Tom goes from first-ball duck to top scorer

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - JOSH SPASARO

DAR­WIN opener Tom Briggs was shat­tered af­ter mak­ing a first-ball duck in his team’s con­vinc­ing Pre­mier Grade semi-fi­nal win over PINT last week­end.

Yes­ter­day, that was long for­got­ten and he could not con­tain his de­light af­ter mak­ing a big con­tri­bu­tion in the fi­nal against Palmer­ston at Mar­rara.

The diminu­tive opener made a pow­er­ful 62 not out from 69 balls to en­sure the two-day de­cider would fin­ish af­ter just one af­ter­noon of play.

“He was a bit dis­ap­pointed getting a first-baller last week

Af­ter Shel­ton’s hero­ics with the ball, there were more fire­works to come, with Dar­win opener Tom Briggs smash­ing an un­beaten 62 off 69 balls to see his team run down its mod­est tar­get in just the 25th over. and was down on it and I pumped him up and said ‘mate, go out there and play your game and it’ll come off’,” Ea­gles cap­tain Luke Shel­ton said.

“And he showed ev­ery­one he’s a classy player. Brig­gsy loves the club more than any­one and he loves to be a part of the big games like this.”

Briggs’ love for his ju­nior club was ev­i­dent af­ter he brought up his half-cen­tury and pumped his fist in the direction of his team­mates’ dress­ing room.

“It means a lot. I’ve been at the club since I was eight years old. I’ve never changed clubs and I never would,” he said.

Josh Doyle also hit a classy 44 off 59 balls and when he brought up first-in­nings vic­tory just be­fore stumps, be­fore top edg­ing a Kieran Toner de­liv­ery to point, both cap­tains agreed to call it a day early.

“I want to be a leader and you want your lead­ers to stand up in the big games.”

Briggs set the tone early in his in­nings with an enor­mous pull shot off 2017 Pre­mier Grade lead­ing wicket-taker Kurt John­ston, which sailed over the deep back­ward square bound­ary for six.

It was his first of four max­i­mums in a mem­o­rable in­nings.

“You’re look­ing to be pos­i­tive. I play square quite well, so any­thing in my zone I back my­self to play the cut or pull shot,” he said.

“The mind­set was to be ag­gres­sive.”

As well as bounc­ing back from last week­end’s first-bal-

Bleak­ley – so pas­sion­ate about his club – was moved to tears af­ter the game.

“I’ve lost a cou­ple of pre­mier­ships with Palmer­ston now, and I don’t ever want to lose an­other one,” he said. ler, Briggs came back a bet­ter crick­eter af­ter start­ing this year in B-grade.

“Some­times you get knocked over early and you can doubt your abil­ity,” he said.

“It’s just about be­liev­ing in your­self and once you get in that you can make a big score.”

The de­sire to re­main the best team in the Top End con­tin­ues to drive Briggs.

He is seen as a cru­cial se­nior leader, as well as Shel­ton, Luke Zanchetta, Ash Doolan, Matt Bell and So­han Bor­ra­lessa, with those five play­ing in all three suc­ces­sive long­for­mat winning grand fi­nal sides.

“But it’s a game of cricket and life goes on.

“It’s fan­tas­tic to see us be­ing com­pet­i­tive again (af­ter fin­ish­ing last in 2016). If we can keep the same squad to­gether I think we’ll be stronger and bet­ter.”

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