Eagles are premiers

Eynesbury’s Tristan Francis won the Jensen Shield champion player award. (Shawn Smits) 203262_11

Tara Murray

Tara Murray

Eynesbury has claimed its first Gisborne and District Cricket Association premiership, albeit in unusual circumstances.

The Eagles were due to face Romsey in the Jensen Shield grand final on the weekend, but all matches were cancelled due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The association decided to cancel all grand finals, after both Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria recommended that games be cancelled.

The highest ranked team in each grand final has been declared premiers, which in this case was Eynesbury.

Eagles captain-coach Tristian Francis said for the side it was a rags to riches story.

“Going from being the whipping boys in the Johnstone Shield to finishing second in the Jensen Shield,” he said.

“We then somehow get a home grand final and then are told two days later we are the premiers.

“I don’t know how to feel, it’s bittersweet.”

Francis said normally you play in a grand final and then you get to celebrate accordingly, but in this case they don’t even know if they should all get together.

He said everyone was excited but at the same time confused by it all.

He said they would have rather won the premiership having played in a grand final.

“I really feel for Diggers Rest, who were the minor premiers,” he said.

“Had this happened four days earlier, they are the premiers. They were the best team in the competition, having lost one game during the regular season and they beat us twice.”

Francis said while the premiership is nice, for the club it was much more about making it an enjoyable place to be after a tough year the previous season.

While the association has decided on premiers, a decision on promotion is set to be discussed at their next board meeting, which is scheduled for April.

Francis said they were unsure whether they wanted to go straight back up to the Johnstone Shield next season.

They won just one game last season in the higher grade and were heavily beaten in several others.

“We only won eight games,” he said.

“It was a really even competition. We did what we needed to do and close out close games.

“We were the team that came home with a wet sail.”

As well as being declared the premiers, Francis was awarded the overall grade champion.