Aaron Wivell believes Wests can only improve this summer and beyond after helping the club claim a confidence-building and drought-breaking piece of Newcastle first grade cricket silverware.
It had been a long time between title drinks for the Rosellas, over half-a-century, and Wivell’s occupied the sheds at Harker Oval coming on six campaigns along with a core group of others.
The Rankin Park 27-year-old, plus the likes of skipper James King and paceman Peter Lojszczyk, have regularly missed the semis since their last two-day final appearance in 2012-2013 and lost more games than they’ve won.
This scenario makes Wests’ maiden Tom Locker Cup success, a three-wicket one-day final victory over perennial powerhouse Merewether at No.1 Sportsground on Sunday, all the more satisfying with man-of-the-match Wivell guiding the boys home courtesy of an unbeaten 48.
“It’s really satisfying,” Wivell said.
“It’s basically been five or six years now in the making. We’ve had a core group of guys there and it’s finally paid off. We’ve come through with a win and it was good to be part of. You appreciate it all a lot more.
“It was the perfect scenario and then to beat a team like Merewether, who have won a lot of these titles.”
Wivell reckons it could provide a springboard for the Rosellas to launch from in 2017-2018, sitting in a three-way share of second on the competition ladder, and even further ahead.
“Hopefully it’s the start of something for the next five or six years to come,” Wivell said.
“Hopefully we can make a dent later on in the season with the two-day stuff and even with the Twenty20.
“I think we gain a lot of confidence out of that win on Sunday as a group.”
In terms of his own individual performance, the right-handed batsman was forced to change his natural attacking approach during the decider.
Wivell came to the crease at 2-20 in pursuit of the Lions 134 and with in-form opener Joe Price (13) already back in the pavilion.
Wickets fell regularly at the other end before combining forces with NSW Country seamer Tom Allen (19 not out) for an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 40.
“It was more of a patient innings than anything and that’s not really my game,” Wivell said.
“I had to knuckle down and concentrate hard on trying to get the boys over the line instead of trying to finish it all off within 10 or 15 overs.”
Wivell said he enjoyed the celebrations, especially with the club’s old boys who were around when first grade last won the minor-major premiership in 1965-1966.