Coalfields Cup glory for Valley/JPC
BY ALEX TIGANI
Valley/JPC captain Isaac Barry admits his line-up’s Coalfields Cup first grade premiership victory has still not sunk in.
The merged outfit became the first Singleton based team to take out the title since the Coalfields Cup competition commenced in 2020/21 after defeating Greta Branxton on Saturday at Howe Park.
It also marked the first time Valley had won a first-grade grand final in the regular 40-over format since 2018 while JPC’s most recent title had taken place in 2007.
“It is still pretty unreal,” Barry told The Hunter River Times.
“After we scored 117 I thought, this will be a tough ask here.
“They will have to throw it away but I think we wanted it more and everybody just tried their heart out.”
JPC’s Luke Dempster (2/16) proved to be the best with the ball alongside Barry (2/29). Tristan Muir was also recognised for his two late run outs, securing his side a historic two-run grand final victory.
“A few wickets fell our way and there were those couple of good run outs on the field,” Barry continued.
“It just turned around but it was a bit nerve-racking in the end.”
It is unknown whether the Valley/JPC merger was a once off for Singleton first grade cricket or if it will continue next season.
The retirement of Valley batsman Jacob Carey has been circling the rumour mill this week.
Barry hopes this will not be the case after the 33-year-old top scored with 35 runs off 44.
Valley recruit and Singleton representative Mewa Jeetarwal, 24, will depart for England next month. Many hope the Indian recruit will return to Howe Park in the years to come.
“The young guys, Brandon Carman and Luke Dempster may go on to bigger and better things after Luke had the best bowling average in the comp,” he explained.
“I think we’d like to stay together but we will just have to wait and see.”
For now, Barry and the Valley/JPC line-up hope to enjoy the off season, reflecting on a summer which saw the group claim the minor/major premiership double in both grades as well as the return of fixtures at Howe Park and introduction of night cricket.
“Straight after the game when we got the last wicket it was pretty amazing, everyone just sprinting in hugging and celebrating,” Barry concluded.
“We then sat in the middle of Howe Park for about an hour and half just drinking beers and talking about the season and how well we gelled as a team.
“Even for me, Daniel (Storey), Tim Gore and Shane Givney – when we sat down at the start of the season, we spoke about the merger for first grade and we said righto, lets give this a real crack here.
“So it was really special to look back and say wow we ever actually done it.”
Valley/JPC 117 (Jacob Carey 35, Brandon Carman 21, Shane Givney 20, Luke Dempster 2/16, Isaac Barry 2/29) defeated Greta Branxton 115 (Jace Lawson 23, Darren Thomson 20, Patrick Andrews 4/16, Jace Lawson 2/35)