Staring down an opponent who needed just four runs with three wickets in hand, Broadford snatched a remarkable victory to claim the Seymour District Cricket Association A-grade flag for the first time in 14 years.
Avenel got off to a flying start with the ball, with early wickets to Tom Burke (3-32 off 13 overs) and Chris Tingay (3-51 off 19 overs) leaving Broadford vulnerable at 4/36. But Evan Mills (32) then dug in for 94 balls, allowing time to set up a partnership with captain Braden Hickey (83).
Jack Hesse (3-21 off seven overs) would pick up the important wicket of Mills, and Hickey was well on his way to a fast century in a man-of-the-match performance before getting bowled by Max Lawrence (1-35 off 13 overs), leaving Broadford with a total of 176 runs to defend.
Avenel got off to a defensive start, with openers Max Jones (10) and Kasey Duncan (50) having to face 13 overs before stumps.
Jones was the first to fall the next day — to Nathan Woods — after facing 60 balls. Jack Connell (3-18 off 13 overs) would then claim the prized scalp of Avenel’s captain Harry Wheeler.
The visitors were now 2/20 with many overs bowled, but they managed to steady themselves on the back of Duncan’s dour half century from 178 balls.
After Jeremy Bradshaw (2-26 off 14 overs) dismissed Tom Burke (21), Avenel would then lose Hesse and Duncan before their innings got going again.
Will Wheeler (32), Steve Donovan (12) and Huw Jones (29) helped Avenel recover from 5/92 to lead the visitors’ charge to the finish line.
At 7/172 it looked like Avenel’s middle order had just about sealed the deal. But you don’t top the ladder by 12 points without winning a couple of dogfights along the way, and Broadford wasn’t done yet.
Cam Berry, who achieved a scorching bowling average of 9.1 this season, removed Tingay and Lawrence, leaving Jones, who had already faced 95 balls, under heaping pressure to win the game for Avenel.
But when Jeremy Bradshaw (2-26 off 14 overs) had him caught by Mitch Collier, the game was won and lost.