By Justin Flynn
Portarlington legend Paul McGrath led his side to the Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association Big Bash Twenty20 premiership on Australia Day.
The Demons – who are making a late run at the BPCA A Grade finals – defeated Collendina in the semi-final, played at Portarlington’s Ron Evans Oval.
Barwon Heads defeated Jan Juc in the other semi-final, which was also played at Portarlington’s No 2 ground.
Port then met reigning T20 premiers Barwon Heads in the final just 30 minutes after the semi-finals were completed to complete a bumper day of cricket on the northern Bellarine.
The Seagulls won the toss and batted first in the final and made a competitive 138, but would have liked 15 to 20 runs more on a fast outfield.
Heads’ paceman Pat Lowery struck early to remove the dangerous Dean Deluca for a duck, but that brought McGrath to the crease and the champion all-rounder, who is arguably the BPCA’s greatest ever player, did what he does best – performed on the big stage.
McGrath and Sam Chisholm (25) put on 68 for the second wicket and when McGrath fell for 52 with the score on 88, there was still some work to do.
Captain Darren Duff then steered the Demons to a winning score alongside Brent McLeod (16). Duff was unbeaten on 33 as the winning runs were scored in the 17th over.
McGrath was named player of the match in the final.