HE may not play as often as he used to but Queanbeyan stalwart Dean Southwell never fails to deliver on the biggest stage.
And on Sunday the evergreen paceman proved once again just why he is considered the consummate big-game performer as he helped guide the Bluebags to a remarkable one-day grand final victory over Tuggeranong.
After posting a modest total of just 136, Queanbeyan was staring down the barrel as Tuggeranong steadily made its way to 3/66 at Manuka Oval with plenty of overs up their sleeve.
Enter Southwell. An inspired spell of bowling saw the 29-year-old remove Tuggeranong captain Michael Barrington-Smith (7), Grant McDonald (2) and dangerous all-rounder Adam Ritchard for a duck to see the South Canberra reeling at 6/73.
From that point on Queanbeyan was always in the box seat.
And despite a courageous 15-run last-wicket partnership between Luke Ryan and Alex Flores, Tuggeranong was eventually all out for 130 with five overs still in hand.
“It’s always good to get up for a big game and it seems to happen every now and then,” an understated Southwell said following his match-winning performance.
“It was a good deck to bowl on so we just had to put it in good areas and the ball was always going to do a bit.
“It’s a new pitch, very grassy and nobody really knew what it was going to do so it was very hard to bat on as the scoring proved.”
Sunday’s final was the first match played on Manuka Oval’s recently redeveloped pitch square and the newly laid track was a lively departure from the ground’s traditional role as something of a batsman’s paradise.
Fellow Queanbeyan seamers Sam Taylor (3/24) and Vele Dukoski (2/39) also took advantage of the movement and variable bounce as only Tuggeranong’s Shane Devoy (64) provided any real resistance to the Bluebags onslaught.
Earlier, a 77-run partnership between Queanbeyan batsman Dean Solway and Michael Curtale proved crucial after the Bluebags endured a batting collapse of their own to be struggling at 3/18.
Big Bash League duo Jono and Blake Dean both failed to fire but Queanbeyan’s efforts with the bat ultimately proved just enough to see the John Gallop Cup trophy return to Freebody Oval.