By Michael Roberts | posted on March 28, 2020
RAILWAYS were crowned Albany and Districts Cricket Association (ADCA) A-Grade champions for the seventh successive season in what must be one of the most dominant runs of any team in WA cricketing history.
The Tigers clinched the premiership in bizarre circumstances after the ADCA was last week forced to suspend all its grand final play-offs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
ADCA’s executive committee had to vote which teams, if any, would take home some silverware for 2019-20, and unanimously decided each side which made it to the grand final first would win the flag.
If a cricket final ends up getting washed out, the first team through to that game is generally declared the winner, and the ADCA used that reasoning to reach its decision.
It meant Railways’ gritty 16-run finals victory over Manypeaks the week earlier proved to be an early season decider, with the Tigers the first team through to the big dance.
Manypeaks were able to reach the grand final themselves the long way round but will now never find out if they would have been good enough to dethrone the reigning premiers in a do-or-die clash.
Manypeaks A-grade captain Aran Tilbury said it was a fair result, however, with the ADCA having little choice but to award Railways the premiership.
Tilbury said his team were initially disappointed with the decision to cancel the grand final and had wanted to play but understood ADCA were only following directives from the Western Australian Cricket Association.
Cricket Australia and the WACA decided last week it would suspend all cricket competitions until further notice.
Railways A-grade captain Nathan Crudeli said it wasn’t how any team wanted to finish a season but praised the ADCA for taking a safety-first approach.
“They chose to protect players and the wider community which I think they should be commended,” he said.
“We all love cricket, and it’s disappointing we couldn’t play, but there are a few things that are a little more important right now.”
In light of everything going on around them, Crudeli said the premiership triumph hadn’t sunk in yet, with the team holding a “very low-key” celebration on the weekend.
“It’s obviously a pretty different feeling,” he said.
“But everyone should hold their heads high because it was a pretty massive effort to come from where we were and to finish the way we did.”
Crudeli said the Tigers didn’t have to carry any passengers this year with a number of players stepping up their game to the next level.
“There’s a few boys that we needed to step up and play probably more pivotal roles than they have in the past and they took that opportunity,” he said.
“Aiden Dallimore batting at three all year in A-grade was massive.
“Coen Marwick has got to be mentioned for his season with the bat and ball.”
In a scintillating season where Marwick won the ACDA player of the year award, the all-rounder averaged over 46 with the bat and took a wicket every 26 balls.
Dallimore was recognised as the best under-21 player in the competition, with an impressive performance behind the stumps complementing a 24.27 run batting average.
Going where no other A-grade Albany cricket team has gone before, Crudeli said the seven-premiership dynasty was an extraordinary run.
“It’s pretty special what the young team have been able to do this year,” he said.
“It’s some sort of record, surely.”