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  • Merewether hoping to repeat history in final

    2018 - 07.03

    Michael Hogan and Simon Moore lead the celebrations after Merewether beat Stockton in 2008. Pic: Brock PerksTHE moment Tim O’Neill remembers most fondly from the 2008 final was when Merewether’s Neil Crittenden caught his brother, Stockton stalwart Terry, on the boundary.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The sibling rivalry between the pair is legendary in Newcastle district cricket circles, and Terry’s dismissal for a duck began Merewether’s ride to premiership glory.

    “It was a big top edge off Michael Hogan, and Pie [Neil Crittenden] doesn’t run very fast at the best of times, but when he’s playing against his brother he seems to grow another arm or leg,” O’Neill said. “He ran in and dived and caught his brother out in the first over.

    “I saw his armpit and the ball got stuck in his armpit, rather than in his hand.”

    Merewether won that final after they defended their 138 by rolling Stockton for 84.

    On Saturday, Stockton and Merewether will again meet in the final at No.1 Sportsground.

    Merewether will chase their 20th premiership and try to become the first club since Hamilton in the 1950s to win four straight finals.

    Stockton are chasing their ninth title but first since 2005.

    O’Neill and captain Simon Moore are Merewether’s survivors from 2007-08 side, while Stockton’s skipper Nick Foster and Terry Crittenden will be looking to avenge that loss and halt the Lions juggernaut.

    The 2008 decider was also Hogan’s finale for Merewether before he moved to Northern Districts in Sydney and eventually made the Western Australia Sheffield Shield side.

    That season the right-arm quick took 35 wickets at 9.14.

    None of those scalps were more important than his 4-38 off 14 overs against Stockton.

    Hogan removed Crittenden (0), Jody Whitehead (0) and Andrew Williams (1) to leave Stockton reeling at 5-23.

    “Hogan was the difference that day, without a doubt,” Stockton president Ron Hancock said.

    Merewether slowly regenerated their team after that premiership success. Hogan, Chad White, Phil Stanbridge, Crittenden and others moved on and were replaced by Mark Cameron, Sam Gilmour, Pat Darwen and Josh Geary.

    All without missing a beat.

    “Those were different times and a different generation,” O’Neill said. “It was a lot of fun as we played a lot of cricket together with those guys and now we have an equally talented bunch of blokes.”

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