Tyler Schafer, batting with a broken collarbone, is watched by his runner Lachlan Cumming. WHAT seemed like the longest boundary in the history of cricket snapped a 26-year premiership drought for Mortlake in a heart-stopping South West Cricket grand final yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

The Cats, chasing Noorat’s modest 118, resumed at 1-52 at Terang turf yesterday but soon collapsed to 9-91.

When opener Josh Barr, who batted through the innings, saw that his next batting partner was usual opener Tyler Schafer, he admitted he was worried.

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In the opening hour of play on Saturday, Schafer broke his collarbone while fielding and was told by doctors that he should not take to the pitch on day two.

But the teenager, who had teammate Lachlan Cumming as his runner, winced his way through 10 overs, courageously defending and knocking the odd single to get off strike.

His batting partner Barr was equally as smart, often refusing to take singles to ensure he continued to face the Noorat bowlers.

After steadily raising Mortlake’s total to 9-114, Barr managed a single to retain the strike for the next over, which proved history-making for the Cats.

Barr was able to glide a ball through gully, gradually dribbling its way to the boundary in front of the clubrooms where the main crowd was.

It was painfully slow, so much so that Cats supporters jumped to their feet, riding the ball to the boundary along with captain Todd Lamont.

The skipper had been sitting 20 metres away at the scoreboard, mostly with his head in his hands as he could barely watch the pressure-packed match.

But when Barr’s ball was making its way to the boundary, he sprinted across to watch it go over before embracing his teammates.

“I didn’t speak to anyone our whole batting innings, I was that nervous,” Lamont said.

“The pressure got to a few of us. I was pretty gutted when we were losing all those wickets.

“I never thought we were in the game until we clocked over to 110 and that’s when I thought that we only needed (nine) runs.”

Rival clubs had previously poked fun at Mortlake’s inability to perform when it counted but the club shook off its underachieving tag yesterday.

“It was just a huge release of pressure, especially after being as long as 26 years,” Lamont said.

“A few of the older fellas who played in the last flag came down to watch today, so it was good to win.

“The last four years we set ourselves to win a flag and now it’s finally happened.”

Opening bowlers Steve Staunton (3-48 off 27.3 overs) and Warren Attrill (4-35 off 24) did the damage for Noorat yesterday but Mortlake’s last scalp eluded the pacemen.

On the opening day, Cats duo Clinton Baker and Shane Slater both collected four-wicket hauls.

Barr’s unbeaten 60 deservedly earned him man-of-the-match honours.

“I just knew I had to bat as long as I could,” he said.

“At the end I felt a bit more free and felt like I could go for my shots more.

“Only having one wicket in hand probably helped a little bit.”

Barr said he was relieved that his side was finally able to triumph.

“It should give us a lot more belief for future years.”

Noorat captain Nick Kenna said his team did not make enough runs.

“To make 120, that’s not a real good score but even this morning, we still thought we were a chance,” he said.

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