TWIC - Late December Back In '63...

Lane Cove Cricket Club - 1st & 4th Grade Premiers 2011/12

Did that kill the suspense?  We won two pots on the weekend.  Shiny pots.  Pots we haven't had for a long time or haven't had before.  Pot collection.  And lo, they sang Queen anthems long into the night.

Its been a long season so we'll have to update this one over the course of the next few weeks...

1st Grade:   Lane Cove 369  def  Burwood 180

Lane Cove entered their first Premiership decider since 1984/85 on the back of a dominant semi final performance over the reigning Premiers Strathfield. Up against the always strong Burwood Briars team, the Covies knew they would have to play the match of their lives to secure our first Premiership in 66 years. Turns out they did.

Airey Park was an absolute picture with the centre looking perfect for batting. Briars's skipper called incorrectly, and the Coves were on their way out to bat. Smiddy and Fozzie were looking to get the scoreboard ticking along before Smiddy mistimed a drive to mid off on 12. Fozzie soon followed with an LBW decision that could have gone either way, and the Coves were in a spot of bother at 2/31. Battler and Jacko then started to put together a nice little partnership, slowly accumulating but most importantly giving nothing away. These two took us to 110 at lunch, and the first session was slightly ours. The boys upped the tempo after lunch with Damian starting to find the middle of the bat and Jack turning the strike over nicely. Bats reached 66 before spooning a catch to mid off, a disappointing end to an invaluable dig. Richie Gal joined Jacko, playing their shots and running superbly between the wickets, until Jacko was caught on 71. It was a super dig, and a brilliant time to bring up his best 1st Grade score. Corny and Gal took the score to 4/220 at tea. Corny was in a particularly brutal mood, punishing anything loose, which ultimately led to his downfall, chasing a wide one only to edge it to the keeper for 46. Little Ricco fell soon after and Holty joined Gal with the intention of seeing us to stumps safely. 6/320 at stumps with Gal on 74* and Holty 18*, allowing the boys to sleep a little easier than we may have feared.

Day 2 saw the same perfect conditions, however in the space of one Davis over we went from 6/324 to 9/324 with Richie helplessly watching from the non-striker's end on 78. What followed was masterclass batsmanship as Richie proceeded to put the ball exactly where he wanted in finding boundaries between the spread field and farming the strike away from Sneaky. Sneaks did his job excellently but only faced 9 balls in 50 minutes as Gal scored 45 of the 49 runs scored on Day 2. (2 of those runs were leg byes. Off Gal). When Richie was finally caught he had pushed the Coves up to 369 with only 2.5 sessions remaining. In doing so he brought up his 5th Covie ton in only his 26th dig ending on a breathtaking 119. It was a privilege to watch. All in all four of our batsmen posted their highest score for the year. Handy.

The Briars innings started perfectly for the Covies with Fozzie running out their opener in the 2nd over. Holty was constantly beating the bat and Sneaky was keeping it tight and frustrating the batsmen, eventually getting the reward by enticing the edge to Wes. 2/48 at lunch. Richo found his rhythm after the break to remove Squire, and bring their two best bats together. Holley and Seymour were both in a very aggressive mood, however Holley went for one too many early doinks and proceeded to sky one into the beautiful big buckets of Smiddy. 4 wickets down and still more than 300 behind, the Covies could almost taste the beer out of the Clark Cup. The 5th wicket fell soon after and when Seymour was spectacularly caught and bowled by Gal to make it 6/94, the game was as good as over. Some lower order doinking from Beames and AJ only delayed the inevitable and our first ever Clark Cup was safely in our hands when Jalalaty spooned a Sneaky pill straight to Smiddy. Briars all out 180, and the Covies win by 189 runs.

Sneaky got 3 poles with SPOTY, Richo and Gal claiming 2 each. Richie Gallichan was the obvious and deserved choice for the Peter Toohey Medal for Player of the Match. Congratulations to our first XI for not only a completely dominant finals series, but also a completely dominant season. We won our first Minor Premiership since 1997/98, first GF appearance since 1984/85 and first Premiership since 1945/46. Savour it boys.


4th Grade:   Lane Cove 9/344(dec)  def  Epping 260

4th Grade came in to the match full of confidence after grinding out tough wins against Minor Premiers Strathfield and the evergreen Macquarie Uni side in the first two finals.  Southcott, Maxwell and Delaney came in for Lloyd, Camarsh and Bezer as enforced changes due to 3rd Grade's inevitable demise.  Tunks #1 was again looking fantastic and with the pitch looking a superb batting surface, the toss was going to be critical.  Sadly for Lane Cove, it was not to be as Dempsey called wrong once again and the Pingers captain rubbed his hands together with glee.  "We'll have a bowl", he said.  "You'll have a BOWL!?", Rupert what?  Dempsey swiftly shook hands and vacated the scene of the crime.  Well played Dempsey, well played.
So Southcott and Schaafsma strolled out to face the music.  The Pingers bowlers were hooping the ball sharply and it was tough going early doors with plenty of rocks beating the bat.  Cotty tired of this and launched a half volley back past the bowler for 4.  He sent a few more deliveries hurtling to the fence before tickling one down leg with the score on 28.  Last year's hero Rafe was out shortly after with the score still on 28 before we lost Schaafs to a ball that swung in viciously to rattle the pegs - 3/36.  Chris Wing joined Benny Arnall in the middle and the two counter-attacked with gusto, going after anything full, short or on the pads.  Wingy unfortunately hit a short one straight to square leg when he looked set for a score, bringing Skipper Demps to the crease with the score on 69.  The two were set to take us to lunch with no further loss when Dempsey tried to launch one over long on and lost his castle.  5/115 at lunch with the Epping skipper looking a prescient genius.
That ended in the following session when Benny and Maxy combined for one of the great Lane Cove partnerships.  Coming together with the score at 109, the two took the momentum away from Epping with superb strokeplay, good running between the wickets and solid defence.  In the session and a half the two batted together, they only gave one tough chance when Benny drove hard and low to mid off.  Otherwise the ball rarely hit anything other than the middle of the bat as the two put on 199 runs - a Club record for the 6th wicket - when Maxy snicked one to the keeper for a strangely chanceless 120.  As often happens with large partnerships, we lost a few quick wickets afterwards as Frenchy drilled one straight to mid off, Daz went for quick runs and was pegged and Benny finally holed out for what would prove to be a match-winning 139.  Demps pulled the boys in at 9/344 after nearly 100 overs, giving the bowlers 14 overs to have a crack at the Pingers.
Jackson Sargeant and Darren Delaney opened up, and after Daz sent his first pill down the wrong pitch, the next one hooped back in and cleaned up middle peg.  A few overs later he was back in action at cover, snaring a sharp chance off Jackson to send back the other opener - 2/6 early doors.  The Pingers 3 and 4 saw them safely to stumps with no further loss, but the Coves left the happier side having made early inroads.
Day 2 started solidly for Epping.  The batsmen looked comfortable on a flat track and were keeping the scoreboard ticking over nicely.  Jacko got one to duck back in nicely to trap the #3 in front, and when Rafe found the edge of one of their best bats, the Covie boys were threatening to wrap the game up early doors at 4/33.  Wilkins and Barkat batted sensibly though and saw the quicker bowlers off.  The ball was stopped ducking around and it became a tough slog for the bowling side.  It eventually took a slow, straight one from Cotty to bring Wilkins undone, LBW for a confident 41.  The Epping captain came to the crease - possibly with a point to prove - and immediately began doinking balls to and over the boundary.  He rode his luck a bit but certainly hit them well.  Southcott, Scott and Dempsey all copped a bit of punishment before tea, but Scotty broke through at the other end to give us something to hang our hat on at tea with the 6th wicket down.
The Pingers skip resumed his carvery after tea, continuing to blast his side towards the 344 runs required.  The Coves fought back and began to winkle away at the other end, with Scotty snaring the #8 with the score on 185 and Rafe picking up the #9 at 228.  The Pingers skip raised his century in the meantime (just 66 rocks required) with a straight bomb that just eluded Daz on the boundary.  Overs later though he finally fell, mistiming a drive where Wingy took a good catch diving forward.  The last wicket fell to Rafe as the last Pingers batsman skied the ball and approrpriately it was Benny Arnall positioned underneath it with safe hands to end the innings.
Fantastic result for 4th Grade, especially given Demps and the boys' work during the first final.  Spent a day at Strathfield sponging water off the deck when a washout for the weekend was well and truly on the cards.  Fairy tale results since then and a well deserved Premiership two years in the making.  Well done lads.  Only disappointment for the weekend was Benny Arnall being robbed of the Norm Smith!
John Lloyd Cricket Centurian