The Mariners lost by seven wickets before lunch on Sunday, as the Tigers became the first WACA club in history to win back-to-back one-day and pennant flags.
The template of club success was reflected by club champions Perth winning second and third grade premierships, while the maroon caps’ opponents in the first-grade decider had six first-class representatives, all from their junior zone.
Rockingham-Mandurah captain Craig Simmons, his team’s only such player, conceded the Tigers’ big-game nous had been a telling factor in the final result.
“Well done to Claremont-Nedlands,” Simmons said. “You taught our guys a lesson but I’m sure we will be better for the experience of playing here at the WACA ground.
“It didn’t go our way this weekend but we have made big inroads and had a great season to get here.”
The crucial toss on a very green seam-friendly wicket was won by the second-seeded Claremont-Nedlands, with captain Nick Hobson having no hesitation in giving WA pacemen Matt Kelly (4-40) and Joel Paris (3-28) first use of the sporting surface.
The best Rockingham-Mandurah partnership came from the last wicket as Leon Coombs (29) and Kane Standing (9n.o.) hung tough for 20 overs in a 38- run stand to expire on 148 in 61.1 overs.
Earlier, the Mariners’ top order battled to 1-36 but when Kelly struck twin blows, the minor premiers were staring up from a hole at 4-44.
Number 6 Sam Day fought for an hour and a half either side of lunch with a four-boundary score of 26. When he was dismissed at 9-110, Rockingham-Mandurah were in danger of conceding on the first day.
Former Mariner Jacob Whiteaker was the glue of Claremont’s response, unbeaten with 54 to claim man of the match honours. Playing coach Jim Allenby took toll of any loose bowling, flaying 12 boundaries in 66 as the Tigers roared to 3-152 from 50 overs.
Rockingham-Mandurah coach Kris Kennedy was left to rue the first day that saw the defending champs in an impregnable position at the stumps score of 0-84, with a further 65 runs to knock over but acknowledged that the young core had made giant strides in 2018-19.
“The big goal (before the season) was just to improve and to give guys opportunities,” he said.
“I think we managed to do that and to make the grand final outdid our expectations and we’re still really proud of them despite the result.”
Kennedy was very bullish about the club as a whole, finishing second for the first time in its 25 year history and felt “we give ourselves every opportunity” to consolidate on a successful 2018-19 that saw first and second grades make the finals and the top team make its second Grand Final in four seasons.
The club’s presentation night will be held at Secret Harbour Golf Club this Friday evening before the Olly Cooley Medal count on April 12, where defending champ Dane Ugle will poll early before James Bracey and Simmons are likely to be high up the leaderboard by the vote’s conclusion.