1975-76 CTPL Season & Grand FInal Review
Sandy Bay dropped out of the final four in sensational fashion when they lost to bottom side University on the last ball of the day in the last roster round. With one ball to be bowled the teams were level and a draw would have kept the Bay in the finals race, but the Uni pair of Fraser and Brown scampered a run when keeper Cox misfielded the final delivery. Glenorchy was clear on top with 58 points with New Town and Clarence and North Hobart were all equal on 51 points in the tightest ladder since the introduction of finals.
Glenorchy went straight into the final when its semi against North was washed out on the second day, heavy overnight rain having soaked the pitch after the covers blew off. Glenorchy was well placed, however, after compiling 294/9 with Russell Colman hitting 92 to retrieve Glenorchy from difficulty at 90/5 on the first day.
New Town defeated Clarence on a horror strip at New Town – water seeped under the covers placed on Friday night and play was delayed for eighty minutes. Sent in, Clarence managed 80 and the Townies were in front by stumps. The following day play was delayed until 2.15pm because of the wet pitch and when New Town resumed batting they lost their remaining wickets quickly to close at 135. 55 runs in arrears, Clarence had little hope and, after some free swinging, the eastern shore lads declared at 86/6 and New Town batted out time.
Glenorchy won the final convincingly; the Magpies can thank Mick Rodwell for a magnificent burst of pace bowling when he virtually wrapped up the pennant for Glenorchy in the last seventy minutes of play on the Saturday by completely shattering New Town’s batting hopefuls. Set 181 by Glenorchy, New Town had lost the game when bad light stopped play at 4.53pm; Rodwell had picked up 3/9 off nine overs, with New Town reeling at 19/5 when stumps were drawn.
Ian James completed the mopping-up operation on Sunday morning, picking up the wickets of Lowry, Woolley and Direen in two overs. Rodwell added Greg Eade’s scalp to finish with 5/29 off a single spell of 16 overs; and James was equally impressive with 4/30. The pace duo continued to bowl with the same vigour when New Town were forced to follow on after being bowled out for 81.
New Town showed greater application in its second innings and finished with 193. David Page’s 42 was a fine contribution against the pace of Rodwell and James and Greg Eade hit his highest score of the season – 38 in 65 minutes. With only fifteen minutes remaining stumps were drawn with Glenorchy winning on the first innings.
New Town scored the bulk of its runs in the second innings off some of Glenorchy’s lesser lights in the bowling department. Glen Richardson, despite the game’s anticlimax, put a lot into eight overs to finish with the fine figures of 4/19, and Rodwell took his tally for the game to seven with 2/36.
New Town’s performance was a classic case of a side failing to capitalize on a fine effort by its bowlers. They had Glenorchy in trouble after sending them in on a lively wicket and there were few Glenorchy players who thought 181 was good enough for a first innings lead.
Their successful batsmen all season – Kel Cobern, Ian James and Glen Richardson – all went cheaply and Russell Colman failed to produce his semi-final form. Only former Sydney grade player Bruce Neill – playing in only his second 1st grade game for the club this season – went on the offensive. He compiled a workmanlike 51 in 66 minutes including seven boundaries. Carl Alexander proved his late-season return to form was no fluke with an equally valuable 37, and Brian Eade had the tail wagging with 25.
Ron Direen’s bowling performance was almost a repeat of his spell against Glenorchy in the last roster game. He brought himself on after lunch to pick up Alexander (37) and Holland (0) in his third over, then Colman (8) in his fourth over to have 3/5. Greg Eade moved the ball well to pick up the prize wickets of Cobern and James cheaply and finished with 3/41.
Mercury reporter – Gordon Burnett