1984-85 CTPL Season & Grand Final Review

Rain on the final day of the last round prevented any play and denied Glenorchy an opportunity to gain first innings points against North Hobart; for the first time in fifteen years the Magpies missed the finals; Sandy Bay was well placed to take the points from South Hobart so they too were deprived.  Final points: Clarence 63, South Hobart 57, North Hobart and New Town 48, Glenorchy 44 and Sandy Bay 43.


North Hobart upset favourites South Hobart in their semi-final bout.  Despite Dale Arnold’s 6/61 which restricted North to a score of 241, the Demon’s paceman Graham Astley was just as successful the following day, taking 6/60 as South crashed out of the finals with a poor innings of 160.


In the other semi-final Clarence was merciless against New Town, batting into the second day to amass a huge score of 443/7 with Brian Davison 113 and Roly Hyatt 127 – together adding 178 for the 6th wicket.  New Town gave it away at 5/147.


So, for the first time for four seasons, Clarence had a new opponent in the final – and victory would equal New Town’s record (set in 1971) of four consecutive premiership flags.


Heeding to his superstitious belief that Clarence win when they bat first, skipper Hyatt opted to bat when he won the toss, but after a couple of hours he must have been wondering if he’d done the right thing.  Both batsmen and bowlers had trouble with the unpredictable bounce from a two-paced wicket.  Peter Schofield was the first victim, trapped lbw by Astley when the score was only 16.  Soon after, two more victims headed for the pavilion, but not as a result of a wicket falling.  Opener Robert Shaw retired hurt with a badly bruised finger and didn’t resume batting until after lunch, while North Hobart fielder Ross Clennett was whisked away to hospital for x-rays after dislocating a finger.


These distractions and interruptions seemed to have an impact on Clarence’s batsmen; Mark Kerslake, Ian Bevan and Brian Davison were all back in the pavilion with 132 runs on the board.  Beven, the TCA Cricketer of the Year, had a rare lapse in concentration when he let a ball from young Michael Cotton slip between bat and pad to bowl him for 33.  No one was more jubilant than Cotton who was a replacement for the unavailable Philip Norris.


After his return Shaw managed to add only ten runs before his stumps were rattled by Colin Tully and the North Hobart skipper was well pleased to have the titleholders 149/5.  Three runs later Michael Tame flashed at one outside the off-stump from Astley and was caught by keeper Bob de Groot as North continued to make inroads into Clarence’s much vaunted middle/late-order batting line-up.  When Michael Granger edged one from Tully, Clarence was up against the wall at 221/8.


Ian Huck proved the stumbling block for North.  He and number ten batsman Dale Kemp refused to budge or offer any real chance, although Huck was put down by Ron Davey in the gully – had he caught the hot chance it would have been a ‘classic catches’ entry, but otherwise Huck skillfully drove and glided the ball through gaps to the boundary time and again.  His 107 came in 210 minutes off 156 balls and included 14 fours.


Huck shared a 9th wicket partnership of 103 runs with Kemp, who showed maturity and style in knocking up a handy 39 before going for broke on the last ball of the day.


Time was the biggest enemy for North’s bowlers; Astley, Tully, Cotton and Bowerman had been rewarded early by the fast-paced pitch and were supported by some good fielding but, just as Huck and Kemp had no lack of energy, the bowlers began to tire and the fielding became sloppy, which was all Clarence needed to regain the initiative.  Still the game was far from over – North’s target was 325 from 89 overs – a run rate of 3.65 was well within North Hobart’s batting capability.


As the second day progressed it became obvious that North was never going to challenge Clarence’s score.  Dismissed for 236, North was 89 runs short of victory and Clarence had achieved its aim of four premierships in a row.


Captain Hyatt said he was more relieved that the game had finished without a drop of rain falling, than happy that Clarence had won.  “We’ve been under pressure a lot this season – pressure because people expect us to win and pressure to prove we can do it without the weather.  Over the past four seasons we have lost only six games out of 77 we’ve played.  It’s been a fantastic year for us, winning the One Day Cup and the Club Championship and capping it off with Ian Beven’s ‘TCA Cricketer of the Year’ award as well.  In addition the Clarence Football Club won the premiership.”


Hyatt attributed the club’s success to a strong bond between the football and cricket clubs.  “It’s been a huge boost to our confidence having the broader supporter base.  Robert Shaw has been a great acquisition too – he’s a top motivator within the club structure.”


However, it was Hyatt who provided the motivation in the final – taking the important wickets of Colin Tully and Ian Richardson on the way to match figures of 4/73.  Tully was dismissed for a duck.  Richardson, unable to bowl because of a back injury, compensated with a courageous knock of 56 before losing his wicket to Hyatt’s spin.


When North Hobart’s only other batsman of note, Rohan Catherall, was dismissed for six with the score 114/5, the near-impossible task for North fell on Chris Bowerman’s shoulders.  For a while he looked like he would do it too but the remaining overs and partners ran out at about the same time.


Beven had one of his most successful spells of the season, finishing with the fine figures of 4/93 off 29.4 overs.


Mercury reporter – Toni Jupe