THE Sydney Cricket Ground has hosted some of the greatest exponents of the game over the years as well as many great contests and as of Sunday, it became the scene of one of the biggest successes in the careers of Bathurst brothers Blake and Jono Dean.
The pair were part of the Queanbeyan Bluebags side which took out the prestigious SCG Country Cup at the famous ground, beating Merewether District Cricket Club by two wickets.
But the celebrations for the Dean brothers on Sunday night were about more than just clinching the statewide title against a club that had prevailed in the past.
What made the win so special is that it was the first time a team from the Cricket ACT competition had made the final and the first time the Queanbeyan club had fielded a side at the SCG.
“It’s like a grand final win, well I suppose it was a grand final win, and to play on the SCG just made it that bit more special,” Jono Dean said.
“It was the first time we had played there, the only player in our side who had played at the SCG before was Higgsy [Mark Higgs, former NSW and South Australian representative].
“Surprisingly it wasn’t too nerve-racking playing there, once we got down there it was a really good feeling and a lot of the fellahs got pretty excited, so that feeling took over and there weren’t many nerves.”
While Merewether had won the 2006-07 and 2007-08 editions of the knockout SCG Country Cup competition and the old NRMA Cup in 2002-03, Queanbeyan carried reasonable form into Sunday’s final.
The Cricket ACT one-day premiers had won a tight semi-final against Newcastle University and importantly, they won the toss on Sunday morning.
“It was a green top for sure, because it was so green we were really hoping to win that toss,” Jono said.
The coin fell the way of Queanbeyan and they had no hesitation sending Merewether in to bat.
The first wicket fell with the score on 15 and when they had their rivals at 3-34, the decision to field first looked to be the right one.
While Merewether’s NSW Country duo Troy Goodwin (39) and Kaine Harmsworth (59) were able to steady and steer their side into triple figures after this, their 90-run fourth-wicket stand was the only meaningful partnership of the innings.
Blake took 1-15 off his four overs and Jono a catch as Merewether were all out for 163 in the 39th over.
“It seamed around a bit early, but we got our lines right and we took our catches and fielded well,” Jono said.
It was a good start for Queanbeyan, but then it came their turn to bat and it was the Dean brothers who were tasked with beginning their run chase.
The Bathurst siblings wasted little time in getting the scoreboard ticking over, belting 38 runs in the first six overs before Blake departed for 20.
Jono put on 23 and said he and his brother were happy with their efforts.
“We each hit a couple of fours and a six each, Blake hit one into the members’ stand which was a pretty good hit, we both hit the ball really well,” Jono said.
“We made a pretty good start but then then Blake fell and then we lost a couple more quick wickets.”
When Jono departed it was 2-50, Queanbeyan then finding themselves at 3-52 and 5-103 as Merewether did their best to stay in the match.
The Deans watched on from the stands and hoped that someone would swing momentum back their way and it was Vele Dukoski that responded with a well made 44.
In the end Queanbeyan needed 27.1 overs to seal victory and while the Deans’ celebrations did not last too long as from today they are part of the ACT Comets side which is playing Tasmania in a four-day Futures League match at Manuka Oval, the importance of the win was not lost on them.
“It’s up there, it’s something that no-one has done here [Queanbeyan] before, we really wanted that trophy in our cabinet and we did that and picked up a few little bonuses that came along with it like a bit of cash,” Jono said.
“No-one’s done this in Canberra before so it’s a pretty good feeling.”