"Arch rivals Burwood qualified through in the other semi-final defeating the Auburn Eagles to face us at the beautiful Airey Park, the host to the biggest match for the Club in 66 years.
We won the toss and batted first in excellent conditions for cricket. Burwood’s strike bowler Seymour was on song early and had both our openers Smith and Forster back in the sheds with the score at 2 for 31. Jack Gayleard then joined Damian Naughton at the crease and both guys played little blinders. They put on a season record 3rd wicket partnership of 117 and both posted their highest scores of the season.
Damian holed out to mid-off for 66 with the score on 148 and Gayleard for 71 with the score at 4/204. We had laid the perfect foundation for a huge score and we needed to capitalise. Enter Richie Gallichan. Richie scored one of the finest centuries for the Club in arguably the Club’s biggest ever match. He batted across 2 days and finished with a score of 119 including 18 boundaries. He was well supported by Gerald Cornelius who also produced his best for the GF posting 46, Holty chipped in with 18 and then a second day 10th wicket partnership between Richie and Mallyon of 44 runs capped off our best batting performance in over a decade.
We batted for 117.5 overs scoring (appropriately) 369 runs. Ironically for so many years batting has been our Achilles heel and yet we produced the most marvellous team and individual batting performance I have ever been associated with.
We had all but batted Burwood out of the game, but we wanted to finish the job off, we wanted to take 10 wickets and experience that Premiership winning feeling that had eluded us up until now. We were on top straight away with a sharp run-out by Mick Forster. Pete Mallyon then knocked over the other opening batsman and we were on top at 2 for 19. The next 3 wickets were the big ones. Burwood’s 3 best bats, Squire, Seymour and Holley. If we could get through them, then we knew we were all but home. Squire tickled one behind off the skipper and was well caught by keeper Harpham, Holley skied one to the on-side where Glen Smith moved quicker than he ever has before and took a fantastic catch on the run and Richie Gallichan picked up Seymour with a stunning caught and bowled.
We were now into the tail and victory was in sight. The score was 9 for 180, Peter Mallyon was bowling to Jalalaty, Jalalaty mistimed a lofted drive in the direction of Glen Smith in the covers. Glen wrapped his huge fingers around the Kookaburra and we had done it, we had won the First Grade Sydney Shires Premiership, Lane Cove were the champions.
The on-field embrace and recognition of all your teammates and closest supporters was something we’ll never forget. Walking off the field as Premiers for the first time, we just couldn’t wait to get into the dressing room and soak it all up.
We sang the Club song like we were singing it for the last time. We had the official on-field presentation to get through but then it was straight back to the dressing room where we would spend the next 3 hours, singing, drinking, hugging (the trophy and each other) and pouring beer on each other ... the 3 hours went by so quickly. It was the most enjoyable experience I have ever been associated with in sport.
We would then go onto celebrate that night with the rest of the Club at the Diddy, the following day at our un-official local, the Oaks and the following weekend in Melbourne.
The win was special to so many people, as a team we had created a memory and something we will talk about together forever! For others associated with the Club for longer than us, it was just as important. It wasn’t until the following week when I returned to work to find a host of emails from past players with a note of congratulations that I really understood that.
On a personal note I did want to thank Brendan Hood, Geof Sundstrom and the committee for their support this year. Ditto Bryan Dempsey – mate, congratulations, the Club’s first ever 4thGrade Premiership, you did a great job, well done. Thanks again to Trent for all his efforts in preparing the home of cricket this year. Thanks to John Lloyd – Porky, we did it mate!
And lastly thanks to all my teammates and mates. I’m extremely proud of what we did this year and I was so proud to be the leader of this team – thanks for the memories and thanks for everything! "
Brett Richardson 1st Grade Captain