Mansell stars as Exies claim GDCA crown

Cricket

EXIES shot down the Yenda Jets to claim the GDCA first-grade premiership trophy yesterday.

Day one saw Exies take first innings honours but only by 20 runs - however, day two was a more convincing display from the new premiers, who wrapped up a six-wicket outright victory.

Yenda won the toss and batted first to good effect early on with Tom Spry (49) and Matthew Staines (10) getting the Jets off to a flyer.

But a middle-order collapse saw the Jets come crashing down to Earth with just eight runs gained for the loss of five wickets through the middle order.

Chris Mansell (6-49) was devastating with the ball and captain Marc Tucker (2-25) backed him up with a few wickets of his own to restrict Yenda to 117 from 48 overs.

In response, Exies' first innings started off well, posting 96 runs for the loss of five wickets and looking in control thanks mainly to Jamie Winkler's 43 not out.

But Exies' tail couldn't wag and Yenda were right back in the match when they took the final five scalps for just 28 runs.

Twenty runs behind, Yenda started day two full of confidence, and Tom Spry (26) and Brett Hazelman (17) showed glimmers of brilliance with the willow - but once again it was the Chris Mansell show.

Mansell opened the bowling and never looked like putting up his hand for a rest until the last Exies batsman was back in the sheds, taking six wickets for 32 runs with five maidens.

Yenda got 55 runs ahead of their opponents but it never looked like being enough to realistically defend, which proved to be the case.

Winning captain Marc Tucker couldn't wipe the smile off his face as he recounted his highlights from the final.

"I'm completely stoked, we fielded well, bowled well, Chris Mansell was brilliant, Jamie Winkler was brilliant with the bat in the first innings, everything just went our way this weekend," Tucker said.

"Even if I tried to take Chris off he wouldn't let me, he wanted to keep going as long as he could, he just wanted the wickets too much.

"We said if we could play cricket we would win the game and that's exactly what we did."

Tucker confirmed he intends to lead his side again next year but lamented the retirement of Brent Harrison. 

"Harro said he would retire from first grade and that will be a big loss because he actually stepped up for us this year, he came back just before Christmas when we were struggling and really helped us out," he said.

"Cam Arnold, Lyall Campbell, Jacob Breed and Nathan Jones from Coly and Exies have payed numerous games for us throughout the year and without them we probably wouldn't be here, they deserve a special mention.

"There's been guys scoring runs and taking wickets in second grade all year who have been pushing for selection which made it an especially good year - the celebrations will continue for a few days."

Yenda captain Shaun Stubbs said there was very little his side could do to combat the relentless line and length of Mansell.

"We're pretty happy to get to the grand final, that was a big effort by our boys, but congratulations to Exies because they were the better team and they deserved to win," Stubbs said.

"When they were three wickets down in the final innings we thought if we could just break the middle order and get into the tail we might have had a shot but there weren't enough runs on the board to defend.

"Mansell bowled out of his skin pretty much and you can't do much about it, you can't get him away.

"We have a lad Toby Williams coming in from Yanco next year who is a good find and I just told the boys stay in there until the end."

Yenda wore black armbands out of respect for Brett Hazelman's grandmother who passed away on Saturday night.

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