To be honest I don’t really remember anything from this game, I’m just replaying the live stream recording of the match to relive the experience. If you don’t feel like reading through my match report, jump on the Sydney University CC website and flick to ‘live streaming from the grandstand’. Alternatively, read on. It’s a long report – but a Grand Final deserves one – and it’s worth reading to the end; we win.
Adair Durie puts in a stunning performance with the ball, taking 8 Student wickets
And... given my overseas jaunt last year, where I missed the victorious 5th Grade Grand Final, I’m taking my sweet time to embrace this one.
Ahead of the weekend forecast rain, might have prompted some to contemplate playing a Friday night rain card. But this was the Grand Final, only Missy had the confidence to play it.
With grey clouds hovering ominously above Sydney on Saturday morning, pre warm-up banter was dominated by discussion of meteorological etymology. “Atko” Atkinson, using his experience to preoccupy the boys from their game-day nerves, was considering whether ‘isolated showers’ would bring more or less rain than those that are ‘scattered’. Hmm. While Gordon’s 3rd grade Little Master was left to ponder this thought, the rest of the boys headed out on to the ground to watch Sydney Uni play ‘Nashball’.
Nashball, played with a rugby league ball, can best be described as a cross between rugby, league, football, AFL, netball and European Handball. It is undoubtedly the most famous and equally controversial creation from Sydney Uni CC since Greg Mathews. One can’t help but think that if the Students had put as much energy into their on-field cricket performances as they did into their warm-up/warm-down/favourite sport, they might have had fared better during the Final.
Hoppa won the toss.
That’s such a remarkable occurrence it deserves its own sentence, nay a paragraph, to emphasise its rarity and significance. The wicket had a green tinge, a little surface moisture, and the overhead conditions made bowling first a relatively obvious choice.
Newman commits 100% to ensuring every run is stopped
Adair opened the bowling and never stopped. He literally never stopped. Teddy’s first over was just about as good as we could have hoped for in the Grand Final. An edge fourth ball and a neat catch to Atko at 2nd left the ‘visitors’ one for two after the first set (as there is video of this game, you will find this catch on Atko’s facebook wall in a couple of weeks time with the #lowcentreofgravity).
Sydney Uni’s best bats guided them to a jittery 1/21 off 12 before the first rain delay. Removing the covers 45 minutes later the pitch had transformed from a ‘green tinge’ to something closer to a solid ‘grass covering’. With some added assistance, Adair was able to produce his two best deliveries of the match in succession, the second of which trapped the competition’s in-form batsman, Hobson (two tons in the past two games), in front for 10.
The next period of rain forced us from the field for the best part of four hours. This gave 12th man Ben Garratt enough time to finish assembling Adair’s new exercise bike and Adair enough time to declare that it wasn’t to his satisfaction and that he would be returning it. Well done BG.
The restart at 5pm gave us another 17.3 overs to try to knock over a few more Students before stumps. James “Billy the” Kidd managed to snick off Adair’s self-proclaimed ‘nemesis’, the left-handed Logan, for 22, before Teddy went right through the number 5 as Uni stuttered to stumps 4/73.
We returned to the ground at the start of Day 2 feeling satisfied with our first day performance but fully aware that a lot of cricket was still to be played. A good start was needed and with metronomic efficiency Adair delivered an early poll, caught at first slip by “Reg” Livermore. Gordon evictee, Rob Edwards, then combined with the number 7, Clark, for their best partnership of the innings.
The boys congratulate Durie, and console him about the pain his knees and back will endure for the next few weeks
Frustration began to creep into our bowling, eloquently evidenced by Blaize who produced the loudest expletive to be live streamed to South Africa. The pair added 49 and steered their side to the first drinks break of the match.
It was here that the game turned completely in Gordon’s favour. Almost unsurprisingly Adair stepped up to draw a thin edge behind from Edwards, before providing catching practise to first slip two balls later. Reg accepted gleefully… on the third attempt. The next over Hoppa tied down the other set batsman with five darts before floating one up, enticing a reckless sweep shot straight to Adair who had to interrupt his conversation with Billy Hendricks at square leg to make the catch.
A small partnership ensued but produced nothing that would seriously trouble the scorers. Another scratch behind and a neat clean bowled from Adair finished the Students’ innings at 147. Teddy finished with the figures of 8/56 in what was undoubtedly the best 35-over spell of his career thus far.
This left the Stags with a tricky 15-minute session before lunch in what proved to be another pivotal moment in the game. While most off the field had their minds affixed firmly on survival, ‘Cyclops’ Spratt had other ideas. A streaky boundary over the slips to start proceedings, followed by a neat punch through the covers for a brace and an imperious pull shot over square leg catapulted the 3rds to 0/14 off the first over, and well on the way to a successful chase.
Spratt makes an aggressive start to the run chase
Reg also started positively, hitting a couple of boundaries from the other end to propel us to 25 without loss in the four overs before lunch. A change of ball at the interval, after Spratt had knocked the first out of shape, produced more movement in the air and off the pitch for the Students. However, a slightly more watchful approach nullified these added challenges as the openers achieved their first 50-run partnership in their third innings together.
Chris became overly excited when they brought their captain/spinner on, skying a slog sweep to square leg to give the Students their first wicket with the score on 61. Missy then ensured that we didn’t lose another quick wicket, combining for a patient 39 run partnership with Reg.
Immediately after we reached the 100-mark Higgins had his off-stump uprooted by a vicious yorker (from a leg-spinner) and the bowling side had a glimmer of hope. It would be foolish to think that at this time some spectators hadn’t cast their mind to the news filtering in of St George’s epic capitulation in 5th Grade, to the bowling of Matt Selby, and were wondering if the same strange turn of events could be repeated here. Reg’s composure and experience guided us through this difficult period, dispatching anything short while prodding singles around the square.
Little did the spectators know, Damon "Reg" Livermore, played with a busted thumb
“West Brom” Bromwich started quietly at the other end before smashing 20 runs in the space of 9 balls to get us to within an elevated boundary of the victory target and a Premiership win. Within moments Hoppa transitioned from anxiously fretting about the state of the game to excitedly pacing in front of our supporters in nervous anticipation. The realisation that we were about to win the Grand Final before it had actually happened was a special and somewhat surreal experience.
It was at this moment that the live stream stopped. It remains unclear as to whether this was the fault of Dave Millar, who may or may not have pulled out an important cable searching for a place to charge one of his many gadgets, or whether it was a form of quasi-censorship for the Sydney Uni fans who shied away from the closing moments of defeat.
Although I have no video proof to support these next moments, from memory, I seem to recall that Clem perished looking to seal the win with a zak.
This fittingly saw Atko stride – nay, sprint – to the crease to guide us home. A lofted boundary over cover left Reg with one run to finish the innings, and the season, to which he duly obliged. He finished 63*, a performance that underscored his quality and the value he has provided at the top of the order this year.
So there it was, a Grand Final victory. The last 50 runs seemed to pass so quickly there wasn’t much time to mentally prepare for the winning celebrations. Taity wanted to know if we should run on to the field when we passed their total. I think most people wanted to, but no one did. Within moments the presentation had concluded, the (longest) Gordon song had been sung, and the Mitchell Cup filled with beer. Gordon DCC, the best side in 3rd Grade.
As this concludes the season, a few extra comments are in order. A special mention must first go to Adair Durie, who produced one of the greatest Grand Final bowling performances in Sydney Grade Cricket history. While many people will argue that finals cricket is principally a bowler’s game (Parramatta 2s might contest that), the work with the ball still needs to be done and Adair’s experience and quality shone through on the day where it counted most.
Congrats Adair. What an outstanding performance with the ball.
Skipper Ed Howitt also deserves a comment, as he captained the side brilliantly throughout the year. 3rd grade only lost one game under his tuition this season (ironically against Sydney Uni), which is a testament to both his experience as leader and contributions with both bat and ball. Whether or not he decides to retire after this year, I’m glad that he can feel proud of his and the team’s success this season.
Congratulations to Atko for topping the competition runs this season, with 702 at an average of 70.2. Similarly, Adair was a clear winner in the wickets tally with 46 at 16.1.
There were far too many other player contributions throughout the year to mention, but I feel it’s appropriate to give Tjaard Tait a little airtime for his performances in the finals series. Although he didn’t bat or bowl in the Grand Final, and he only fielded nine balls at backward point (I’ve counted each from the live stream), it’s important for those thinking back on this season that Taity’s scores of 59 and 52 in the QF and SF –where he soaked up 394 balls of pressure to lead us in successful run chases on both occasions – were just as instrumental in leading us to this Premiership as any other performance.
On behalf of the team I would like to thank all the support staff that have assisted 3rd Grade and the rest of the Club throughout the year. Particularly Senior Howitt who attended all games this season irrespective of whether his son was playing.
Ed Howitt takes the first of many sips from the cup
Thank you to all players from other grades that came down to support us during the finals series, especially those who turned up on the Saturday and Sunday of the Final.
Hopefully witnessing a victory such as this one motivates players towards more Club success in forthcoming seasons. Only 4 clubs (St George, Sutherland, Sydney Uni and Gordon) have won titles in the past 2 seasons, and with 3 of these 10 Grade Premierships (and a Colts premiership as well), Gordon deserves its title as a powerhouse club in Sydney Grade Cricket.
Winning a premiership is an unbelievable feeling, I can only imagine what winning the Club Championship would be like.
Gordon DCC, 3rd Grade Premiers 2012/13.