CTPL 2008-09 Season & Finals Report 


A season dampened by weather before Christmas which produced 13 no-results or wash outs saw North Hobart with a clear lead at the end of the roster with Clarence an equal favourite for the premiership cup.  The final standings were South Hobart Sandy Bay 68, Clarence 52, North Hobart 42, University (Q1.1012) and Lindisfarne (Q0.9707) 30, Kingborough 22, New Town 20 and Glenorchy 16.


Nature played a hand in shaping the final four when play was abandoned on the second day of the final round although University was well placed in its match against Lindisfarne, the big improvers.  The Lightning fell off the pace in the second half after leading the table with several impressive wins.  Reigning premiers Kingborough lost several senior players after its premiership and struggled all season but success may not be far off as the club’s junior grades reached all three finals.  The northern suburbs clubs New Town and Glenorchy had just five wins between them.


SHSB won its third Kookaburra Cup in a row and Clarence was successful winning the T20 Cup.  A new Statewide T20 KO series involving grade, suburban and country clubs and associations across the state proved a great initiative – the final saw Launceston win a thriller over Clarence.


SHSB had depth across the grades to take the TCA Club Championship for the third successive season.  Kingborough won 2nd grade, SHSB the 3rds and Clarence took out the U17 grade final.


SHSB, minor premier for the third successive season, fell out of the finals’ race again after a poor performance against the eventual premiers, University in the main semi-final at Bellerive Oval.  State tyros Tim Paine (63) and James Faulkner (80) provided the backbone for the Students’ innings of 277/9; Chris Duval’s 6/73 was a fine effort.  In reply SHSB could only reach 230 to give credence to the Combine’s finals hoodoo; five-times Emerson Rodwell Medalist Adam Polkinghorne was a stand out with 115 to finish his TCA career but sadly none of his highly credited team-mates provided any support.  In the other semi-final at the TCA ground Clarence struggled against North Hobart’s pace attack to make 221 with English import Tom Flowers unbeaten on 72 and it was no surprise to see Michael Di Venuto (115) and state skipper Dan Marsh (64) lead the Demons to the target for the loss of only five wickets.


Grade Final Match Report


Favourable weather greeted the teams for the final at Bellerive – it was the first time since season 1977-78 that the third and fourth placed teams at the end of the home and away roster had met in the final.  North and University played each other only once during the season – a two-day fixture in round 13 – and the match was a run-fest with North chasing down University’s 315 (Tim Paine 172 retired) with four wickets in hand.  The final promised another high scoring affair with respective strong batting lineups up against suspect bowling attacks.


Michael Dighton (NH) won the toss and elected to bat but by lunch the final had practically been decide with North in disarray at 89/6.  Hero of the first session was Brad Thomas who was recalled to the team after retiring a couple of years before; he was one of two (Josh Bean the other) to play in the Lion’s last premiership cup in 1999-2000.  Thomas was well supported at the other end by Gordon Kerr on a wicket which provided some sideways movement and swing.  Two seasons earlier Thomas and Kerr were squaring off against one another in the Huon Cricket Association for Slab Road and Blackmans Bay respectively.  Together they teamed to rip the heart form the Demon’s batting.


Michael Di Venuto (34) started brightly and looked in ominous form before the introduction of Kerr changed the complexion of the match.  With his first ball, Kerr had the former state dasher caught down the leg-side by stand-in keeper, the leaping Rhett Lockyear.  Then a few overs later he claimed the key wicket of Dighton who top edged a cut to first slip after thrashing Kerr for three successive boundaries.


At the Northern end, Thomas (4/15 from 13 overs) suffocated the life out of the innings with tight lines and length.  The 37-year old grabbed two big wickets before lunch when John Rogers dragged a drive onto his stumps and then took Jon Dakin’s scalp when the acclaimed stroke-player slashed at a rising delivery well outside the off stump for Josh Bean to take a juggling catch at second slip in the next over.


After the break, Thomas removed retired Tasmanian Tiger skipper Dan Marsh (30) and Ben McIntyre for a duck to have North slump to 114/8.  The wicket of McIntyre also had Thomas create more personal achievements, giving him his 300th first grade scalp.


Batting at eight, regular opener Russell De Groot (57) recovered from a blow to the helmet from James Faulkner to mount a mini-fightback with a 52-run stand with Rhys Owen for the 9th wicket but when Owen was snapped up by a diving Lockyear off Tim Paine (unable to keep due to a finger injury) who reveled in the opportunity to send down a few medium-pace overs, the writing was on the wall.


Rhett Lockyear (69), batting in his usual cavalier style, then drove the nail into the Demon coffin with a run-a-ball knock and although Dighton induced Paine (27) to chop the final delivery of the day onto his stumps, the Lions were in a dominating position with 130/3 at stumps on the first day.


Day two belonged to James Faulkner; resuming his innings at 10*, the talented teenager pummeled the North Hobart attack to score his maiden first grade century to seal the Lion’s premiership.  The eighteen-year old all-rounder, who made his first class debut earlier in the season before being forced to the sidelines with stress fractures to his shins, cracked a sublime 153 as University piled on 427 – the club’s highest-ever first grade team score surpassing 415/9 v Glenorchy during the current season.  It was also the second highest final’s score in 55 years.


Faulkner was a model of concentration while unleashing his raw talent, playing a near-faultless innings as he hammered the bowling to all parts of the oval.  He faced 249 balls in a knock which lasted just under 4 1/2 hours; his innings peppered with 16 boundaries.  The highlight of the day was his driving down the ground with anything slightly over-pitched dispatched with ease.


He shared a 109-run stand with Scott Nichols (41) for the 4th wicket; 48 with his captain Graeme Cunningham for the 5th wicket; then 59 with Brad Thomas (26) and 64 with Gordon Kerr (22) for the 7th wicket.


By the time Rhys Owen (3/80) wrapped up the innings shortly after tea, the Lions had built a 259-run lead and the possibility of the match being called off a day early looked a possibility, but Demon’s skipper Dighton refused to concede and instead took on the near impossible challenge of dragging his team from the canvass.   Dighton clubbed a 29-ball half-century, opening partner Jon Dakin smashed four sixes off Tom Briscoe’s first over before being dismissed – caught on the boundary – off the last ball while Di Venuto and Marsh added quick contributions to reach 147/5 at stumps.


The formalities were nigh – Faulkner had overnight striker De Groot caught behind in the first over of the third day andsoon after the Man of the Match threw down Clingeleffer’s wicket when the former state keeper had a mid-wicket mix-up with Pat Doherty, before claiming his second wicket when Doherty skied a catch to mid-on next over.  Josh Bean then wrapped up the innings as the Demons limped to an innings defeat within sight of lunch.


Both captains gave glowing endorsement of the young sensation, James Faulkner.  “He is the most sensible 18-year old with a cricket bat in his hand I have ever met.” Lions skipper Graeme Cunningham said.  “Even with the ball he runs in and hits back a length.  He was probably the quickest bowler in the final getting them into the mid-130 kms plus and hitting good areas.  He’s a natural but we won’t have him too often next season with state commitments having priority.”


Rival skipper Michael Dighton admitted he’d misjudged the wicket on the first day but also paid tribute to Faulkner’s innings which effectively batted the Demons out the game.  “It was outstanding, the way he went about it showed maturity beyond his years.”


Report by Adam Smith from “The Mercury” and Michael Gandy