disintegration. The Xaverians had seized the initiative and now turned the screws on the Scotchies reducing them to 144 all out. The Scotchies didn't manage to bat out the full 40 overs - a failure that was to prove crucial in the final analysis. Top score for the Scotchies was extras, with 44. Shearer comp;iled a patient 35, Mitchell 30 and Hosking 17. From the rest there was next to nothing, with all single figure scores.
Old Xavier lost a wicket early to the irrepressible Gary Bennett. Thereafter, however, the Xaverians took a disciplined approach with even contributions all the down the line. Bennett limped off injured after taking the key wicket of Forrest, complete with an unnecessary send off that soured the aftermath. The Xaverians steadily accumulated, and despite losing wickets regularly, never really looked like losing in retrospect. Old Xavier reached the target in the 38th over eight wickets down.
The scenes of Xaverian jubilation highlighted their monumental feat of toppling the strong Old Scotch line up on their home turf. For the Scotchies, losing their second grand final two years in a row was a bitter pill to swallow, having been the best performed team in the MCC over the last two years. Yet another great season had finished in a unsatisfactory manner. But, the team is still youthful, and will be looking to atone from these disappointments. To Old Xavier, we offer our congratulations - they were the hungrier team and played out of their collective skins. They thoroughly deserved their victory.
In the immortal words of General Douglas McArthur, "[We] shall return".
Until next year...
SURROUND YOURSELF IN THE EXCITEMENT!.