Wests-UC's Adam Hewitt provided a steadying knock on Sunday to help his team to the title. Photo: Melissa Adams
For the second straight year, Adam Hewitt was the premiership hero for Wests/UC.
Hewitt's dogged half-century as wickets tumbled around him helped secure back-to-back Douglas Cup titles in an engrossing rain-affected grand final against Queanbeyan at Manuka Oval on Sunday.
Wests/UC hung on for a first-innings victory after Hewitt was the last man out for 67 in a total of 123 at 6.28pm as darkness engulfed the ground.
Cricket: Wests-UC v Queanbeyan
Wests-UC players celebrate after beating Queanbeyan in the final. Photo: Melissa Adams
Hewitt showed his ability to thrive under pressure after scoring an unbeaten 154 in last year's decider against Tuggeranong.
"Unbelievable, much sweeter than last year,'' Hewitt said.
"Obviously scoring a century and 60-odd this year, but digging it out with the boys is way more satisfying.
"The pitch [was tough to bat on], going back-to-back and there was a lot of sledging going on, it's always tough when you play Queanbeyan."
It was the third time Wests/UC had won consecutive two-day trophies after previously achieving the feat in 1975-76 and 1976-77 and 1994-95 and 1995-96.
"We looked into the club's history and going back-to-back hasn't been done very often," Hewitt said.
"[Wests/UC club legend] Ian Garrity came in and gave a tremendous speech, fired us up for the two days.
"They've left a legacy and that's what we want to do with this team."
Thirty wickets fell in less than two full days of play on a pitch softened up by the rain.
Queanbeyan finished the regular season as the minor premiers and only needed a draw to take out the title.
The game was evenly poised going into Sunday when Queanbeyan resumed at 2-21 in reply to Wests/UC's competitive total of 179.
Wests/UC made early in-roads as seam bowlers Dale Riley (4-38) and Ethan Bartlett (4-41) took eight wickets between them to knock Queanbeyan over for 130.
Queanbeyan breathed life back into the game as it tore through the Wests/UC top order to have it 6-31, an overall lead of just 80 runs.
Queanbeyan pace bowler Josh Bennett was simply outstanding, taking another four wickets to go with his six in the first.
He became just the seventh player to take 10 wickets in a Canberra first-grade grand final and deservedly received the Greg Irvine Medal as the player of the game.
Vele Dukoski also picked up four second-innings wickets as he bowled an amazing 17 straight overs.
Queanbeyan captain Blake Dean lauded the efforts of his two quicks, but credited Wests/UC for showing it remained the benchmark in the ACT.
"Accolades should go to Josh Bennett for an outstanding bowling performance and Vele Dukoski, who put his whole heart into that effort just then," Dean said.
"Wests are the pinnacle of the competition and as a whole team collectively are the best side in the competition.
"We're in bits and pieces and didn't perform our best here or in the semi-final."