COUNTRY CUP: Tweed Districts have broken their Country Cup hoodoo to claim their first McDonald's Country Cup win from their first finals appearance, beating Tamworth in the final overs of the match.
In what was one of the longest finals in Country Cup history, Tamworth won the toss and captain Tom Groth elected to bat first.
The pitch at Ellem Oval was proclaimed a batsmen's paradise before the match, but Tamworth lost early wickets to find themselves 3 for 32 after just nine overs.
A stand-out captains knock from Groth, who finished the innings unbeaten on 64, saw the Tamworth side bat out their 50 overs to post a total of 208.
In reply, Tweed's run chase faltered early after an early wicket, but a 64-run partnership between Tait Burns and opener Caleb Ziebell, who top scored for the winners with 59, saw Tweed cruise through their run chase to reach 209 with the loss of only four wickets.
Tweed captain Jayden Hoare said he was thrilled his side could bring home the Country Cup for the first time.
"It's very good, it's awesome," he said.
"We've been trying to win for years. This is the first time Tweed's ever been in the final and won the final. I've been down here six or seven years and we always get beaten by Coffs Harbour, so it was really good to win."
Hoare he was pleased with the work from his bowlers, led by Connor Ziebell who claimed 3 for 54.
"It was hot, and we had to work hard for it, and that's what you want in a final," Hoare said.
"We had to work hard for our win. We bowled and toiled really hard and our batsmen up top set it up and the middle order were good enough to finish it off.
"The pitch was flat but if you worked hard to your plans, build pressure you could get rewards, and we did that a little bit in spurts."
Despite Tamworth batting through their overs, Hoare said he was confident his side had the runs in them to chase down the total.
"I was reasonably happy that we could keep them to around 200," he said.
"I knew it was a very very good wicket and a small ground, and I know our bowlers did a really good job.
"I knew if their batsmen could score 200 runs then ours could definitely score 200 runs. All we had to do was apply ourselves, and we done that.
"We were confident we could get the runs, we just had to have a couple of blokes dig in and work hard and score some runs."
After losing some early wickets, Tamworth captain Tom Groth knew his side was in for a challenge to post a competitive score.
"We recovered well in the middle of the innings and finished strong, but we ened up with 208 which just wasn't quite good enough on the day," he said.
"We got a couple of early wickets and thought we were in the game, but Tweed batted really well in the top of the order and Caleb (Ziebell) was really good. He didn't give us a lot of chances.
"It took us 15 overs to get back in the game after we lost those early three wickets. We would have liked 250, but that's the way it's happened."