1989-90 CTPL Season & Grand Final Review
It was the closest conclusion to the TCA 1st grade roster programme yet seen. When the final ball had been bowled, three teams were separated only on percentage between second and fourth place after New Town overcame University to win the fourth spot. Final standings: Clarence 57, SHSB 51, Brighton 51 and New Town 51.
Competing in the finals for the first time Brighton’s 2nd wicket partnership of 110 by Rod Fehlberg (54) and Alan Simpson (72) enabled them to pass SHSB’s 220 with four wickets in hand; at Bellerive Clarence made short work of New Town thanks to Ali de Winter (81 and 4/73) and Peter McPhee (5/61) – 210 to 158.
There was not to be a fairy-tale ending to Brighton’s exceptional season. The reigning premiers romped to victory led by its burly paceman, Peter McPhee, who took a career-best eight wickets in the final. But the game was not entirely in Clarence’s favour.
Brighton skipper Neil Lenham won the toss and sent Clarence in. At one stage it looked as though Brighton would start its innings later in the afternoon; but a glorious century partnership between teenagers Duncan Hurd and Andrew Dykes put Clarence in a strong position. The pair pulled the defending champions out of trouble against the underdogs.
Opener Peter Schofield was bowled by Warren Wylie for five – 10/1 – and by 2pm the score was 110/5 with Hurd and Dykes at the crease. The youngsters were up to the task and over the next two and a half hours turned the game around with a sensational stand of 122 in 134 minutes to carry the score to 232/6.
Clarence skipper Shipperd looked to be in good touch for his 34 but he played a ball on when defending against left-arm pacemen Don Gardiner. Scottish opener Bruce Patterson hit 33 and he also fell to Gardiner whose figures of 30/9/73/2 did not fully reflect the way he bowled. Spinner Tony Conlan stemmed the tide when he came on late in the day to dismiss Dykes, Hurd and Colegrave to take the bowling honors with 3/21 off eight overs.
Clarence continued batting into the second day to complete its maximum allowance of 112 overs and push its score to 301/9 with Greg Campbell picking up 27 valuable runs. The loss of overall time meant that Brighton’s overs were reduced to 97 which put additional pressure on the lower placed finalist.
But it didn’t really mean much, for on the second ball of McPhee’s second over Brighton’s English captain-coach Neil Lenham was caught at slip by Campbell and on the fifth ball of his third over Scotsman Alan Simpson was trapped lbw by Campbell. With the third ball of the sixth over Paul Rogers was caught at slip by de Winter trying to hit McPhee off the back foot – the three had scored two runs each, which hardly helped Brighton’s cause at 11/3.
Wicket-keeper Mick Peters joined opener Rod Fehlberg at the crease and the pair batted confidently despiter the circumstances until Fehlberg (22) went at 50/4 and it was left to Peters to put the innings back together. With Scott Direen the pair added 64 runs for the 7th wicket. Peter’s defiant innings yielded 69 runs in 200 minutes. He raised his fifty with two fours. Direen’s unbeaten 36 was the only other real contributor in a disappointing score of 195.
All the allocades went to “Big Mack” – Peter McPhee – whose 8/50 from 24 overs was a match-winning effort.
It was the first time Clarence captain-coach Greg Shipperd had led a team to a premiership: “Thoroughly enjoyable too. The innings on Saturday by our young players Duncan Hurd and Andrew Dykes helped tremendously. It was critical to score around 300 which was our target. Towards the end it was a grand effort by Campbell to push the total beyond that score. We bowled well early and had them under a lot of pressure. Had we held all our catches we could have won by a lot more.” said Shipperd.
“I didn’t think Campbell and McPhee’s figures did justice to the final outcome, for a more even spread of wickets would have been just reward for the bowlers. I thought Brighton fought out the game well to the bitter end; they surprised us with their batting depth and it’s good to have another competitive team in the TCA competition.”
Mercury reporter – James Bresnehan