The MCC has won its 19th Premier Cricket flag, and first since 1997/98, after defeating St Kilda by 55 runs in an absorbing First XI final at University Oval. Full scorecard
MCC captain-coach Adam Dale led from the front with the ball, taking 6/43 from an amazing 38 overs as he and fellow paceman Robert Cassell (3/66) helped dismiss the Saints for 175, who had resumed on Sunday at 5/135 in pursuit of MCC's 230.
Fittingly, it was the popular Cassell who took the last wicket caught and bowled, to cap off a stellar comeback year for the talented quick who has had enormous injury troubles in recent years.
Sent back in, the Demons steadied after an early stumble, and St Kilda conceded the game with the MCC 3/74 in its second innings. It was time for the celebrations to begin.
MCC batsman Robert Cooper won the John Scholes Medal as man of the match for his superb innings of 114.
To cap off a great day for the club, the MCC Third XI defeated Geelong at Toorak Park in Prahran by 118 runs, recording its first flag at that level in four years.
After the MCC made 9/383 c.c. Geelong was well placed at 2/214, before losing 8/51 to be dismissed for 265. Aaron Boyle took 6/65. View the Third XI scorecard.
The 2009/10 Premier Cricket First XI Final was a beauty. After winning the toss and electing to bat on Friday, MCC captain-coach Adam Dale watched on as his top order faltered against some disciplined St Kilda pace bowling.
At one stage, the MCC was 5/57, before Cooper (114) combined with wicketkeeper Ash Middlin (48) to rescue the Demons from a potential disaster with a partnership of 124.
At stumps on the opening day, MCC was 6/195. The Demons lost 4/35 on the second morning to finish with 230. A defendable total, but certainly nothing to write home about, particularly with the dangerous Graeme Rummans and Rob Quiney in St Kilda's lineup.
St Kilda began its chase shakily, losing Rowan for a duck to Cassell. Then 41-year-old Demons' skipper Adam Dale made two crucial breakthroughs, snaring Quiney (8) and Rummans (10), both caught behind.
When Dale bowled Forbes, it was 4/44 with MCC right on top, but again the momentum began to swing back in the Saints' favour with a fighting 81-run fifth wicket stand between Mitch Sykes (43) and Peter Handscomb (42), but Cassell broke through when he enticed Handscomb to drive, edging it to Dart at slip.
Sykes and Glenn Lalor added a further 10 runs, but at 5.40pm, the batsmen were offered the light, with St Kilda 5/135.
The final morning was a tense affair, with neither team giving an inch. The irrepressible Dale ploughed on from the city end, but it was Phil Halbish who struck the first blow, dismissing Sykes caught behind. It was quickly 7/143 when Dale trapped Lalor LBW.
The Demons could sniff victory - and weren't about to let this one get away.
"It's a wonderful feeling," Dale said after the win. "This is what you train and play for."
"Cooper's century was wonderful. He really stood up and played beautifully. At no point did we think it was going to be anything but a tough battle.
"It's fabulous for the supporters, for the community and for the players."