1967-68 CTPL Season & Grand Final Review
Ironically the tightest points table for some years produced a dramatic conclusion to the season – the final round was washed out leaving the top three teams, New Town, Glenorchy and University all equal on 63 points and separated only on percentage – Kingborough, with 56 points, rounded out the final four.
Then the first day of the semi-finals was severely limited by the weather. In fact only ninety or so minutes play was possible in both games. When play resumed the following Saturday, Kingborough declared at 201/9 to give themselves a chance to bowl out New Town but Len Maddocks (143*) and Brian Sheen, who retired hurt with a strained calf muscle on 75, batted their team to 278/4 and into the final to meet newcomers, University, which won its first-ever semi by scoring 218/8 declared and 54/3 to defeat Glenorchy (178) by forty runs.
The following weekend, on an unplayable TCA wicket, sixteen batsmen marched back to the pavilion at the rate of one every fifteen minutes. Only four batsmen, two in each team, reached double figures. At stumps on the first day New Town was 78/7 in reply to University’s 69/9 declared.
University was sent in and the endless procession of wickets soon began with openers Bob Cotgrove and Ken Thomson both out with only six runs on the board. Bruce Doolan scraped into double figures scoring 11 and with Graeme Farrell put on 28 for the 3rd wicket. But then the students lost concentration and instead of trying to settle in, they gambled on to hitting their way out of trouble.
Although the wicket may have been difficult to play shots, with conditions changing as it dried out, Keech, Lewis and Batchelor hit out – Keech and Lewis skied catches to the closely packed attacking field while Batchelor was caught behind in a disputed decision.
Farrell was the anchor of the innings and compiled a well earned 34 before Brian Eade bowled him. Eade wrecked University’s batting taking 5/31 from eight overs; in support Wayne Williams claimed 3/15 off 8.1 overs. University skipper Bob Cotgrove declared the innings closed at 69/9 after his pace bowler Jock Abey was felled by a ball from Williams that rose sharply, hitting him between the eyes.
Brilliant fielding by University kept them in the game; Doolan took four catches – he collided with fielder Dick Harris in taking one of them and both players were flattened.
Things didn’t go well for New Town when the minor premiers batted and they slumped to 60/7 before some stout-hearted batting turned the tide. The University pacemen Harris and Abey did not take full advantage of the deceptive wicket and it was not until part-time bowler Graeme Farrell was brought into the attack that New Town fell into a hole. He took four quick wickets to turn the game on its end.
The Townies had to thank opener Peter Fyfe, who scored a courageous 32, and a hard-hitting Wayne Williams, who remained 15*, for inching past University’s score to achieve a first-innings lead by stumps.
University’s hopes of a recovery were dashed when rain limited play before lunch. The plan was to knock over the remaining three wickets and then score fast enough to set New Town a target in the hope they’d accept the challenge. But things didn’t turn out that way; it took an hour to dismiss New Town for an additional 24 runs on a wicket that suggested it would not provide the fireworks of the preceding Saturday.
University wiped out the first-innings deficit for the loss of two wickets but the slowish outfield made it all the harder to achieve its game plan. The fifty came up in 52 minutes. Two run-outs from great returns by Norm Direen and Terry Wylie as the students risked singles further distanced the recovery and with the dismissal of Graeme Farrell for 20 and then Bob Cotgrove (36) off the last ball before lunch the game was at the checkmate stage.
Heavy rain during lunch eventually saw the game abandoned at 2.30pm with University only 52 runs ahead with five wickets in hand.
Mercury reporter – Keith Welsh