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Cricket: Trophy more important than ton for Richards as Wests win grand final

Western District/UC opener Darren Richards had a grand final ton at his mercy, but the lure of celebrating proved too strong.

Unbeaten on 97 and his team needing just eight runs to clinch an outright win in the Douglas Cup final, Richards declined an offer from Weston Creek Molonglo to finish the job. 

Wests exacted revenge for its loss in last year's grand final to Weston Creek after veteran Richards and young opening partner Matthew Gilkes (78) dominated when set 215 for victory. 

The game was called off slightly early but Richards insisted he couldn't care less at missing out on a century. 

"To his credit Jono [Dean, Weston Creek Molonglo captain] asked me if I wanted to bat on for another over or so, but I've always played the team comes first and I was more than happy to get off and celebrate the victory," Richards said. 

"I had one ball and I tried [for the century], but I can't slog."


Wests took the upper hand early in the three-day decider at Chisholm Oval by claiming first innings points by 18 runs, thanks to 97 from skipper Joe Cooke. 

It meant Weston Creek was forced to play aggressively in its second innings and it  lost quick wickets to be just 75 runs ahead with four wickets in hand after two days. 

Mac Wright (89) and Harry Bryant (60) gave the defending premiers some hope with a 109-run eighth wicket stand on Monday, but Richards and Gilkes held firm. 

Opening bowler Sam Skelly was also pivotal for Wests, taking three wickets in each innings. 

"If we allowed them to win first innings points then it's very uphill for us, they would have batted in a very different manner," Richards said.

"They wouldn't have tried to force the game, they would have taken their time.

"On this wicket there was a lot in it with the new ball, but once it was off it was very hard to take wickets."

Wests have now won three of the last five Douglas Cup titles, while Weston Creek went down in the Twenty20, 50-over and two days finals this season. 

"We were probably behind the eight ball for the majority of that match," Dean said. 

"Two hundred was a pretty good total but it was really flat wicket, it didn't break up much and spin didn't play as big a role as we thought. 

"We couldn't quite get over the line on three occasions, but good teams are going to play a lot of finals. 

"We didn't turn up when it really counted, so hopefully the boys can take some good lessons from that."