CTPL 2007-08 Season & Finals Report
A mid-March Easter forced the TCA to compact its 2007-08 programme to achieve the 7/7 (two and one-day) roster format and the season ended a fortnight early but the result was the same with Kingborough producing back-to-back premierships.
Throughout the season Kingborough and South Hobart Sandy Bay challenged each other for ladder leadership and after fourteen rounds the clubs were separated only by percentage – the final standings: SHSB and Kingborough 70, University 56 with Clarence and New Town (the season’s improvers), well behind with 36; Glenorchy and North Hobart (30) disappointed while Lindisfarne (24) struggled in all grades.
SHSB again won the Club Championship. The Sharks defeated Kingborough in the Kookaburra Cup final and Glenorchy in the TCA T20 final; and continuing the club’s successes Alex Doolan, the season’s highest run-scorer, was the winner of the Emerson Rodwell Medal.
The semi-finals produced surprisingly close results. Chasing University’s modest score of 123, Kingborough (at home) had a fight on its hands and achieved victory with just one wicket in hand while in the other match, played at Bellerive Oval, Clarence, with its youth policy, inched past SHSB’s 310, with Shannon Tubb (147) and Ben Harris (102) at the forefront, with two wickets in hand to challenge Kingborough in the final. The dominant club, SHSB, seeking to take out the treble, had again fallen short at the critical stage of the season.
Grade Final Match Report
All grade matches played at Bellerive Oval in recent times have produced high scores and there was an expectation the final’s wicket – subsequently it proved to be the last prepared by TCA curator Cameron Hodkins would be another belter.
As the mercury hovered in the mid-30s all day, the Clarence batting order melted in the heat. Kingborough had all the momentum after running through an in-form batting line-up for just 188 before cruising to 78/1 at stumps on the first day.
Skipper Adam French won the toss and surprisingly elected to field in the sweltering conditions. His decision paid off early as the Roos slumped to 14/3 in the sixth over. Jonathan wells ran himself out attempting a suicide second run before Mark Divin had Grant Costelloe well caught at third slip by Brady Jones from a defensive prod. But the big wicket was that of captain Ben Harris who slashed at a wide short delivery from Brad Lovell but succeeded in edging behind.
The other hero of Clarence’s Shannon Tubb together with Damien Wright then started a rescue mission before the Knight’s slow men clamped the game down. Leg-spinner Bryce Turnbull bowled 26 overs on the trot – separated only by the lunch and tea breaks – while Jason Shelton sent down 17 consecutive overs rom the other end as they strangled the life out of the scoring.
Wright was looking good and brought up his 50 from 98 balls but fifteen runs later he attempted to put Turnbull onto the Hill – only to sky a catch to Jones at mid wicket. Wade Irvine found some of the form he showed at the start of the season but when he was bowled by Turnbull for a patient 36 in 144 minutes on the last ball before tea, only the tail remained. The two spinners finished things off quickly, with Turnbull’s remarkable figures of 3/44 also containing ten maidens. Shelton (3/42) claimed three of the last five wickets to wrap up the innings and give Kingborough nineteen overs to negotiate at the end of the day.
Openers Stuart Clark and Adam French moved effortlessly to 46/0. with French (34*) dominating the stand, being particularly savage on anything short or wide. Tubb struck a late blow by having Clark caught behind just before stumps and then had a confident lbw appeal against David Dawson turned down three balls later. But Dawson (25* from 24 balls) refused to retreat into his shell and planted the Roo’s left-arm chinaman over the fence. At stumps the Knights were comfortably placed at 73/1.
Fortunes changed dramatically in Nathan Wegman’s opening over of day two. With his fifth ball he found the outside edge of French’s blade, with keeper Nathan Muir taking a sharp chance low to his right and the next delivery trapped the dangerous Mark Divin in front for a first ball duck – Kingborough 73/3.
When Damien Wright, who bowled unchanged throughout the first session despite a pectoral injury, had Brady Jones lbw and Tim Scott brilliantly caught by Ben Harris at second slip, the Knights had slipped to 101/5, and it could have been worse had Rob Davey not survived a shout for leg before from Wright shortly after.
Through all the carnage Dawson stood firm, combining with Davey for a 51-run stand for the sixth wicket and a 58-run partnership with Jake Steele for the seventh to push his team to the brink of victory. The Knights eventually took a first innings’ lead during the middle session when Dawson took a single to deep square and a couple of overs later reach his century with a flick off his pads for four to fine leg. It was Dawson’s second century in the TCA final in two seasons. He didn’t play a false stroke in his 259-minute stay at the crease; his 107 included 13 fours and a six.
The scalps of Steele and Shelton to teenager Sam Rainbird – not used until the 81st over – after tea gave Clarence renewed hope they were still in the game, but a crucial 44-run last wicket stand from tailenders Brad Lovell (19) and Bryce Turnbull (24*) allowed Kingborough to reach 267 and lead by 79 runs.
By stumps, Clarence had wiped 39 off the deficit, losing Wells (3) in the process. Clarence would need to put the pedal to the floor the next morning to set up a big enough lead to give themselves time to run through Kingborough a second time to take the flag.
Captain Ben Harris made 50 and solid contributions came from Costelloe (33), Tubb (20) and a retiring Jason Harris (31), but the steady loss of wickets made things difficult. Divin (4/86) and Brad Lovell (5/86) bowled unchanged throughout the morning session, often to a 7-2 off-field and keeping the ball wide of the off-stump to reduce the run-rate. Clarence was dismissed for 175 on the stroke of lunch leaving the Knights to score 94 runs to seal an outright victory.
A few hearts would have missed a beat when Kingborough slipped to 39/3, but an unbeaten 31 from the Roger Woolley medalist David Dawson, also the man of the match last year, and Brady Jones’ 40* steered the team home – a late flurry of boundaries ended the contest with Jones lofting Wade Irvine for four to start the Knight’s celebrations.
“When we lost opening bowler Luke Swards at the end of last year I don’t think many people gave us much of a show without him,: said skipper Adam French. “He was such a big player, having taken 40 wickets in the season and was a big hole to fill. Also losing Michael Di Venuto, an integral member of the team, to state duties was hard to cover – but the young blokes stepped and we kept finding a way to win the close ones. Last year was a lot more emotionally charged, it was harder work for us to do it all again.”
Harris praised his team’s attitude, but admitted that after slumping to 14/3 inside the first 20 minutes on the first day the task was always going to be a hard one. “We lost those wickets and played catch-up from then on. We definitely showed the club spirit of hanging in and fighting to the end – all the boys did that.”
Report by Brett Stubbs (The Mercury) and Michael Gandy