– SEE: Premiership caps a season Werribee Centrals won’t forget
– SEE: Grand final picture gallery
WERRIBEE Centrals had it all going for them this summer.
The Centurions took a step back down a level and relished the chance to bully up on opponents as they had been privy to the previous two seasons.
Their inspirational leader, Phil Crea, returned with a you-can-do-it approach that rubbed off on his players and his aggressiveness on the field got under the skin of the opposition.
That killer instinct had been missing from the timid Centurions in the past two seasons.
The batting line-up was repaired, led by the competition’s top run-scorer Luke Simpson with 532 runs.
When Simpson was not making runs, there was a big cast of batsmen willing to fill the void, led by Crea (415 runs), Dean Cachia (331), Blair Hemmingson (298), Dean Giarrusso (275), Mark Nankervis (254) and Jared Lions (250), all scoring more than 250 runs for the season.
The main element that opposition clubs could not get a grasp on was the Centurions new ball duo.
Aaron Edrich and Sam Crea were like a one-two knockout punch.
So often they took the wind out of the sails of opposition batting line-ups and did it again in the grand final.
“Our bowlers were just fantastic,” Centurions batsman Chris Duffin said.
“Sammy bowled amazing, really lifted in the last couple of games, and ‘Azza’ proved how valuable he is to our club.”
At 8-32 on the opening day of the grand final on a pitch Duffin described as a road, St Andrews was in all sorts of trouble.
The Saints tried hard to get back into the match with a gallant performance from their tail-end batsmen and a valiant bowling effort but, in hindsight, it was game, set and match.
Edrich, who finished with 40 wickets on the season, has been the mainstay of the bowling attack for the best part of five seasons.
There are no more consistent, nor menacing, pacemen in this standard of cricket.
“He’s definitely quick, especially in the competition we’re playing, he’s the fastest by far,” Duffin said.
“Having said that, he’s so accurate as well and never gives them free balls to hit.
“The batsmen must feel like they can’t score off him.”
Crea was perhaps the missing link.
The youngster returned from Footscray-Edgewater in the off-season, eager to get his career back on track and took 42 wickets, the most in the division.
On a roll: Werribee Centrals youngster Sam Crea is mobbed by ecstatic teammates after snaring the wicket of St Andrews batsman Mark Rhodes.
“Sammy has gone away to district cricket and come back a bigger and better player,” Duffin said.
“When he’s moving the ball around, he’s very difficult to play.”