STAR Horsham cricketer Tony Caccaviello can now lay claim to being an Australian Country Cricket champion.
The Horsham Saint won gold with Victoria at the weekend, a breakthrough victory for the state side after coming so close to an Australian country title in recent years.
"It's awesome, just awesome," Caccaviello said. "It's hard to describe.
"There are so many people involved in it, and so many people that have tried to get there for such a long time.
"Our captain has played in something like six tournaments in a row and this is the first time he's won it.
"It was great to be a part of."
Caccaviello played at the 2019 edition of the tournament as Victoria lost to Western Australia in the one-day grand final.
This time around, Caccaviello and Victoria turned the tables, defeating Western Australia in a rain-affected 50-over final to claim gold.
"We got so close last year. Again (this year), we thought we were one of the stronger teams in it, but we had lost something like five games in a row to Western Australia. They were a bogey team for us," Caccaviello said.
"This time we put it together and got there, which was just so satisfying."
Caccaviello also had his best performance of the tournament in the final, claiming 2-16 from his eight overs.
Caccaviello finished with five wickets for the tournament, a somewhat modest return after his incredible 15-wicket haul at the championships in 2019.
But the opening bowler said he was proud of his performance beyond the wicket tally.
"I probably didn't have statistically as good of a season as last year, but I thought I bowled better. A bit more consistent," Caccaviello said.
"I didn't personally get the wickets, but had a good economy rate which I was happy with.
"In the end, we won nine of the 11 games we played, so you can't be unhappy with that.
"It's just great to have team success. That's why you play cricket."
In addition to an intense week of competitive cricket, Caccaviello was also selected to play for the Australian Country XI in an exhibition match against some renown former Australian cricketers.
Among Caccaviello's opponents were Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz, sporting an accumulative 57 test appearances for Australia between them.
"I loved it. I'm a bit of a cricket nuffie, so to rub shoulders with cricket elite ... it was pretty awesome," Caccaviello said.
"I got to open the bowling for the Australian team and bowl to Nathan Reardon, who was playing in the Big Bash League not long ago.
"He hit me for a huge six at one stage."
I hit Andy Bichel for six. That's something I can tell my grand kids about one day.Tony Caccaviello
Caccaviello however sought revenge when he came in to face one ball at the end of his side's innings.
"I got to bat right at the end, for just one ball, and I hit Andy Bichel for six," he said.
"That's something I can tell my grand kids about one day."
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