Mornington are Gunnedah District Cricket premiers for season 2022/23 following their grand final domination of Albion by six wickets at Wolseley Oval last weekend.

Mornington were relentless in the final match of the season and Albion, attempting their fourth Gunnedah District Cricket premiership in a row, was comprehensively outplayed by their opposition.

Having not claimed the Gunnedah and District Cricket premiership title since the 2010/11 season, success was well overdue for the Mornington club and they saved their most clinical performances for the finals series of season 2022/23.

Despite Albion winning the toss and electing to bat first on a true Wolseley wicket, Mornington were ruthless from the outset.

The combination of opening bowling duo Nick Millar and Rhyce Kliendienst were unplayable at times in their opening spells, setting the tone  and providing Mornington with the perfect start to the match.

Kliendienst struck the early blow with the first wicket of opener Bailey Lennox and in the next over, Kliendienst’s partner in crime, Millar, opened his wicket account by dismissing Lennox’s fellow opener Damien Baldwin.

While Kliendienst was tight in his line and length, conceding just 11 runs in seven straight overs, Millar was devastating at the other end in his opening spell and proceeded to bowl his eight-over spell continuously.

Millar was instrumental in forging the Albion collapse and at one stage of Albion’s innings it was doubtful whether they could muster a score above 50. Millar blasted out four of Albion’s top six batsmen to leave Albion reeling at 5/29 after 15 overs.

That became 6/29 when first change bowler Lachie Straney joined his openers and took his first for the day and Albion’s capitulation continued when off-spinner Richard Avendano weaved a web to take Albion’s seventh and eighth wickets with the score reading an astonishing 8/51 at the 20-over drinks interval.

Cam Waugh resurrected the Albion innings slightly, scoring a brisk 19 but his efforts were brought to an end by Avendano who cleaned up the tail to take 3/6 and leave Mornington the modest total of 61 to chase for victory.

Albion captain and opening bowler Ash White took the key wicket of Ryan Smith – who had been in ominous form leading into the grand final after scoring 85 the week before in the semi-final – to give Albion a chance of defending their total.

Waugh opened the bowling from the opposite end to White and when he claimed the wicket of Henry Johns, Albion had a sniff of pulling off an unlikely victory as they attempted to defend their modest total, as Mornington limped to 2/9 inside the first five overs of their chase.

Number three bat and Mornington captain, Justin Carter, proved crucial to his side and along with Aaron Condrick. Their partnership of 27 steadied the run chase following the early setback of wickets, patiently knocking off nearly half the runs required for victory.

Albion kept attacking though and when off-spinner James Mack firstly removed Condrick and then Marcus Hayne – the game was still in Mornington’s favour requiring just over a run-an-over 25 to win at 4/36 by the 20-over drinks interval, as Albion kept attacking in search of an unlikely victory.

Shortly after the break though, Carter steered his side home with 25 not out in a crucial and match-winning knock and along with Millar, who scored a quick fire 12 runs not out.They ensured Mornington were able to secure their first premiership in a decade and lay claim as premiers for season 2022/23.

Appropriately, Millar was named man of the match after hitting the winning runs, in combination from his game-defining bowling effort of 4/16 earlier in the match, taking the match away from Albion.

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