Mooroopna is Cricket Shepparton’s lower grade Twenty20 champion for a second straight season and this year the Cats did not have to wait as long to celebrate.
Awarded last year’s title after Invergordon was stripped of the win post-game, the Cats took the crown on the field this season in a 28-run win against Northerners.
The Rob Douloudis Medal for best afield went to Cats’ match winner Jarrod Zerbato, the dynamic opener smashing an unbeaten 93 off 63 balls, coming agonisingly close to a memorable century.
Mooroopna captain Rob Marsters, whose 38 helped the Cats post a huge 4-164 from 20 overs, said the batting fireworks had put his side in the box seat.
‘‘We won the toss and elected to bat and basically focused on that top four batting at least 60 to 70 per cent of the overs,’’ he said.
‘‘We felt if we could do that we could find a pretty strong score.
‘‘Zerbato did exceptionally well, he carried his bat through the innings and helped us to a really healthy score.
‘‘It was an exceptional knock and the beauty of it was he playing actual cricket shots, it was very rare he was going over cow-corner.
‘‘Every shot he was really carving it through the field.’’
With 164 runs to chase the Jets were up against it and lost both openers — Garrick Rogers (six) and Shane Lines (seven) — to disastrous run-outs.
Captain Jason Wisely tried to bat the side back into the game with a 49 including seven boundaries, but his side was always behind the eight ball and finished at 5-136.
‘‘The boys were really up and about for the first 10 overs, a couple of times the ball was running through the outfield and there were three blokes chasing after it,’’ Marsters said.
‘‘The key was keeping that intensity up early and getting the required run-rate up. In the back end they batted really well, they probably got nine or 10 runs an over in that last period but the game was probably already won.
‘‘Young (Michael) Ford bowled well, he’s been at that D or E-grade standard, bowled four overs, took three wickets and was on a hat-trick.’’
Marsters said last season’s title had hardly felt like a triumph — given the side was beaten on the field by nine runs — so this year’s win more than made up for it.
‘‘The last thing I said to the boys before we batted was that we lost last year,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a pretty bad feeling and it was great we were able to rectify that, it felt quite a lot better enjoying a few frothies after that.
‘‘We had two E-graders, three D-graders playing with a bunch of C-grade guys and it was really good to get that camaraderie between the guys.’’