CTPL 2006-07 Season & Finals Report
The format of seven two-day and seven one-day matches was continued and apart from a wash-out in R9 and a rain-converted R14 into a limited-overs fixture, the weather did not significantly impact on the home and away series. The Grade Cricket Committee introduced Rivalry and Heritage rounds matching clubs according to neighbourhood locale and length of association with the TCA respectively to encourage community involvement and club marketing initiatives. In several instances, clubs struck trophies to honour former players to further enhance the competitiveness of these matches.
SHSB stood up as the new powerhouse and Kingborough re-emerged as a strength primarily as a consequence of its youth policy in recent years. These two clubs were the competition leaders all season. The Twenty20 knockout series was won by SHSB, who defeated University in the final played at Queenborough. The Southern Sharks also convincingly won the Kookaburra Cup – against Glenorchy (seeking a hat-trick of titles) in a lop-sided final at KGV.
Despite its win over Glenorchy in the last round North Hobart fell short of the finals when Clarence surprised SHSB – the final standings being: SHSB 66, Kingborough 64, Clarence and Glenorchy 48, with North Hobart out in the cold with 46 points. An abandoned R13 match between the titleholders, North Hobart, and Clarence, due to a dangerous wicket at the TCA ground, whereby neither clubs gained points proved fatal for North, banking on regaining its state players for the finals series. University (42) disappointed while New Town (16), with three wins, enjoyed its best season for some time. Lindisfarne (6) was in a rebuilding mode and won only one match.
For the first time the TCA Player of the Year award was renamed the Emerson Rodwell Medal and in a close count, Kingborough all-rounder Stuart Clark was the winner – the first Kingborough player to do so.
The semi-finals pitted SHSB at home to Glenorchy and Clarence against Kingborough at Kingston Beach. Following successive losses SHSB returned to its winning ways and its first final appearance for seventeen years with a resounding eight-wicket win over the Magpies; state spinner Xavier Doherty returned the outstanding figures of 8/37 in Glenorchy’s second innings. The other semi was a nail-biting affair with Clarence compiling 304, thanks to a masterful 102 by tyro Matthew Wade, on the first day. In reply Kingborough fought back through Stuart Clark (101) who was well supported by the middle order; late in the day – with man-of-the-match Luke Swards (7/108 and 23*) guiding a last-wicket stand of 26 past Clarence; the Knights (307/9) were into their first final since 1997-98.
The first grade final was deferred a week, when the Cascade Tasmanian Tigers won the right to host the Pura Cup final at home, in order to accommodate the match at Bellerive. The euphoria of the Tasmanian home-victory over NSW was not lost on the cricket community.
The SHSB club was formed in 1987-88 but since has had rare success in TCA senior competition. South Hobart won the title in 1970-80 and Sandy Bay, the following year and it wasn’t until 2000-01 that the combined club featured in the premier match – losing to Lindisfarne. Progressively the club signed several intra-state cricketers attracted to Hobart to advance their cricket opportunities or attend university, and coupled with its group of state contracted players, SHSB has the potential to challenge Clarence and North Hobart which have dominated the competition for the last twenty years. Their opponent Kingborough won the TCA final in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Grand Final Match Report
The final at Bellerive Oval was an outstanding three-day affair with several final records broken by the two teams; the wicket, another batting paradise, produced the highest aggregate team-score and the winning team, Kingborough, chased and surpassed the highest ever target score – with the loss of just two wickets. It was an amazing final.
Adam French won the toss and looking to get first chance to extract any moisture and pace from the track, opted to send SHSB to bat. It looked like being a poor decision when the opening batsmen, Stuart Martin and Jon Sales established a new first wicket partnership in the final – when Sales was dismissed the pair had added 142, with Sales scoring only 16 in 2 1/2 hours at the crease.
Martin, who’d never scored a century in his life, was relentless and thrashed the Knight’s attack to all parts of the oval.
When he was dismissed after 256 minutes for 180, the third highest individual score in a final, with the score at 251/5 he’d scored 72% of the team score. His innings off 195 balls included 28 fours and three sixes.
Tasmanian vice-captain George Bailey had obviously celebrated the Tasmanian Tigers victory too well and stayed at the wicket for just one ball – snicking a good one from Luke Swards to the keeper. However, Adam Polkinghorne (62) demonstrated his all-round skills to push the score at a run-a-ball and in the last hour, Travis Little (37) and Chris Duval (42) punished a tiring attack to put the Sharks in a very comfortable position at stumps with 390/8 on the board. The wicket was batter friendly so there was some confidence to push the total well past 400 on the second day.
Kingborough’s game plan was to knock over the remaining wickets and then set about the run chase, and the plan worked perfectly when Luke Swards cleaned up the tail for the addition of twelve runs with the pace bowler returning the best figures of 4/102 off 28 overs. With two days available to them there would be no time pressure – their success chasing down Clarence’s score in the semi-final was a confidence builder for the Knights.
By lunch the Kingborough openers Adam French and Rodwell Medalist Stuart Clark had established a firm base with a smart start of 67 but immediately after the break, Polkinghorne trapped Clark (30) in front. It was 67/1 – enter David Dawson, one of the forgotten Tasmanian Tigers; the pair were resolute – French combining a strong defence with occasional aggression while Dawson put his head down. The required run-rate was not a problem and the partnership gradually accrued – mid afternoon Marshall enticed French (60) to flash at a wide delivery only to touch it to the keeper Martin. His departure at 117/2 was to be the last success the Shark attack enjoyed.
Fellow former ACT recruit Mark Divin joined Dawson and the pair patiently carried the Knights to 207/2 at stumps with Dawson 69* after 251 minutes and his mate 38* in 162 minutes. In stark contrast to the first day only 219 runs were scored. “We knew we had a lot of time in the game so there was no urgency in our batting”, said Dawson. “SHSB bowled very tightly, you can’t take anything away from their bowlers and I think the game is pretty even at the moment. The wicket is quite hard to drive on, it is quite a slow wicket – we knew we had to be patient and wait for the right ball to hit.”
The final day was an extraordinary day and the batting feat of Dawson and Divin climaxed a perfect summer for Tasmanian cricket – after the jubilation on the ground seven days earlier, the outcome of the 53rd final was a fitting conclusion to the cricket season.
The partnership somewhat laboured for runs through the morning session. By lunch the score had slowly progressed to 270/2 but the new ball had been blunted and it was clear the Sharks attack was on the back foot – eight different bowlers used with Targett and Polkinghorne turning their talents to spin for additional variation without a hint of a chance from the batsmen.
They each raised their centuries to the applaud of a large and vocal crowd. Following lunch the scoring rate increased and with fielding gaps opening up the pair completed the run-chase before the tea-break. Kingborough’s 405/2 was the fifth highest team score in a final and certainly would have become the highest had the innings continued. There was no need. Dawson and Divin had added 288 in an undefeated third wicket stand – the biggest ever partnership in a final.
Dawson’s score of 162* came from 352 balls in 494 minutes at the wicket, and included 24 boundaries. It is the equal fourth highest individual score in a final. His happy partner Mark Divin’s innings of 128* included 15 fours, off 329 balls in 398 minutes.
Kingborough’s captain Adam French was full of praise for the pair: “They were just phenomenal, their concentration was outstanding, and they were just happy and wait for them to get into their areas and put the bad ball away.”
Rival skipper George Bailey said his side was confident at stumps on the first day but the end of the innings early on the second day was a problem for us in the end. Dawson and Divin simply took the game away from us. Full credit to them. It was amazing application and their partnership was chanceless. Having said that, I thought we made them bat over 150 overs to get the runs; I’m proud of the way we stuck at it.”
Dawson was awarded the Roger Woolley Medal as the Man-of-the-Match.
Report by Brett Stubbs (The Mercury) and Michael Gandy