1995-96 CTPL Season & Grand Final Review
University took out the minor premiership at the conclusion of the roster series; with 105.05 points they were marginally ahead of Clarence (104.27) and Kingborough (103.36) with North Hobart (93.26) in fourth place.
University was unfortunate to clash with an in-form North Hobart combination in their semi-final; in reply to the Lions’ 225/9 (Graeme Blundstone 120), the Demons were very convincing, notching up 229/3. In the other semi, Clarence provided a masterly display of batting with skipper Andrew Dykes powering to 170 of his team’s 299; Kingborough managed 147 in reply.
So North Hobart and Clarence advanced to the final – for the third time in five seasons. Clarence coach Michael Granger considered his team’s form going into the final the previous year had been ordinary, but this season the team had been travelling better. Clarence had won both roster clashes during the season which gave the team a psychological edge, but North’s captain-coach Tony Judd was also very confident. “Over the past six weeks North had improved such that fourth place after the roster matches was not a true pointer of its ability.”
Play was delayed for two hours and Clarence elected to bat. The Bellerive outfield dried out after early rain and, despite losing opener Gavin Cooney early, all of Clarence’s top order were able to get among the runs without anyone really going on to a big score. State batsman Rod Tucker was the best making 64 in 127 minutes including seven fours. He shared a solid partnership of 65 with Roger Woolley (30) to take the score from 79/3 to 144/4 when Woolley was run out after a tight call from Tucker.
Myles Harry was called on to do the bulk of the bowling for North, sending down 26 overs, and reaped the rewards with 3/70 for his efforts. Tony Judd returned 2/30 from 20 miserly overs; he later said he was pleased with his team, which bowled very much to their pre-game plan, fielded well, and had the worst of the early bad conditions. “We hung in there and fought all day”.
When stumps were drawn the final was delicately poised with Clarence 181/8. Clarence captain Andrew Dykes (30) said he would bat on so as to and use the seventeen overs still available to them and put as much pressure on North Hobart as possible. With overnight rain threatening there was a possibility the match could end in a draw, which was to Clarence’s advantage.
The following morning Clarence’s tail wagged, with Duncan Hurd (25) leading the way to 211 – adding thirty valuable runs to the total.
In contrast to Clarence’s nail-biting last-ball win the previous season, North did it relatively easy when its turn came to bat, cruising to 213/2 with overs to spare.
North lost opener Mark Davis with the score on nine. Michael Di Venuto then joined Chris O’Neill, who’d also opened the bowling, and the pair carried the score to 71 before Di Venuto was caught by keeper Matthew Clingeleffer for 43. Myles Harry then teamed up with O’Neill, and the pair put on 142, giving North victory without another wicket falling. A short break for rain at 3.39pm with the score 181/2 gave Clarence a brief respite to no avail. It was all over for the Roos by 4.15pm with O’Neill undefeated on 76 and Myles Harry, the man-of-the-match, 73*.
To add to Clarence’s woes, Rod Tucker was reported for an audible obscenity as he left the field after his dismissal and Stuart Oliver was reported for disrespect to the umpire for refusing any assistance in taking guard on arriving at the crease to bat.
Mercury reporter – Anna Campbell