Sydney Uni #1 resembled a swamp for the First Grade Semi Final as Parramatta turned in a brilliant but unrewarded effort to unseat Sydney Uni from the First Grade Final next weekend.
Uni #1 infield and outfield was so boggy, no play was possible until 5PM on Saturday putting Minor Premiers Uni in the box seat, as a draw would see them through to the Final.
To get play under way, vast areas of the soggy outfield were roped off, some boundaries only 35 metres from the bat.
Meanwhile, the wicket was dry as a bone having been well covered and was a batting paradise.
When play finally got under way on Saturday, Uni took full advantage of the flat wicket, damp ball and short boundaries to close the day at 0/61.
However Parra turned the tables in the first hour of Day two, with star pacemen Ben Martin and Scott Copperfield racing through the Uni top order to take 4 early wickets and reducing Uni to a precarious 4/73. The bowlers worked hard and successfully to choke off the Uni scoring as Uni tried desperately to soak up time for a draw. However wickets continued to fall and Uni dropped to 9/234 when a spectacular catch was taken by Brenton Cherry at short fly slip only to skid in the mud on the rope just 35 meters from the bat – therefore creating a six.
Uni made the most of their luck to slog valuable last wicket runs, ultimately all out for 295, leaving Parra just 25 overs left in the shortened match.
Scott Copperfield took the figures with 5/66 in a brilliant display in which he captured the wickets of Ed Cowan for a duck and Ryan Carters.
Parramatta’s batsmen got off to an amazing flyer with Ben Abbott’s 20 from 7 balls setting the tone with 3 monstrous sixes, one massive pull shot threatening spectators at the top of the hill. Nick Bertus followed up with 38 from just 21 deliveries including 4 more huge sixes. Cherry (33 off 23) and Affleck (33 off 25) combined superbly as Parra raced to 3/150 and the impossible suddenly looked almost miraculously do-able. Uni took fright, fielding 9 around the boundary.
However with the loss of Cherry and Affleck within a couple of runs of each other, the innings unravelled and the remaining batsmen threw wickets away in search of 15 – 20 an over, Parra being quickly dismissed T20 style for 181 in 21 overs.
Match scores may be found at http://www.parracricket.com.au/common/pages/public/rv/match.aspx?locx=MATCH&matchID=2362400
Photo gallery including Nick Bertus’s record breaking run may be viewed at http://www.parracricket.com.au/gallery.aspx?id=7145
The result ended the Parra boys season, a very good one, where the side reached the semi-finals of both the Belvidere Cup and The Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup, the first time this has been achieved by Parramatta.
Bertus, with a total of 942 runs, broke three major batting records during the season, Bruce Neill’s total first grade runs in all forms of cricket, Terry Walters record for most runs in all grades, and, in the semi-final, John Benaud’s Belvidere Cup record (835).
Bertus equalled JB’s record with one of his massive sixes, and then broke it as he charged for victory, finishing the season with 838 runs.
Ben Martin (42 Belvidere Cup wickets) and Scott Copperfield (41) were the best results for a Parramatta opening combination in memory, Martin finishing with the most wickets by any paceman in Sydney and Copperfield equal second.
Bertus also ended the season with 34 catches and one stumping, the most catches by a wicket keeper in the Belvidere Cup.
Although the Parra boys will not play in the Final, all Parra supporters were delighted with the way the boys played throughout the season and into the semi-final. All were confident that in reasonable playing conditions and full match, Parramatta has the firepower to match it with the best in Sydney.
All players and supporters look eagerly forward to next season. Bring it on!
In even better news, the Parramatta Women’s Under 17 Brewer Shield took out the tournament at Old Kings Oval last Sunday with a crushing win over Campbelltown, Parra’s second title after securing the Margaret Peden Shield earlier in the year. Parra’s U14 and U12 sides also finished in the top 4 of their divisions.
Women’s Club Secretary Craig Noble said that “our Brewer Shield team beat Campbelltown Camden on Sunday to win the Brewer Shield.
Games against Campbelltown are always close & while the score may not reflect the closeness, we were never comfortable until the last wicket fell”.
Match scores can be found at http://parramattawomenscricket.nsw.cricket.com.au/common/pages/public/rv/match.aspx?locx=MATCH&matchID=2555851
Parra Second Grade will play their re-scheduled Final at Old Kings this coming weekend, on Sunday starting at 9:30am against St George -Sutherland in a replay of last year’s final.
Minor Premiers Parramatta will be keen and confident to turn the tables on last year’s result.