PL Season Review 1954-55

1954-55 CTPL Season & Grand Final Review

Well before the final round, the semi-finalists of the TCA’s first finals-series had been determined; Glenorchy 81, North Hobart 71, New Town 65 and Sandy Bay 60 headed the competition with daylight next.


The semi-finals produced two comfortable victories.  Glenorchy, the minor premiers, defeated Sandy Bay after scoring 307 and 190/1, with a fine double of 138 and 83* by opener Rex Garwood, and then disposing of the Bay for 185; while North Hobart’s score of 241/6, dominated by the youngest of the Richardson brothers, Brian (105*), was well beyond New Town’s 185.


The finalists, Glenorchy and North Hobart, were the outstanding teams all season and thoroughly deserved the honour of contending the first TCA final.  The finalists met twice during the season with honours even.  North, the reigning premiers, won the first encounter by 13 runs but Glenorchy turned the tables in the return match, which it won convincingly by ten wickets.


Glenorchy had considerable batting depth with Rex Garwood, the season’s most prolific scorer with 906 in all matches (roster and intrastate) – 20 innings for an average of 69.7; and fellow opener Lloyd Smith regularly giving Glenorchy a solid start which in turn enabled Emerson Rodwell, Doug Walton, Frank Dewsnap, and youngsters Ray Heffernan and Mike Hyland to plunder opposition attacks.  Pacemen Terry Palmer and David McGuire and the versatile Noel Diprose presented a formidable attack.


North was a grand team with brilliant batsmen in Reg and Brian Richardson.  Gerald Johnson and Darrel Jackman were consistent scorers all season and, with the aggressive Bert Brownlow, Ted and Col Richardson proving attack is the best means of defence, North was capable of scoring quickly.  Its bowling attack, more varied than Glenorchy’s, relied on the pace and swing of the Richardson brothers and the spin twins Gordon Long and Jackman.


After inclement weather prevented any play on the first Saturday, the inaugural TCA 1st grade final was restricted to a one-day game.


Glenorchy batted first and was immediately in trouble when Garwood was caught behind before he’d scored.  However, a solid 2nd wicket partnership of 68 between Smith (34) and Dewsnap (35) retrieved the situation before both were dismissed in quick succession, and the departure of Palmer and Hyland shortly thereafter saw the Glenorchy team in trouble at 88/5.


Walton (29) set about restoring Glenorchy’s fortunes but after three successive boundaries off Brian Richardson he was beautifully stumped by Brownlow.  The innings was saved by an aggressive rearguard innings by keeper Stan Lewis (21), who followed Walton’s example before Col Richardson sent him back to the pavilion.  His partnership with skipper Rodwell yielded 37 in fourteen minutes.  Rodwell remained the sheet-anchor with a patient 20* before time ran out for Glenorchy, whose innings was compulsorily closed at 156/7 leaving North Hobart 140 minutes to get the runs.


North’s pacemen Col, Ted and Brian Richardson borne the brunt of the bowling and, supported by some keen fielding, had done well to restrict Glenorchy and give their batsmen a real chance of victory.  However, as Glenorchy had finished the roster season at the head of the table, a drawn outcome would ensure they’d take out the premiership.


Unfortunately for North the innings started poorly and the first three batsmen were back in the pavilion with only 20 runs on the board.  A cautious Johnson was joined at the crease by Ted Richardson and the pair confidently attacked the bowling of Palmer and McGuire.  A bowling change by Rodwell brought about Johnson’s dismissal at 44/3 when he was well caught at slip by Garwood.  Following the loss of Col Richardson shortly after, North’s chances of winning looked indeed bleak at 47/5.


North’s captain Brownlow, seeing aggression his team’s only chance, threw caution to the wind and compiled 18 runs in five minutes.  With support coming from Ted Richardson, he continued his whirlwind tactics until, with the score at 111/5, he was caught by Diprose off McGuire for 50 scored in 32 minutes.


Ted Richardson and David Long lifted the score to 130 before Richardson was dismissed for a painstaking 25.  The return of Palmer and McGuire to the attack saw Fred Westwood depart without scoring and Irvine for 6, leaving David Long and his brother Gordon to score 14 runs for victory with just five minutes remaining to be played.


The crowd was hushed as Gordon pushed a single to get off the mark but when David, who’d batted patiently, took a desperate swing at a ball from McGuire, he was bowled for 16 and Glenorchy were premiers.


The final series had proved to be a popular success; it was a pity the match had been restricted to one day’s play but the vagrancies of Hobart’s autumn weather would be an ongoing influence on the outcome of many finals series in the years ahead.  It would become an accepted judgement of cricketers that the best way to win the premiership was firstly to head the ladder at the end of the home and away roster and secondly to win the toss in both semi-final and final matches.

Mercury reporter – Keith Welsh