SUBIACO Floreat were so expectant of their campaign ending prematurely, an end-of-season trip had been booked in the week of the Premier Cricket Grand Final.
In an extraordinary twist of fate, instead of spending their Sunday catching waves at Seminyak Beach, the Lions lifted the First Grade premiership at the WACA Ground, completing one of the most remarkable finals campaigns in recent history.
As Chris Hansberry hammered a ball backward of point to clinch the title, his embrace with teammate Andrew Holder was full of emotion and joy.
Subiaco Floreat were staring defeat in the eyes at 8-196, chasing 285 to win on Sunday.
The same pair had fought back in similar circumstances with the bat a fortnight earlier against regular season runners-up Fremantle, entering the fray at 7-79 chasing 156 to win.
Hansberry and Holder were also at the crease together when the winning runs were hit in their shock preliminary final win over minor premiers Claremont-Nedlands.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling really; it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, it’s a bit surreal,” Hansberry said.
“Certainly from our perspective at the half way mark of the season, we didn’t expect to be in this position.
“Credit to the guys, they played unbelievably well, it’s a bit of a fairytale finish really.”
Hansberry and Holder are close friends, with their bond a driving force behind the match-winning partnerships.
“It’s a really special feeling to be out there with one of my best mates,” he said.
“To fight and win the game for the rest of your team is a fantastic feeling.
“I’ve known Noddy (Holder) for many years, so to be out there with him in all three finals games when we have hit the winning runs is a special moment.”
Among all the hype, long-serving veteran Alex Malcolm concluded his Premier Cricket career at Subiaco Floreat over the weekend.
Appropriately, he exited a winner.
“I think in the back of everyone’s mind it certainly was a factor,” Hansberry said.
“I know “Pro” (Malcolm) is a very modest man, he is very much team focused.
“He wanted us to focus on what we needed to do, not worry about the fact it could be his last game.
“I know from my perspective we were all really determined to give him a fitting send off.
“He is one of our best mates and has had a fantastic career; to do that for him was fantastic.”