JACKSON McEwen was the toast of the Northern District Cricket Association on Saturday, scoring a century to guide Leitchville/Gunbower to the 2016/17 A Grade premiership.
In what NDCA president, Todd Gelletly described as an innings that saw a "boy become a man", McEwen scored 101 not out and hit the winning runs in the premiers' six-wicket win against Wandella.
Coming in to bat at 2/30, the man of the match combined with Jason Keath (26) for a 45-run third-wicket stand, then with captain, Brad Windridge (10 not out) in an unbeaten 74-run partnership.
"It is everyone's dream to hit 100 runs in a final, especially the way Jackson came back after a shoulder injury in the winter," Windridge said in relation to McEwen's feat.
"Wandella put up a good fight and bowled in good areas," McEwan said after the match.
Going into the match as underdogs, Wandella elected to bat first and were in early trouble thanks to Fitzroy Doncaster bowler, Adam Decicco.
The quick claimed the early scalps of Brodey Farley and captain, Isaac Hogan to have the visitors reeling at 2/17.
However, Greg Dickson (69) and Michael Runciman (40) combined for a 79-run third-wicket partnership that had the Bombers eyeing off a 180-plus run innings.
Runciman's innings ended following an accurate throw from Kurt Brereton, with the middle and lower order batsmen unable to build on the efforts of their teammates.
Wandella was dismissed for 157 off 43.5 overs, with Decicco and Jack Lunghusen finishing with three wickets each.
Leitchville/Gunbower's reply began in the worst way possible, with Brereton falling without scoring, whilst a dropped catch cost Wandella the chance of having Casey McNaught dismissed with the team still in single figures.
McEwen and Keath united with the score at 2/30, with the pair seeing off some of the Bombers' key bowlers.
The introduction of Rohan Oliver led to the dismissal of Keath and Lunghusen in the space of four balls to have the hosts in trouble at 4/85.
McEwen and Windridge guided Leitchville/Gunbower to 4/103 with 15 overs to spare, with the pair seeing off Oliver fellow spinner, Zak Sambrooks before targeting Mick Bott and Hogan.
A cut shot through point secured Leitchville/Gunbower's win with 42 balls to spare and McEwen's century – his second-highest score in A Grade competition - and consecutive titles for the composite side.
"Everyone involved with the club wants to learn. Yes, we may have the competition's leading runs scorer (McNaught) and wicket taker (Thomas Dehne), but everyone goes well," Windridge said after the match.
Hogan praised his teammates following the match, including the efforts of youngsters Liam Radcliffe and Sambrooks
"There is a bit of a rivalry forming between Leitchville/Gunbower and us," he said.
"They are the benchmark of the competition, but hopefully we can improve in 2017/18 and be up there."