The match reports from the latest round will appear in this folder until the reports are received for the following round. All other reports can be found in the relevant Grade folders and all previous seasons' reports can be found in the match reports section as well.
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.
Saturday started with another early wake up, a few nerves and ominously dark skies. Throughout the season (and for the last few), we have always been a rather laid back team down in 5’s, but you could tell how important this game was - almost everyone was warming up in the morning!
Makeshift opener, and victorious skipper, Monaghan led his side into battle from the front line
A slightly damp outfield, but no sign of rain was as good as we could hope for and the toss was won by the St George captain who conservatively chose to bowl on a slightly patchy wicket. We hit the sheds where Dave tried to convince everyone it was just another game, the other captains had a word and I think heard the phrase ‘runs on the board’ about thirteen times.
Batting didn’t start too well with Dom failing to break his Grand Final curse and snicked off early before Dave was joined by one of our two Greenies in Axel.
Things were going well as the score crept beyond fifty and Dave started to really get moving, driving well up and over the infield but a slow outfield meant that he was often left unrewarded, whilst Axel supported him well from the other end looking solid in defense.
Nick Miller, a player of the club's future, combined to steady the ship
But the St George boys were keeping it quite tight and as so often happens we lost three wickets with the score on 67, 69 and 71 and we were back to being in a spot of trouble.
Our other greenie Nick batted well with Darren, in conditions that were not easy to start in. Things were looking set before a run out sent Nick back and Darren glided the spinner to the keeper and we again had two new batsmen in with the score at 6/103.
Not much resistance from the lower order this time bar a quick-fire 18 from Oz which helped the score creep to 139. We knew were a little under par, but with the slow outfield and a bowling attack which had been our strength all season we went back out in search of quick wickets. We had been given a good reminder of the value of pressure as we couldn’t move the score along, particularly with their spinner who took 3/30 off 28 overs.
Our openers started well and kept the scoring down and we got to see another re-run of Oz beating the bat over and over again before Jack finally found the edge to Dave at second slip to end the opening batsmen’s long vigil of 4 off 39.
Darren Jayasekera nudges one through the Saints' infield
Their number 3 came in with good intent and started to lift the ball around a little and got the score moving before Dave knocked off the other opener and, in what would be the last ball of play, Jack pinned their number 3 for 38 and the score was precariously sitting at 3/66.
It was anyone’s game.
We turned up on Sunday morning greeted with blue skies with the knowledge that a few quick wickets would get us in with a chance. But things didn’t go as planned and the score crept ever so slowly past a hundred without a wicket falling.
When David brought me on and I managed to sneak one past one of the batsmen, what would happen next was probably the most outrageous pieces of cricket I’ve ever witnessed.
Matthew Selby with his right arm rapids would turn the game on its head.
Beginning the collapse, Deva sneaks one through the gate
In his first over he took 3, the last being the most important as he took out the skipper to a stinger of a catch to Nick Miller at short midwicket.
The next few overs were much of the same and wickets fell left, right and centre. A screamer of a catch to Darren and one more caught behind and we were almost home. The art of dibbly-dobbling will never be the same.
7 overs, 1 maiden, 5/15, thanks for coming.
Straight after the lunch break, Jack took the last wicket, going straight through the number eleven and the comeback was complete as we took 7/18.
Matt Selby leads the team from the ground after a match changing display of bowling
The job wasn’t done yet and a fired up St George came out with one last swing at the title. A few wickets made everyone a touch more nervous than we would have hoped, but the pairing of Dave Monaghan with 62 (no surprises there) and a very impressively mature knock from our 16 year old Nick Miller of 39 that included some exquisite on drives ended any chance of another twist in the game.
A big thank you must be said to the Wests Cricket Club who hosted a great grand final over two days. Also, a big thank you to the friends and family who turned up to watch and support us. It was great to have some familiar faces around.
The skipper shows off the silverware!
It’s been a great season, and though we said throughout that the goal was to go for back to back Sherwoods, to achieve that with only two players from team from last year has been a great achievement and shows how strong the club is. A quick look at the engravings on the Sherwood shows that back to back Sherwoods has actually been done quite a few times, but no-one’s gone the three-peat.
I guess 2014 is a good time to change that.
The Stags hosted Parramatta at Beauchamp Park in the 5th Grade Semis. Arriving on Saturday morning, the covers were lifted to reveal a green but flat wicket. Winning the toss, ‘Fantasy Points’ Monaghan elected to bat. With our regular opener ruled out, Dom Thompson took on the role.
Axel "Axe" Cahlin in his maiden Grade semi final making a solid contribution with the bat
Together, Dom and Dave set out to knock the shine off the ball and provide a good platform for the stags, and boy did they. Both batsmen showed great confidence and patience, playing each ball on its merit, grinding down the opposition. As the day progressed, the conditions favoured the batsmen and the two openers capitalised on this. However Dom and Dave were not rewarded for their text book stroke play from a rather slow outfield.
The score continued to tick over and the boys were on top of Parramatta’s bowling attack, adding more than a 100 for the first wicket. Hitting the ball to all parts of the ground ‘Fantasy Points’ reached his 50 but was unfortunately dismissed soon after.
With the score 1-110, Axel joined Dom in the middle. Together, the two continued on and Dom reached a well-deserved 50, showing great style and maturity, although he was also dismissed soon after. With two new batsmen at the crease, the Stags needed to rebuild, but the dismissal of ‘Elton’ Coleman for 1 run gave momentum to the opposition. The score was now 3-138 and Nick ‘Funky’ Miller joined ‘Axe’ at the crease and the youngsters were determined to give momentum back to the Stags.
With batting conditions getting better, ‘Axe’ played a fairly aggressive innings, hitting the ball hard and managing a few boundaries. Also, Funky joined in, piercing the gaps while keeping the score moving. Momentum was starting to shift back to the stags however Axe didn’t take advantage of a good start and he was dismissed for a solid 35.
Monaghan continues to add points to the Webmaster's fantasy team
Darren ‘DJ’ Jayasekera looked in good form out in the middle. He struck the ball cleanly and scored several boundaries. Funky and Darren were beginning to build a decent partnership but Parramatta had the opportunity of a new ball. This did not stop the pair. Funky scored a few more runs before being caught for a well-made, patient 33.
The score was now 5-228 and Parramatta were tired. The new rock flew off the bat and Darren scored a quick-fire 34, smashing the ball all over park before being caught. Jack ‘Richo’ Richardson and Matt ‘the Teacher’ Selby were the two new batsmen at the crease. With Richo coming of a half century, he was keen to make it a repeat, although this was not to be as he was out for 2.
‘Oz’ Dowler was now out in the middle using Elton’s bat. He was quite worried at this, expecting his blade to fall apart at any minute, just like his other one. Matt Selby chose his old punter, and this seemed a good choice. He struck the crisply and kept the runs ticking with Oz. Both Oz and the Teacher knocked the ball around but were dismissed for 13 and 14 respectively.
The score was 9-258 and Deva ‘Alphabet’ ‘Second grader’ Nirthanakumaran combined with the legend himself, ‘Mr Matt Todd’. Unfortunately to everybody’s disappointed Parramatta bowled Gordon out for 261.
We thought the day was over but we were ordered to bowl one last over. Mr Todd was called upon and with a rather aggressive field he bowled a hilarious, yet inspirational over and the day finished with Parramatta 0/0
On the Easter Sunday, the Stags arrived at Beauchamp with some cloud over head. After taking the covers off we had a very sloppy warm up (maybe a few too many Easter eggs in the morning), but we were determined to turn this around.
Cahlin, in another first, is rumoured to have enjoyed a beverage after their win over the Two Blues
Oz and Richo kicked us off, bowling excellent lines and lengths, being rewarded with an early wicket each. They were 2/10 and the stags were building pressure early. The pair continued to beat the bat on many occasions but were unrewarded. Toddy joined the attack and was amongst the wickets, snaring the third.
Fantasy points also took wickets applying more pressure on Parramatta.
With the score at 5/28, Parramatta was in need of a good partnership. Two of their batsmen applied themselves and with a bit of luck they smashed some boundaries and got the score to 107 before the next wicket. The Stags were creeping into the tail and the play-off for the Sherwood was in our sights. With Richo applying some excellent shine on the ball throughout the day, he and Oz were brought back into the attack. Oz added another wicket to his tally and the score was now 7/124.
The Stags were clearly on top and had the opportunity to close out the match quickly. However, the opposition were able to muster a tail order fight back. To their credit, they knuckled down and hit the ball in the gaps adding just fewer than fifty for the 8th wicket.
The score was now 8/171 and the Stags were confident. Wasting no time, the “second grader” cleaned up the tail and the Stags were one step closer to the Sherwood. I would also like to thank Dan Stickland, Iqbal Ahmed and Dan Richtor and all the other s(unfortunately I do not know all of them) for coming to support over the Easter weekend. It means a great deal and hopefully we will see a few more in the future (although not all did appreciate a hooligan commenting on the match).
To top it all off, the song was sung with style and Toddy shared a few beers with ALL (if you know what I mean).
Axel ‘First beer’ Cahlin
As the number 1 side in the semi finals, we were to play against the best placed loser from the qualifying finals. As it happened, this was the second placed side, North Sydney, from the regular season. A side that had beaten us on their home patch earlier in the season.
David Leiboff plays a captain's knock in the Colts first innings, making 65 in trying conditions
As Killara Oval was out of action due to the soccer players taking over for the winter season, the semi final was to be played at the Bears’ home ground - the beautiful Tunks Park. A great batting deck in the afternoon, it always has a bit of juice in it early.
One way or another, we were told that we would be batting first, led into battle by the skipper, David Leiboff.
Tim van Zuylen and Matt Page got off too a good start, but not long after Matt departed on 5. Connor Jackson was given out LBW on 3 and quickly followed Matt back to the pavilion.
James Robertson and Tim were at the crease and, after playing some really good shots, James was unlucky to get out on 7 after an amazing catch by the fielder.
Rob Barker was at the crease looking to score some runs and, after also playing some really good shots, was caught after making 19. While Tim was playing his natural game and playing some marvelous shots, he too was caught out for a healthy 52.
The skipper, featuring heavily in this photoshoot, plasters one through the legside
At the crease the Leiboff brothers were building a good partnership, which was needed. Soon after lunch, Jason leiboff was departed on 13. Then Kapil Chhatbar (6) and Michael Roberts (0) followed.
David Leiboff playing some really classy shots departed on much needed 63. Followed all too quickly by Sean Chandiramani (6) and Taylor Carter-Sutton (1).
The Gordon total of 178 was going to be tough to defend on a good wicket. However, finals pressure is a funny thing.
The Stags started off really well in the field. Matt Page picked up three early wickets, followed by Dave picking up another at the other end. It was fair to say that North Sydney were in all sorts being 4/20.
Good support by Rob Barker, Taylor Carter-Sutton and Sean Chandiramani followed but, after some chances were dropped, the Bears built a partnership, which was really costly for the Stags.
At stumps, North Sydney 5/147.
A chilly Sunday morning greeted the boys, but with only 30 runs to play with, the Gordon side did not lose hope.
Rob Barker was bowling beautifully, picking up 2 important wickets but it wasn’t enough, with Taylor Carter-Sutton picking up the remaining 3 wickets only after North Sydney passed our total. We bowled them out for 231.
Opener, van Zuylen takes the long handle to the Bears' bowling, but is unable to drag the team over the line
Gordon went into bat again, unfortunately loosing wickets really fast. With Tim Van Zuylen making a steady 31 and Jason leiboff making a fast 45. Unfortunately Gordon getting all out with the total of 100, giving the lead of 47 runs.
North Sydney easily making the runs with 10 wickets in hand.
Whilst it was a disappointing end to the season, with the season’s themes of the top order and ground fielding failing us at crucial times, it was overall a successful season.
A team that has become accustomed to success, the Colts finished with the Minor Premiership and blooded a number of younger players – the true reason for the Colts side.
With so many 1st and 2nd Graders having played Colts, from this year’s Bill O’Reily medalist Harry Evans to James Kennedy, Harry Turner, Adam Cubbage and others, a strong Colts side means the future is bright for the club.
Gordon hosted the Bankstown Cricket Club over the Easter long weekend at a Chatswood Oval in the midst of Shute Shield preparations. A kinesthesia of tense anticipation lay ever present beneath blue skies and a crisp breeze on Saturday morning, as Howitt won the toss and gave the visitors first use of the facilities.
Adair Durie will drag the exercise bike around for one more week
Having bowled Hawkesbury out for 65 seven days prior, the Gordon bowlers and fieldsmen were hopeful of a similar outcome, yet realistic in their expectations of the day's cessation against a tremendously strong Bankstown batting side that had won the minor premiership by seven points in front of Gordon.
While Gordon may well have anticipated to field for 87 overs, to bowl Bankstown out for 133 was beyond even their greatest wishes. Yet the performance of all and sundry deserved nothing less.
Bankstown, who had evidently been playing on flat wickets all summer, were adamant on getting on the front foot and bludgeoning drives back down the ground. But with Chatswood Oval’s outfield - and infield for that matter - needing to grow long for Round 1 of the rugby season, the batsmen’s crisp blows were rarely rewarded with the runs they perhaps deserved, if at all, as they near hypnotically hit fielders with unerring consistency.
An amazing performance by Irving-Holliday kept a strong Bankstown side to a very gettable total
Durie, Irving-Holliday and then Kidd battered the Bankstown top order with patient regularity. While the batsmen incessantly sought boundaries, the three Gordon quicks ascended the tension, pressure and burden on the incoming batsmen, as they gave near nothing away.
Bankstown’s opening pair had trudged their way to 27 before Irving-Holliday found the edge and a scrumptious diving catch was completed by Newman, celebrating his 21st birthday, in front of Livermore. Kidd picked up the second edge and wicket of the match, neatly snuffled by Atkinson at second slip and Irving Holliday made it three in two overs for the hosts, as Newman claimed his second. Bankstown, 3-31.
In a session of the match where Bankstown would have looked to establish a good score, it was Gordon who wrestled the ascendancy and stamped their authority on not only the match, but this finals series with ruthless and unyielding accuracy with the ball. Irving-Holliday was, quite simply, unbelievable.
Bankstown continued to ignore singles and strike rotation, persistently opting for the boundary instead - with rare effect. With the assistance of Durie and Kidd, Blaize near-on single handedly demolished any hope of Bankstown amassing a large total as they slumped to 7-75 and then 8-96.
James Kidd provides the 3rd prong to the pace attack that will take on Sydney Uni this weekend
When a tiring Irving-Holliday eventually did offer a bad ball, it was brilliantly caught by Tait at point and the German-like efficiency of the Stags rolled on to the tea break. Livermore, a keen observer of German culture - and a Mercedes driver - was particularly pleased.
With the three quicks being bowled into the ground, Howitt and Tait chipped in with a combined 21 overs of relief, but Gordon - whose efforts had nearly sent themselves into fatigue - were off the field after the second new ball, when the innings closed at 133.
Irving-Holliday finished with the astounding figure of 23 overs, 15 maidens, 5 for 10. Just let that sink in for a while. Remarkable figures that are surely likely to never be repeated, let alone in a semi-final.
A hazardous, precarious and unpredictable 15 overs lay ahead of the Gordon batsmen on the end of day one. Livermore was out leg before in the 5th over, introducing Higgins to the wicket to join Spratt. Things seemed to be going just fine until Spratt was violently struck on the eye by a quick short ball, much to the delight of a number of Bulldogs players. He was forced to retire hurt as his eye rapidly began to swell, again to the pleasure of more than one visiting player, and this proved to be the catalyst to a disastrous final half an hour for Gordon.
Retallick was out leg before for no score, as was Atkinson and Gordon were 3-23 with Spratt uncertain of making a return. Tait joined Higgins and the two reached stumps unscathed and managed to take the runs required to under 100 with the final ball of the day.
The birthday boy, Newman, plays an innings that mirrors his increasing maturity
Day two couldn’t have started much more worryingly for the hosts, as Higgins was out leg before on the last ball of the first over. From here, however, Newman and Tait - under a barrage of verbal assault that reeked of tasteless, tactless desperation - rarely looked in trouble at the crease as the two combined for a match winning 92 run partnership, on the back of a 51 run stand the weekend before.
Rarely were two contrasting styles of play more apparent between the eventual winners and losers in this encounter. While Bankstown frustratingly threw their hands and blades to every direction of the boundary in search of 4’s and 6’s, Gordon - and in particular Newman and Tait - dropped, caressed and guided singles and two’s around the edges of the square, manipulating the field settings and driving the bowlers insane in the process.
The score was 5/130 when Tait was dismissed for 52. He has now amassed 400 balls faced and 419 minutes at the crease in two weeks. Love is a beautiful thing.
A gutsy effort by Spratt to make it back to the crease was not rewarded, as he was out two balls later and a few nerves began to creep in at 6/130.
Tjaard Tait provides a stone wall which we will be looking for this weekend
The ever reliable Howitt laid those fears to rest as he clubbed his fourth ball down the ground for a rare boundary and the tie was won.
The game continued on, albeit aimlessly for a further fifteen overs, and handshakes were eventually made with the score on 6/176 from 74 overs. Newman finished unbeaten on 46 from 154 and Howitt with a breezy 31. It appears that the captain hasn't got any softer in his old age, denying the birthday boy a chance at an unbeaten half-century.
And so here we are. The grand final beckons. The 3rd Graders will play against one of the only two teams to have beaten them in the regular season, in Sydney University. To add a twist to the tale, they will play on Uni’s Number 1 Oval, despite being the higher ranked side. Sydney University will be another tremendously tough encounter as they’ve struck highly impressive form since finishing 6th at the end of round 15.
Win or lose, grand finals are a wonderful thing to be a part of, but I can’t decide if I’m more nervous about the team photo beforehand or the actual match itself. Better lock myself in for a Saturday morning Tony & Guy appointment.
Congratulations to 5th Grade too. Back-to-back finals are one thing, but to do it this year with nine different players from last, is a testament to a lot of people. Good luck to the Stags.
Take Monday off work.
Ah, finals cricket. There’s nothing like it. The elder statesmen of the Stags 4th XI were keen to have the younger members of the team appreciate the significance of a finals berth and stressed the importance of cool heads, prolonged pressure and executing plans.
Charlie Bangs leads the attack against the Bulldogs
I think it’s fair to say that the intensity of the pressure was almost palpable at Graeme Thomas over this weekend against The Dogs.
A victory in the final round would have seen the Stags finish as Minor Premiers in the competition for the Reid Cup, however a loss saw us relegated to 4th. The effect of this was certainly felt during the 2 days at Graeme Thomas, as Skipper Lin won the toss on a flat deck and inserted the Dogs to have a bat. As we know, finishing 4th meant we had to take 10 Bankstown wickets and attempt to chase down a total. Things didn’t quite go to plan.
Bankstown’s intentions were clear from the outset. Play straight, no false strokes and value your wicket - a pretty good approach for any batsman. And they executed their plans extremely well.
The first session gave the Stags a great deal of encouragement with the new ball doing a bit and the pace quartet of Bangs, Skilbeck, Perry and Stickland settling into their work. With the score at 4-100 just after lunch things were evenly poised.
This is where things got tough for the Stags with possibly the best batting conditions this veteran has ever seen.
Jack Skillbeck, resplendent in Gordon colours, puts in a massive effort for his skipper
With some close decisions not going our way, including a heartbreaking runout decision in the final over, Gordon had toiled admirably for 110 or so overs and could be pleased with the score of 6-240 at stumps.
The skipper should be commended on his innovation and attempts to create a chance throughout the afternoon, including stripping off the keeping pads and having a roll himself. The expletives from Buono on the sideline were probably audible at Chatswood.
Sunday morning saw many stiff bodies but a positive and enthusiastic group reassemble. The importance of the first hour was highlighted and the amount of cricket left to play reiterated. This 4th grade side knows its capabilities and how to score quickly, so a run chase that most would find daunting would be exciting to the batsmen.
This notion was summarised perfectly by Shayne Lin to the slips cordon part way through the day when he said, and I quote “When God put me on this Earth, he said I’ve made you to do big run chases”.
Perhaps Shayne was getting into the Easter spirit a little early. Perhaps he thinks he’s Jesus. Perhaps the effects of heatstroke were starting to settle in.
"Terry" Ahmed tries to weave his magic
Some more consistent and quality bowling, particularly from young Jack Skilbeck, meant the Bakstown side had grafted to 9-350 with around 80 overs remaining in the day. The Stags were confident. Alas, a defining moment for the match with a very confident caught behind appeal being turned down broke the back of the tiring Stags, and the rest is history. Banstown declared at 9-510, with the number 9 scoring a quality hundred and number eleven 60 not out.
The efforts of all the bowlers must be acknowledged... they charged or strode in relentlessly and did a sterling job for the skipper in trying conditions. The best was Skilbeck, with a more than promising 4/103 (37).
The Stags decided to go about the rest of the day in the only way they know how... full throttle and to enjoy it. With some lusty hitting and great strokeplay, the Stags finished their season by scoring an entertaining 187 before succumbing to the heat, exhaustion and mammoth total before them. The best was Chris Retallick with a classy 50, which earns him a promotion to the 3rd Grade juggernaut this weekend in the semi-finals. Good Luck Retro.
Finally, on behalf of the 4th Grade team, I’d like to thank Buono, Hicko, Paul Stephenson, Harry Evans and Tom Bangs for their support at picturesque Bankstown over the weekend.
We thought we'd get a second photo of young Skillbeck, who is sure to feature strongly for the Stags
Also, very big thank you to the committee and the volunteers that work tirelessly behind the scenes to allow us to walk onto the cricket field each Saturday. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and we thoroughly appreciate them.
Please, come and join us at Chatswood on Saturday from 2pm and we’ll buy you a beer as we cheer on Howitt’s 3rd Graders.
Arriving at a newly reopened Ryde Oval for the last match of the season the Gordon boys were very relaxed. Sitting in a guaranteed second place the pressure was off – and this showed in the arrival times of a few of the Gordon contingent.
However, Dave ‘Fantasy Points’ Monaghan is not one to be easily phased, and so in laconic fashion he welcomed the tardy with a good wack to the ankles in throw downs.
Young Nick Miller stamps his authority on the game in his first grade appearance
According to unnamed sources, Matthew ‘Teach’ Selby and Mick ‘Energizer’ Falk have been investigating the possibility of employing similar techniques over the upcoming school term.
After having examined at least a good twenty metres of the field during the warm-up (a new PB for 5’s), the two skippers met in the middle. Dave promptly won the toss and elected to bat on a rather tricky wicket.
Being the first game on the new surface, the track proved rather unpredictable: more than one variable delivery claiming a scalp (including the Skipper’s). Amil ‘Heskey’ Premawardhana showed some talent at the top of the order with a gritty 28, ably supported by young Nick ‘Funky” Miller (25) and the ever present skipper (24).
In the end the Stags were bowled out in the penultimate over of the innings for 159, a score the boys considered at least par given then state of the conditions. In what must have been a rare occurrence for grade cricket, extra’s top scored for the Stags with 29 – highlighting the treacherous nature of the pitch and (in light of the Sydney innings) proving once again that line and length is telling on all surfaces.
Lunch brought a nice change of scenery for many of the team (author included) who managed to mix a leisurely car ride to the shops with a hasty sprint to the middle prior to the start of play. Luckily all eleven were accounted for in the nick of time, leaving the two umpires more than happy to make a few jokes while starting play at the stroke of two.
With the usual opening combination of Richardson and Dowler absent, the new ball fell to Funky Miller (in his first bowl in grade cricket) and David ‘Captain’s Prerogative’ Monaghan.
Funky bowled great lines, forcing the Sydney batsmen to play at everything and taking full advantage of the treacherous wicket. At the end of his spell he was duly rewarded with the outstanding figures of 6 overs, 5 maidens, 2 for 5.
Dave "Fantasy Points" Monaghan wheels away at the opposite end
While Funky was doing the damage from the park end, Dave Monaghan was his usual self – hooping the ball nicely and finishing up with 2 for 24, leaving the Sydney top order reeling.
An inspired bowling change (perhaps forced by age restrictions) saw the two Matthew’s replace the quicks at this point. ‘Bottle’ Todd (3/ 17) and ‘I think he is really in charge’ Selby (3/4) maintained the pressure and the rest of the Sydney team collapsed to be all out for 51.
The control of both bowler’s was a delight and, if this author may be so bold, clear grounds for a well-deserved Colts call up.
It is always great to have a convincing win going into the finals and it was particularly pleasing to see both old and new players finding form at the pointy end of the season.
Onward to the Sherwood.
The qualifying final against the Tigers was played at Killara Oval. We have never played there before, so it was a change of venue for the team. We won the toss and decided to bowl.
The match got off to a fiery start. We were not sure whether the Tigers knew it was a 2 day match losing 5 quick wickets for 50 runs.
Jason Leiboff creates carnage in the Tigers batting pen
We had them backed into a corner. Balmain had a solid partnership for the sixth wicket before it came to an end at 6/126, 3 more wickets fell for not many runs and then a 10th wicket partnership held to get them to 184 before Angus struck with his 2nd ball, ending their innings.
It was a good team bowling effort with everyone getting amongst the wickets with Jason Leiboff taking 3/44 being the pick of the bowlers.
We had a score to chase, and we knew what we had to bat out the remaining time. Tim and Matt got off to a good start, with the pitch flattening out and turning in our favour. They progressed us to 26 before Matt was dismissed for 14.
Shortly after Tim was run out.
Enter Connor Jackson, who had probably two things in mind; don’t get out; score as fast as possible. Between him and Kapil Chhatbar, they moved the score from 30 to149 in very little time, before Connor was dismissed for 83. It was a great batting display.
Kapil and Rob Barker went on to finish the day, passing the Tigers total of 184, and setting us up for a second day of batting on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Day 2 was not the best of starts for us. We lost Rob fairly quickly and then Jason not long after, then Kapil followed them back to the sheds, having made a well fought 57.
Michael Roberts then put his head down with Richard Armour and the two went on and demoralised the Tigers’ bowlers taking us to the total to 363 runs with a 131 run partnership.
At lunch the Tigers conceded that the fight was hopeless. The game was then ended, leaving us with the job well done and progressing into the semi-finals.
The Gordon third graders had shown good enough form throughout the season to cement themselves in second position, warranting their home ground advantage, but were up against a very seasoned and accomplished Hawkesbury team that had won their final one day match of the season with a bonus point.
The man of the moment, Adair Durie, back at Chatswood Oval taking poles
It was Hawkesbury’s captain, Laing, who called correctly at the coin toss and elected to bat first on a flat looking Chatswood pitch, centered around a slow outfield in the midst of Shute Shield preparations.
Opening bats, Inman and Simons, exploded out of the blocks with cut and pull shots which eradicated the slow outfield as they dished out some early punishment to some of the worst bowling Gordon had offered so far this year. Thankfully for the home side, the wayward line and length only lasted 4 overs before Durie and Kidd - replacing Irving-Holliday - began to rewrite the course of the match with an acutely disciplined display of fast bowling, ably backed up by some fine catching and ground fielding.
0/30 soon became 2/34 as Livermore held onto a sharp low catch at first slip from a wayward Simons cut stroke and Inman tried to demolish a full ball on leg stump, both from the bowling of Durie.
Kidd had the wicket keeper, Carroll, smartly caught by a tumbling Atkinson at second slip in the next over and a few balls later, Durie bowled Goeke at the other end to have the Hawks sitting precariously at 4/39. Lang and Cruikshank added seven runs to the total before Kidd had the captain trapped in front for six and then Cruikshank managed to cut a ball onto his helmet and onto off stump for five.
Chris Spratt takes up the charge against the Hawks
Hawkesbury’s season was slipping away at 6/51. Durie 3, Kidd 3.
As if thing’s could get any worse for the visitors, a disastrous run out of Bayldon first ball made the score 7/52 and the game was essentially all but gone.
Durie wrapped the innings up with the last three wickets of Walker, Kershler and McGregor for minimal fuss, with Newman claiming two edges into the gauntlets and Howitt taking a good catch moving forward from a Kershler on-drive.
Durie took the accolades with 6/45 from 13 straight overs, but was ably supported by an impressive James Kidd who took 3/7 from 10. Blaize was only required for 3 overs after having some early problems with his footing at the crease, but bigger and better days lie ahead for this energetic young man.
Gordon had bowled the Hawks out in 26 overs and such was their efficiency, they would find themselves batting for four overs before the lunch interval on the first day. These four overs could prove pivotal in the run chase, if the visitors were to claim two wickets in this tricky little demi-session, they would wrestle back the momentum going into the second session and could make life extremely difficult on a slow outfield.
Ed Howitt, the skipper, follows his opening batsman's lead and pushes the Hawks out of the match
However debutant Chris Spratt proverbially lol’d at any notion of nerves as he glanced the first ball for two, then cut the second for four with the kind of youthful confidence that bestows such an upbringing. The lunch break did nothing to slow he or Livermore - who punished Hawkesbury’s initial length issues after the break - with a flurry of boundaries, highlighted by a couple of towering sixes square of the wicket. The pair made an invaluable opening stand of 48 before Livermore was out leg before, bringing Higgins to the crease.
Spratt and Higgins took the score past Hawkesbury’s total on the way to a further stand of 30 before a collapse of 3/4 and ultimately 4/14, temporarily ceased Gordon’s strangle hold on the tie.
Spratt played one pull shot too many and was caught at mid on for a brisk 36, before Higgins and the evergreen Atkinson were both run out in firstly avoidable and then somewhat unfortunate circumstances. Bromwich was then bowled without offering a stroke and Gordon had gone from 1/78 to 5/92 - perhaps highlighting the fragility of finals cricket and how ruthlessly mistakes are punished.
Tjaard Tait plays a strong defensive game to keep the Hawks out
Tait and Newman then combined for the partnership of the match. Spanning the best part of 40 overs, the pair took an important chunk of time out of the match as well as adding a comparatively hefty 51 runs to the lead. Newman on another day may have had 50 or more as he often found his graceful punches were halved from 4’s to 2’s, but his 30 was a much needed return to form at a difficult and pressurized time to bat in the match.
Tait and the captain, Howitt, came together to further extend the first innings lead, but they were twice interrupted by torrential rain as the home side battened down the hatches. When play did resume, it was Tait who was doing his own version of battening down said hatches by dead batting the Hawkesbury attack. Predominately facing the Hawks‘ leading wicket taker and former NSW representative, Kershler, Tait looked ill at ease as he continued to go about his business and rarely found himself in trouble.
At the end of day 1, Tait had faced more than 150 balls for his 22.
Day 2 was as much about merely batting time to eliminate any notion of Hawkesbury getting back into the match as it was about necessarily amassing runs and or setting a total. And Howitt and Tait continued where they had left off with an important stand of 40 before Howitt was caught at the wicket, cutting against the new ball.
Kidd takes 5 wickets for the match, including 3 crucial wickets in the first dig
Irving-Holliday, Kidd and Durie only managed single figure scores, but Tait was climbing up through the gears and went past his half century in perhaps the best innings he’s played. A chance-less 59 from an astonishing 233 balls ended as he was caught behind, a dismissal which also closed the innings.
Gordon finished on 232, a lead of 167.
With 70 overs left in the day, Hawkesbury’s only chance of saving its season was to score at better than a run a ball and giving themselves somewhere in the vicinity of 30 overs to bowl Gordon out. It was unrealistic, but there are no other options in finals time.
Although the execution was far better than in the first innings, Hawkesbury continued to lose wickets thanks to another 4 wickets from James Kidd and 2 to that man Tjaard Tait, backed again with some excellent catching.
Gordon completed a thorough and deservedly winning performance when Blaize plucked a ball from somewhere near the bubbler on the hill at the southern end, off the bowling of Tait and stumps were called with the Hawks stumbling to 6/101 - still 66 runs behind Gordon on first innings.
A very pleasing win in so many different aspects, not least of all because neither Atkinson or Howitt played an influential role in the win. If Adair’s wickets were the nails in the Hawkesbury coffin, it was Tjaard’s runs and balls faced that were the hammer. James Kidd’s 7 wickets throughout the match were just as valuable too.
Max Newman stands tall with bat and gloves. Hopefully he will get a chance to appear in the final this year
I don’t know why Missy had his name sung three times in the song though.
It was wonderful to see so many supportive faces at Chatswood Oval throughout the two days, and with next weeks opposition, Bankstown, losing on the weekend and Gordon becoming the new highest ranked side, this Easter long weekend promises to be an exciting one.
Bring a hot cross bun and say hello.
I had never played at Birchgrove Oval. It is a seriously beautiful place to play and watch cricket. A seaside leafy amphitheatre with parks, playgrounds, wide open lawns and views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I swiftly advised my wife and kids to pop down.
Mark Atkinson, possibly the right size for a nuggety front-rower, bashes one down the ground
I also did not know about its rugby league history. Plagiarising Wikipedia, the New South Wales Rugby Football League's "Foundation Day" on 20 April 1908 (Easter Monday) consisted of two double headers. At Wentworth Park (Glebe), Easts beat Newtown before Glebe triumphed over Newcastle, while at Birchgrove Oval in Balmain, South Sydney beat North Sydney and Balmain beat Wests. Birchgrove Oval was also used to host the official launch of the 2008 NRL season, the centenary, I presume because Wentworth Park is now a dog track. Birchgrove Oval was also the home ground of the Balmain Tigers from 1908 to 1933, and also in 1942. I am loving history more the older I get!
Last Saturday the oval was used for our game against the Sydney Tigers. The Tigers needed to beat us with a bonus point to have any chance to make the finals. Unlikely at best! Today the wicket was damp and sticky, displaying an obvious advantage to bowl first. Atko called heads and tails it was. We were batting.
Before many balls were bowled, I repeated the words of the Tigers' scorer with intrigue and intonation to enter into further discussion, "This wicket always has moisture in the morning and dries variably throughout the day". Being relatively surprised with his rebound, "Are you going to audit every word I say, smartarse", I concluded that he didn't know I had previously been an auditor but that he simply had character deficiencies, which we all have in some degree although usually not as obvious, and that he really meant to say, "Sucked in for losing the toss as we now have a chance of beating you". He was right.
Our experiment with Max at opener with Livers lasted only a few overs, although there was doubt about his caught behind departure after only a handful of overs. Missy (22) and Livers (23) toughed out the very difficult conditions to take the score from 13 to 50 against some very lively and frequently talkative seam bowling, Missy disappointed that the verbal deliveries had the imagination and intelligence of a North Sydney slip cordon.
Tait clears the infield, before taking to the Tigers with the ball in the absence of the skipper
From a run scoring viewpoint, the pressure was let off by the Tiger's three left-arm orthodox spinners, but the wickets started to fall. After hitting a few deliveries over the infield for boundaries, Clem decided that deliveries off the pitch were "popping" too much to hit in the air for fear of skiing the ball. He concluded it better to hit powerful drives along the ground. This decision was made a week after his season high 53 in second grade that included five 6s off similar bowling.
The common-sense of Grammar students, despite their exam scores, was once again put into question. Clem was out driving powerfully to cover!
As has happened numerous times during the season, the bulk of the innings was built around Atko. His 58 consisted of intelligent occasional lofted drives, well placed ground-strokes and trademark running between the wickets. Today his major ally was Taity (27), who looked especially comfortable at 6, although our final score of 7/185 off 50 overs would have been significantly greater had Taity not used Bromesque logic in the 42nd over by attempting to hit a second 6 to one of the longest protected boundaries, unsurprisingly not hitting the ball as long as the previous delivery.
Blaize's 6 off 13 balls was wonderfully entertaining, especially his attempts to hit each of his last 5 deliveries from the left-arm orthodox bowler into the neighbouring postcode, the only contact any of these ball having with any form of wood being that of the stumps on the 5th ball.
Dom Thomson (16* off 13) and Skillbeck (5* off 5) completed the innings with pleasing momentum, DT ability to guide boundaries both sides of 1st slip particularly amusing.
Stand-in skipper, Atkinson, makes room to the leg-side and places one back over the bowler's head
Atko standing in as captain for Hoppa's Cowra wedding commitments rotated the 3 big quicks, Blaize (1/14 off 7), Kiddy (2/22 off 7) and Adair (1/12 off 6) with good run rate reducing effect. Although the three needed to exert significant effort to extract life from the wicket, each played a powerful part in the taming the Tigers.
In his first game in 3rds, Skilly (1/40 off 8) showed that he could now make significant contributions in this grade and would progress to higher grades in time, but in the short-term needed to place more confidence in his talents and in the strike-power of his out-swing as he faces higher and higher quality batsmen.
But the bowling honours belonged to Taity. His first two overs were slightly off-target, understandable given his last spell of any significant length was before Christmas. However, these runs gave the Tigers the thought that they might be able to smash the next 8 overs at 12 runs/over in order to win with the desired bonus point. However, Taity's next 7 overs were probing and very accurate, characterised by significant speed, drift and dip variations. His 4/40 off 9 effectively ended the game.
So we ended the preliminary season second on the table, fulfilling the "first" captain's ambition made clear to the team back in January, so that we could play the maximum possible games at the glorious Chatswood Oval. I have no doubt that if all 11 players put in their best fighting efforts on the field, we will see and enjoy the next 4 days of cricket at Chatswood Oval.