In a thrilling game, played in front of a large vocal crowd, the Dragons claimed their second title by defeating the gallant Banjos Orioles Orange 6-3, in extra innings. Congratulations to Adam de Cotter and his team. Tim Holland was judged MVP of the final by the officiating umpires and was awarded the President's Medal.
Dragons 2016/17: Adam de Cotter; Dean Chamberlain; Chris Harris; Tim Holland; Brendan Adams; Patrick Miller; Fiona Don; Shane Davies; Michael Blake; Shannon Davies; Leigh Johns; Aaron Jarvis
In a surprise move, which ultimately proved to be a masterstroke, de Cotter chose to start the game with Patrick Miller. After a one-two-three top of the first by Harney Burgess, out trotted Miller to start the bottom of the first. The potential issue for the Dragons in the final had been finding a third pitcher to support Tim Holland and Brendan Adams in a nine innings game and if Miller could pitch a couple of innings without leaking runs, the Dragons would be hard to beat.
This innings proved crucial to the game as, with one out, the Orioles had the bases loaded only for Miller to get a strikeout and a flyout to centre to end the threat, against a team like the Dragons, you cannot afford to miss these opportunities.
Top of the second and Holland led off with a double, moved to third on a flyout by Adams but was stranded there as Burgess collected the next two outs. Harney Burgess led off the bottom of the second with a double of his own and also ended up at third but Miller continued to dumbfound the experts by getting two strikeouts and once again, the Orioles missed opportunities.
Top of the third and Burgess continued on his merry way and when Adams came on in the bottom of that innings for a one two three effort, we were all tied at 0-0.
Bottom of the fourth and a drive to left field by Andrew Dykes plated the first run of the game in Jimmy Clout then a fly to centrefield by Harney Burgess drove in Dykes, the Orioles had taken a 2-0 lead. Clout took over from Burgess in the top of the fifth but it was in the top of the sixth that things began to unravel for the Orioles. An error saw Fiona Don reach base and when Clout walked Shane Davies with no-one out, the Orioles were in serious trouble. Clout bounced back with two strikeouts and it looked like he would get out of the innings unscathed however, a drive to centrefield by Leigh Johns drove in Don and Davies in behind her on a wild throw.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Orioles would reclaim the lead when Dykes drove in Clout but the Dragons levelled it up immediately in the top of the seventh when a two out error allowed Chris Harris to score.
The score remained tied at 3-3 as we went into the bottom of the ninth with the top of the Orioles order up to bat and a real chance to win the title. Tim Holland was on by this stage and he demonstrated the class act he is by striking out the first two batters then induced the dangerous Clout to fly out to first.
Off to extras we went and under league rules, if a Grand Final goes to extras, each team starts with the last batter out at second with one out recorded.
With Miller at second, Don reached on a fielders choice and both scored on a drive to centrefield by Shane Davies. When Davies scored after a wild throw, the Dragons had one hand on the Hubble Edwards Shield as they led 6-3. Bottom of the tenth and with Clout having moved to third on a passed ball and Robins having walked after fouling off eight pitches, the Orioles were right in the game but Dykes flew out to centrefield and when Robins was caught off first base in the same play, the Dragons were champions for 2016/17.