1978-79 CTPL Season & Grand Final Report

Needing an outright win over Clarence or Kingborough victory against North Hobart, New Town missed out on both counts when John Smeaton hit 105 for Clarence and quarantined South Hobart, Glenorchy, Sandy Bay and North Hobart as the finalists.  As it was, the last day’s play of the final roster matches was washed out in all but one game, and in that match North Hobart almost defeated Kingborough outright and in doing so swapped places with Sandy Bay.  Final points – South 54, North 49, Glenorchy 49 and Sandy Bay 48.


Sent into bat on a belter at the TCA, South Hobart amassed 261 (Chris Hargrave 66*) but Sandy Bay comfortably won through to the final scoring 346/7.  In the other semi-final at New Town the umpires instructed the curator to twice cut the grass on the pitch and then sweep and roll the pitch before permitting play to commence.  The toss of the coin was critical and on a nightmare wicket North’s pace attack bowlers Les Appleton, David Page and David Richardson made life miserable for Glenorchy who managed 113 and 85/5.  Despite Neil Majewski’s 6/47, North Hobart (127) did a little better.


Despite a magnificent 152 by state batsman David Smith, Sandy Bay was still 24 runs short of North’s 332/8 when Robert Boughey was the last man out four minutes before the scheduled time for stumps to give North its third grand final win from nine attempts.


At tea the Bay needed 138 runs in 110 minutes to win, and with Smith still there blitzing the bowlers they looked to have every chance of doing it.  But when Ian Richardson threw down the wicket to run Smith out shortly afterwards, leaving them 266/7, the game was all but over.


“David played superbly.”  North Hobart captain David Hughes said after the match.  “Thank God we ran him out when we did – it was possibly the only way we looked like getting him out.”  And Hughes was full of praise for his three pacemen – David Richardson, Les Appleton and David Page.  “They were the walking wounded – Richo suffered from cramp early on, Page had a pinched nerve in his foot and Apples had to leave the ground after a re-occurrence of an old cartilage injury.  But they kept plugging away and gave us the breakthroughs just when we needed them.”


Richardson, after a wicketless opening spell, came back full of fight in his second spell to torpedo the Bay’s middle-order to finish with 4/107 from 21.6 overs; Appleton took 2/51 off 17 overs and Page 2/83 from 15 overs.


Earlier North Hobart’s batsmen had picked up from where they left off on the first day, adding 68 runs for the loss of three wickets.  Left-hander David Manson provided the backbone of North’s innings hitting an unbeaten 65.


Of the Bay bowlers, only evergreen Brian Patterson commanded respect.  In a marathon performance he sent down 39 overs (16 maidens) for 5/83.  Stamina, accuracy and cunning – Patterson’s bowling contained the lot.


When Sandy Bay finally commenced its innings at 12.02pm, even the staunchest fan could not have given them any hope of achieving the target of 333 runs in 278 minutes – a Herculian task even on a wicket as easy paced as the TCA.  With openers Nick Allanby and Stuart Saunders back in the pavilion with only 50 on the board, it looked an impossibility.


Then enter David Smith!  He began sedately enough, working the ball through the gaps for ones and twos, but then he opened up, driving with ferocious power in an arc between cover and mid on when the bowlers over-pitched, punching it past point or whipping the ball away to the leg when they dropped it short.  With Smith in full flight the Bay was travelling like winners.  North’s attack became ragged; its fielders even more so.


All it needed was for someone to stay with Smith.  Skipper Jim Wilkinson looked as though he might when he was brilliantly run out by Bruce Neill for 17.


Brent Palfreyman joined Smith at this stage and they added 76 for the 4th wicket in a partnership that threatened to take North apart, but again North had the answer – this time it was their keeper Bob De Groot who flung himself yards to the left to pull in a great catch to remove Palfreyman for 24.


When Smith was eventually dismissed, trying for one short single too many, it virtually spelt the end.  His 152 runs came up in 245 minutes – his innings included 15 fours and a six.


On the first day, North’s batsmen put themselves into a winning position by scoring 264/5 despite two interruptions for rain which cost 100 minutes of lost time.  Making first use of a hard and true TCA pitch, openers Bruce Neill and Gary Maynard gave North a jet-propelled start by putting on 87 runs in only 80 minutes, and surprisingly it was Neill – not the hard-hitting Maynard, who led the assault.  Shrugging off a season of low scores, the former state batsman made the Bay pacemen, Quentin McCulloch, Nick Allanby and Scott Young, pay dearly for over-pitching too often.


Sensing imminent slaughter, Wilkinson quickly introduced Patterson into the attack to steady things down, and his trump responded accordingly.  His first ten overs included seven maidens but more importantly the wickets of both openers; he yorked Maynard for 32 and in his next over had Neill caught in the covers for 49.  Using the cross breeze to drift the still-new ball into the left-hander, Patterson continued to bowl like Scrooge from the city-end which forced North to apply the pressure at the other end to leg spinner Stuart Saunders to maintain its run rate.


After the dismissal of Ian Richardson for 22, with the score 139/3, Hughes was joined by David Manson, another who had found runs hard to come by, but like Neill before him Manson forgot about past failures and got on with the job of helping Hughes take the score past the 200 mark.  When Hughes (68) was caught behind by McGuire trying to cut Patterson, Manson took over the mantle of pacemaker to dominate a 5th wicket partnership of 53 with De Groot.


Although overjoyed at winning the premiership, Hughes admitted that the conditions of play in finals needed changing.  “Because of the interruptions for rain on Saturday we were able to bat well into the second day and use up all our allocated 90 overs, while the Bay had to top our score, as it turned out, in only 63 overs.  If the mandatory-fifteen-overs-in-the-last-hour rule had been in force it would have been much fairer all round.”


Mercury reporter – David Stockdale