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17 March, 2022

Kulpi wins grand final, unbeaten all season

A washout and flood-out saw Millmerran through to the Grand Final for a second year running, and some splotchy late form notwithstanding, spirits were high as players walked onto the field at Goombungee for a shot at finals redemption.

Sending Kulpi in to bat, Millmerran was efficient with its bowling and fielding early, holding Kulpi to 0/30 at the ten over mark before the first breakthrough was made, the prized scalp of Central Downs Player of the Year Jordan Klingberg.

Craig Skuse and Corey Dioth built a solid partnership, taking the hosts to drinks at 1/78, with Skuse and Dioth unbeaten on 26 runs each.

Dioth was caught behind in the 27th over for 33, with Skuse following two overs later for a top-scoring 47.

Wickets began coming in continually thanks to the bowling of Chris Devine and James Sinclair, and Kulpi were bowled all out for 163 in the final over of the innings.

Devine was best with the ball, finishing with 3/31 (8); James Sinclair, 2/35 (8); Daniel Betts, 2/38 (8); Brendan Schaumburg, 2/17 (4); and Trent Mullins, 1/16 (6.3).

F.O.W.: 31, 97, 111, 112, 125, 144, 152, 152, 161, 163; all out (39.3).

Needing just over four runs per over, Millmerran was in with a good chance of a chase, but the top order collapsed in spectacular fashion losing four wickets in the first eight overs and finding themselves 4/22.

Continuing from his form with the bat, Skuse also had his hand involved in five of the first six wickets behind the stumps.

Millmerran managed to sneak through to drinks at 8/47, but all hope of a comeback had already been lost, and its fate sealed; the job closed in the 24th over, all out for 60 and Kulpi winning by 103 runs.

The bowling aggregate winner Tyson Klingberg was the stalwart bowler for Kulpi finishing with figures of 3/16 (8), as was Marcus Frizzell, who finished with figures of 3/23 (8).

Lachie Campbell, 2/7 (3.4); Dave Sipple, 2/8 (3), also grabbed a wicket in the match-winning defence.

F.O.W.: 9, 12, 19, 22, 24, 27, 40, 41, 51, 60; all out (23.4).

Craig Skuse finished with Player of the Match honours for his 47 runs and six catches behind the stumps.

It was the fairytale ending to a faultless season, and captain Brenden Schick called it ‘redemption’ for Kulpi’s Grand Final loss to Nobby two years ago.

That  wraps  up  the 2021/22 season of cricket in the Central Downs; commiserations to Millmerran, who battled hard, but in the end, congratulations to Kulpi, which was more than deserving of the title of the Fiechtner Family Shield.

- Brendan Cahill

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