2016-17 CTPL Season Review
Clarence was the dominant club across the grades easily taking out the Club Championship in the Club’s 60th year which co-incided with it’s formal relocation and clubroom dedication at Kangaroo Bay. It’s celebrations however were railroaded when its four grade teams were all defeated in the semi-finals. It was little consolation after the club (88 points) had stood clear all season. Kingborough (75), SHSB (70) and North Hobart (59) followed Clarence into the finals when the 19-round roster was completed.
The disappointing aspect of the 1st Grade season was the disparity between the top four clubs and the rest; while Lindisfarne (45) and New Town (44) had their opportunities Glenorchy (16) and University (15) were cellar dwellers all season losing twenty nine (five outright) matches between them – an outrageous outcome for two clubs with such impressive histories.
In R18 University was defeated by Clarence (188/5 dec) by an innings – scoring the club’s lowest team total twice (31 then 22) – in the one day. Clarence used only two bowlers – Cameron Stevenson (12/22) and Sam Rainbird (8/28) – that’s only happened on a couple of occasions in 150 years and the last time a two-day match was completed in one day was back in 1956.
The semi-finals saw the third and fourth placed teams (SHSB and North Hobart) meet Kingborough and Clarence respectively to produce results that surprised many. Needing just a draw the Knghts batted themselves into a defensive position well into the second day but failed to contain the lusty stroke play of Ben Dunk (125 from 132 balls) as the Sharks chased down 256 inside 58 overs. At Kangaroo Bay the Demons were able to defend 166 in a nail-biter as the Roos recovered to no avail from 96/9 to reach 137.
The final over three days at Blundstone Arena was a match of attrition where the bat dominated the ball throughout and SHSB resolutely controlled its direction to win the premiership for the second season on end.
SHSB also won the 2nd Grade title; Kingborough 3rds also made it two-in-a-row and North Hobart annexed both the U17 and U15 premierships. Clarence won the Kookaburra Cup defeating Kingborough in the final at Blundstone Arena and New Town won its first senior grade title since 1972 with success in the T20 Cup against Clarence and backed that up with the Statewide T20 title with a solid win over Burnie.
North Hobart was the premier club in the Women’s Grade for the fourth successive season. New Town won the Girls U/17 Comeptition.
Kingborough captain Harry Evans won the Emerson Rodwell Medal and Kim Fazackerley’s neice Erin (Clarence) won the Fazackerley Medallist in the Womens Grade.
The latest inductees to the CTPL Hall of Fame were Reg Hawson, Brian Richardson and Ian Beven.
Grand Final Report
The decision by SHSB skipper Sean Willis to send North Hobart in to bat produced early rewards when debutant Tasmanian Tigers’ speedster Gabe Bell had Demon openers Caleb Jewell and Kyle Scrimegour back in the pavilion and 12/2 on the scoreboard. Bell concluded the morning play with his third wicket – that of North’s captain Jordan Silk – caught behind by Martin for 35 and with 67/3 on the card at lunch the reigning premiers were well pleased with the morning’s work.
It didn’t continue that way after the break as Jack White found a staunch ally in Jake Doran and the pair added 96 before White on 62 fell to Bell – picked up by Alex Doolan in the gully. Bell’s fifth wicket came with the score at 219/5 when Corey Murfet was adjudged lbw for 32. The Demons lost another wicket on the cusp of stumps when Jeremy Smith enticed an edge to the keeper Martin to send Cameron Boyce (12) back to the shed leaving Doran to battle to a well deserved century with the help of Alex Pyecroft. At stumps North Hobart 257/6 would not have been displeased with Doran unbeaten on 103 – an innings of class including eleven fours and a six.
It had been a hard day at the office for the Shark attack. While Bell was well rewarded for his 5/64 off 22 overs, his partners, Hamish Kingston 0/47 from 25 overs and Xavier Doherty 0/49 from 25.4 overs, had no such luck. Smith was the other wicket-taker – 71/1 from 18.2 overs.
Day two was clinical. North battened down. Eighteen runs into the morning, Pyecroft on 11, lost his wicket (275/6) bowled by Kingston, pleased at last for the reward of persistence and club coach Wade Townsend was at the other end when young Doran’s extended innings was halted on 123 when he too edged Bell to Martin – 296/8.
North Hobart went to lunch on 325/8 as Townsend and Robb Macmillan pushed on but when play resumed Kingston wrapped up the innings with the quick wickets of Macmillan and Ben Fraser – to complete a very respectable innings of 333. Gabe Bell had the honours with a career best return of 6/80 while Kingston ended with 3/75. Retiring state orthodox left arm spinner Xavier Doherty was wicketless after 40.4 overs but his consistency throughout was a contributing factor to the success achieved at th other end by SHSB’s quicks.
There were no fireworks and none were expected as the Combined set about the run chase – well they really only needed to draw the match to take the title so protection was the priority. Matthew Clark and a composed Ben Dunk showed the way. “The mood is really good. We have given ourselves the best opportunity to chase the runs down.” said playing coach Clark. “But it won’t be easy.. we’re not taking anything for granted.”
Clark (21) was the first to be dismissed off the bowling of Ben Fraser with 43 on the board and Dunk (38) followed when he was caught behind off Pyecroft – the match balanced with SHSB on 72/2 midway through the second day.
Enter Sean Willis to join Alex Doolan. The pair carried the score to 196/2 at stumps with Doolan 79* (from 144 balls) and Willis 53 (129 balls). North’s speed attack of Fraser (1/61), Pyecroft (1/48) and Corey Murfet (0/34) had sent down 43 overs between them. Surprisingly Silk decided not to use Cameron Boyce beyond two overs for his flight and pace variation may have pressure the partnership that appeared to have turned the fortunes of the final to SHSB.
The Sharks lost their captain inside the first half hour when Willis (57) nicked Pyecroft to Doran – 229/3 – but it did little to slow down Doolan who powered his way to a second consecutive grand final century.
All looked on track until Fraser removed Doolan on 116 and the state captain, George Bailey (15), in the space of four balls, reducing the Sharks to 255/5 still requiring 89 to win. But Harry Nichols (34) and Doherty (41*) combined for a 58-run sixth wicket partnership when it mattered the most to alleviate any scares and although Nichols fell in sight of the total, the cool headed Doherty saw his team across the line.
“I’m not the greatest watcher at the best of times, especially after last week’s semifinal where we fell in a heap towards the end, there were certainly some nervous moments” Shark’s coach Clark said, “But I had full faith in the batsmen to come and they got us over the line in the end. They’re not easy games and we knew it would go well into the last day. I couldn’t be prouder of the boys. Relief is probably the word that comes to mind. Taking over a premiership team and a side that has had a lot of success last year, there was a bit of pressure.”
The Demons were valiant in defeat with Jake Doran’s 123 setting up the target and captain Alex Pyecroft sent down 60 of the 98 overs bowled. Gabe Bell was named the Roger Woolley medalist for his 6/80 on a docile pitch.
So it took almost thirty years and four grand finals for South Hobart Sandy Bay to capture its maiden CTPL 1st Grade crown, but the club made up for lost time after going back-to-back.
Match report by Alex Luttrell & Adam Smith (The Mercury) and Michael Gandy