Essendon-Maribyrnong Park has claimed back-to-back premierships after defeating Box Hill in the VWCA Essteele Premier Firsts Final on Saturday
The 72-run Bomber triumph, which saw the club claim their fifth Agnes McDonnell trophy, was set up via a brilliant rear-guard sixth-wicket partnership from Commonwealth Bank VicSpirit all-rounder Briana Binch (38) and Betty Wilson Medallist Laura Speed (46).
The pair added 75-runs to lift the Bombers to 8-195 after 50 overs, a score that proved too much for a gutsy Box Hill side who were dismissed for 123 in the 41st over.
Earlier, stand in skipper Emily McIntyre won the toss and elected to bat on a pristine Camberwell Sports Ground surface.
The Bombers’ opening pair of VicSpirit stars Molly Strano (17) and Kristen Beams (34) added 62 for the first wicket before the introduction of Box Hill’s Julia Crocket-Grills sparked the Mustangs into life.
Crocket-Grills removed both openers and McIntyre (2) to bring the Mustangs back into the match.
This season’s Twenty20 champions had their noses in front when EMP vice-captain Natalie Schilov (6) was found short of her ground in the 31st over.
The Bombers slumped to 5-87 and were crying out for a partnership which Speed and Binch delivered under extreme pressure.
In reply, the Mustangs stumbled early as openers Rebecca Carter (11) and Victorian under-18 captain Anna Lanning (7) fell in successive overs.
From 2-18 the ‘Tangs briefly rose from the canvas as captain Kate Dempsey (26) and Casey Hawley (43) combined for a 48-run stand until the Box Hill skipper offered up a simple return catch to Beams.
From there the experienced Hawley could only watch as wickets fell regularly up the other end before her demise sparked the Bomber celebrations.
VicSpirit teammates Cassie Brock (2-22) and Beams (2-22) picked up key scalps while Emma Kearney capped off her stellar season with the miserly 3-28 from her ten.
Binch completed a terrific all-round performance with 2-27 from her quota.