MICHAEL Murphy couldn’t have scripted his final game of competitive cricket any better.
Nanjing Night Net

The 49-year-old, playing alongside old mates Dale Mitchell, Dave Ryan and Gary Stonehouse, took 6-24 off 24 overs, including 14 maidens, as Brierly Christ Church claimed its first premiership in 28 years.

The Bulls, dismissed for just 85 on Saturday, yesterday tore through Russells Creek for 60 to snare the division three flag and spark raucous celebrations.

Murphy, Mitchell and Ryan all played in the Bulls’ 1983-84 A reserve premiership side and they knew they all wouldn’t get a chance to play in another, with Murphy announcing his intention to end his career after more than 370 games with the club.

“It was fantastic,” Murphy said of the win.

“I’m just really happy it was with Mitch, Dave and Stoney, it’s great for them and great for the club.”

Stonehouse, who captained the side, paid tribute to Murphy, who bowled 20 consecutive overs yesterday despite his “buggered” knees.

“It’s a great way to send him into retirement,” Stonehouse said.

He said the victory would give the Bulls impetus for next season.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Stonehouse said of the triumph.

“It’s 28 years. There are a lot of people who have worked hard to get us here. It’s been 28 years of hard work.”

Stonehouse said the Bulls, who struggled to win just one game in division one during the season, had a bright future with a lot of youngsters in the side yesterday.

“There are four older blokes and 12 under 23. It’s a great platform for the future,” he said.

Stonehouse said he feared his side’s effort with the bat on Saturday had left it 20 runs short. But after reducing Creek to 3-26 at stumps on the first day, he said the Bulls were “quitely confident” they could defend the score if they bowled well early.

Despite dismissing Creek for 60, Brierly had to bat out a nervous 90 minutes to ensure victory, making 1-53 with Ryan (15 not out) and Stonehouse (21 not out) sharing an unbeaten 43-run stand for the second wicket.

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