20-year finals wait ends for Newbridge

IT’S a game the Newbridge Cricket Club has been waiting 20 years for.

WAIT OVER: Newbridge will make a long-awaited return to the Upper Loddon Cricket Association finals for the first time in 20 years against Kingower this weekend. Picture: DARREN HOWE

When the Maroons step on to the field to take on Kingower in the Upper Loddon Cricket Association on Saturday, they will be doing so in a final for the first time since 1997.

Newbridge and Kingower will meet in an ULCA semi-final at Inglewood.

The last time the Maroons played in a finals series was when they lost a 1997 semi-final to Bridgewater, with the club’s return to the business end of the season the talk of the town this week, according to president Michael Rogers.

“It’s been very exciting around the town this week…everyone is talking about it, which is fantastic,” Rogers said on Thursday.

“We’ve had a lot of support, so it has been great for the club.”

While it has been 20 years in between finals appearances for the Maroons, Rogers can recall a couple of frustrating near-misses for the club.

“It has been within our grasp a couple of times, but things haven’t fallen our way,” said Rogers, who has played at Newbridge for the past nine years.

“We were going along alright in 2011 in the year we got wiped out in the floods, but a lot of games were called off and we ended up missing out.

“There was also a few years ago when we missed out on fourth spot by 0.1 per cent.

“Every season you always lose a couple and pick up a couple of players, but we’ve been able to keep the foundation of the side together and this season it has really clicked for us.”

The Maroons ended the home and away season second on the ladder with eight wins, three losses and a draw from their 12 games.

Recruit Chris Dixon has led the competition in runs with 461, including two tons –one of which was a knock of 122 against Arnold last week.

Another of the Maroons’ recruits, Jordan Knight, is also the side’s leading wicket-taker with 22.

“We’ve had plenty of contributors this season and that has culminated in some really good wins for us,” Rogers said.

“We’re looking forward to getting out there on the weekend.”

• Semi-finals:

Bridgewater v Arnold at Bridgewater:

Rd 2 – Bridgewater 7-175 d Arnold 9-95;

Rd 9 –Arnold 8-142 d Bridgewater 127.

Newbridge v Kingower at Inglewood:

Rd 4 –Newbridge 7-179 d Kingower 117;

Rd 11 –Kingower 7-129 d Newbridge 86.

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