Since taking over as Gunnedah first XI captain for the start of last season, Mitchell Swain had voiced on numerous occasions the importance he placed on winning the War Veterans Cup for the first time since 1998.
But it was not until his victory speech, following a comprehensive defeat of reigning championships Narrabri in the final at a wind-swept Wolseley Oval on Sunday, that his stoic demeanour and measured words surrendered to raw emotion and he choked up.
The veil dropped when he mentioned how long some of the players had waited for this moment, with the utterance of "Sandsy" (veteran fast bowler Troy Sands) the fatal blow to his composure.
Swain described as "fantastic" Gunnedah's undefeated campaign, capped off by a seven-wicket victory in the final. They restricted Narrabri to 111 runs, with teenage off-spinner Hayden Baker claiming 4-32 off 10 overs in a man-of-the-match display.
They then got the winning runs in the 33rd over. In-form teenager Adam McGuirk (64 not out) and in-form veteran Cameron Milne (24 not out) -- the best young batsman and the best senior batsman in Gunnedah at present -- were unconquered at the end of play.
Swain said: "We were disappointed, bitterly disappointed, that we didn't go at least one better last year and make the final. So it was a big step for us this year to make the final and come away with the win."
While players like Swain, Sands and Milne provided the experience, players like Baker and McGuirk provided the skilful, energised youth factor.
In his first full season of War Veterans Cup, Baker, 17, said: "It's very, very special. I haven't won many big trophies in the last few years. If there's one to win, it's this."
After winning the toss and batting, Narrabri lost opener and skipper Lachie Cameron (five) with the score on 10. The other opener, Nick Tomlinson (two), fell with the score on 18. A steady flow of wickets ensued.
Chris Sargent (28) top-scored, while Swain and Brad Gander both claimed two wickets.
Gunnedah had a spluttering start to the run chase, and were 3-48 after losing Kaleb McIlveen (eight), Stan Gaynor (zero) and Brad Jenkinson (four). But McGuirk and Milne then did the job.
Jay Hall (2-26 off six overs) was the pick of Narrabri's bowlers.
Narrabri skipper Cameron said: "They [Gunnedah] bowled well, they fielded well and, at the end of the day, 111 wasn't enough."