Triumph caps Winter's summer
Adam Hewitt of Western Districts walks off the field after being dismissed during the final of John Gallop Cup at Manuka Oval. Photo: Jay Cronan
The Sri Lankan drums reverberating around a floodlit Manuka Oval were only ever beating to the tune of an historic Eastlake victory.
In their ninth attempt, the Demons finally won their first John Gallop Cup by a comfortable five wickets over Wests/UC on Sunday night.
And it could have been Eastlake opening bowler Nick Winter's last one-day game for the club as he considers an interstate move to take his game to the next level.
Eastlake with their first John Gallop Cup.
It's been a big few weeks for Winter, who was 12th man for the Prime Minister's XI, 13th man when the Australian team played at Manuka for the first time and was part of Eastlake's first one-day flag.
He played his part in the final, getting two early wickets to put Wests on the back foot at 2-17. They could manage only 213.
Ethan Bartlett top scored with 64 and Darren Richards made 49, the third time he's been out one short of 50 at Manuka.
Late hitting by Wests skipper Ben Oakley (30 off 24 balls) made his team's score respectable.
Michael Shaw (4-46) had the best figures for Eastlake.
Eastlake never really looked in trouble chasing the small total, and managed it with four overs to spare, courtesy of Michael Spaseski (73) and Paul O'Malveney (57).
''I've been with [Eastlake] for seven or eight years now and it's the first time we've won anything, to do that is massive and to repay the club is everything to me,'' Winter said. ''It could be one of the last games with the boys, I don't know. I might have to look somewhere else to develop, maybe Tasmania.''
Only about half of the globes in Manuka's six new towers were needed to light up the ground.
As a trumpet blared to the sound of the drums, a wave - or maybe just a ripple - went through the small crowd as they got into the party atmosphere of the night.
Oakley said Wests paid the price for not having wickets in hand towards the end. The loss and the lights would inspire his team to go one better next year.
''I think Cricket ACT should take credit for this, it's good for them to put the lights on and to allow this to happen, it's really good,'' Oakley said.
''Hopefully going forward it will be a regular thing.''