New South Wales have won the 2018 Men's National Indigenous Cricket Championships after reversing the result of 2017 with a nail-biting three-wicket win over Victoria.
Keen to defend a total under lights, Victorian skipper Damon Egan, standing in for the absent Ben Abbatangelo, won the toss and batted. It wasn't long before New South Wales quick Sam Doggett struck to remove the dangerous Alex Kerr lbw for five.
Brad Dolan (21) and Egan (15) both got starts for the Vics but were unable to go on with the job. Just when Dolan was looking settled Doggett clean bowled him to spark wild celebrations in the New South Wales camp. Then just eight runs later Ben Patterson rattled the stumps of the key man Egan and Victoria were in trouble at 3-48.
Nathan Gardiner and Clayton McCartney came together for a 53-run partnership to help get Victoria's innings back on track. However, a slow run rate meant their side needed to take some risks from the spin of Marty Jeffrey which backfired when Jeffrey got one through the gate of McCartney to remove him for 36.
Wade King didn't last long for Victoria becoming Brock Larance's first victim of the match. His dismissal brought Nick Boland to the crease who together with Gardiner built a steady partnership of 77 that included Gardiner bringing up his half-century.
Gardiner was eventually bowled by Djali Bloomfield for 57 and Victoria pushed through their allocated overs to finish 7-190.
Boland finished on 47 not out and for New South Wales Doggett had the best figures of 2-55.
New South Wales openers Damien Duroux and Brynley Richards got off to a conservative start in the run chase thanks to some tight bowling from Ashley Sweet and Nick Boland. Eventually the persistence of Sweet broke through, trapping Duroux lbw for 10 and New South Wales were 1-22 off nine overs.
Nathan Price came to the wicket and immediately lifted the scoring rate with a boundary and one of the biggest sixes of the carnival, smashed over deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Egan. However, just when it looked like things could get out of hand for Victoria, Egan got his revenge, forcing an edge from Price to first slip where Alex Kerr took a sharp catch down low.
The departure of Price saw the arrival of some dark looking clouds as coaches and fans alike started calculating a variety of Duckworth Lewis scenarios.
However, Richards and Brendan Smith didn't let the clouds influence them pushing on to record a crucial 80-run partnership. But just as the game started to get away from Victoria once again, Sweet produced a piece of magic in the outfield to run out Smith for 52.
The dismissal of Smith brought the explosive Ben Patterson to the crease. Keen on an early night he smashed 14 off his first three deliveries and New South Wales once again restored their ascendancy.
However, when Patterson was bowled for 37 off just 23 deliveries from a peach of a ball by Nick Boland, momentum once again shifted.
New South Wales then lost 3-5 with all three wickets courtesy of Boland. With just four wickets left to get and with NSW still needing 10 runs to win, Victoria found an extra step in the field. Suddenly Boland struck again, clean bowling Jeffrey and the impossible suddenly seemed possible.
However, when Doggett came to the crease he smashed a two straight down the ground and New South Wales escaped with a three-run victory.
For New South Wales, Richards was crucial with a match-winning innings of 55 whilst for Victoria Boland put in one of the spells of the tournament to finish with figures of 4-26.
The victory meant NSW complete the double for the Championships, with NSW women having claimed the title over Queensland - remarkably their 11th straight success.