A fter a brilliant regular season where the Greenies boys went 6 victories from 7 to finish in 3rd spot on the ladder, the Tahs were on deck for their quarter final vs Penrith, who finished 6th.
With Manly Oval out of action due to a first grade game (well done on the win lads), Weldon Oval became the venue for the Tahs to host their quarter final.
As a result of the predicted heat, the game was brought forward to 9am start, meaning the lads were on deck at 7.45, a deadline which was met by most, except for Tommy Karnaghan who claimed to have had troubles checking out of his hotel, and bowling coach Josh Seward who just hadn’t checked his emails.
Billy O’Brien had a great start to his morning, going back-to-back-to-back in the A-Z championship, winning the category of “animals,” after Liam Toole confidently but incorrectly claimed “echidnas” began with an “A.” Well done Liam.
With the Vortex championship levelled at 3 wins apiece, both the Julios (please notice the correct spelling this time) and Nerds were intent on victory to go one-up with hopefully two rounds to play. Unfortunately, due to the loss, it meant the winner of Vortex would take home the championship 4-3. A fiery contest ensued, as the Julios employed aggressive tactics to secure a 2-1 victory. This means the Julios retain the trophy for another year, leaving the Nerds with some serious thinking to do ahead of next season.
Skipper Josh Cooper wandered over for the toss and after the Penrith captain incorrectly called “tails,” Coops was quick with his default response of “we’ll bat first thanks,” as the coin fell favourably for the Tahs. Shouts of “7 from 8 boys” were also heard as Coops returned to the team huddle beaming with self satisfaction after his coin toss record continued. Tahs batting first on a good cricket wicket at Weldon.
Motivation for the boys was high, knowing a semi finals spot was on the line, so all the boys were keen to get out there and perform well.
Billy O’Brien and Keelan Mendel strode out to open the Tahs innings and built a solid partnership, navigating a difficult spell from Penrith’s bowlers who were getting some assistance from the pitch. The boys got the score safely to 20 before Keelan was bowled by a very good ball, bringing the skipper to the crease. Coming off the back of 89 in 5th Grade the previous day, Coops was quickly into his work, beginning to build a steady partnership with Billy, before the latter was caught at mid wicket for 16 with the score at 34.
Andrew Boulton, also fresh from an innings of 71 on Saturday, combined with Coops for a 47 run partnership as the two looked to build a solid platform through the middle of the innings. Unfortunately, just as they started to look set, Andrew was dubiously caught behind for 18.
Coops and Roop Dhillon then looked to once again steady the Tahs innings, regularly rotating the strike on what was a very big ground and slow outfield. They combined for 30 to take the score to 111, before a tight spell of bowling led to Coops’ dismissal, stumped for 42 right on drinks.
Batting coach Joel Davies encouraged the new batting pair, Charlie Johnston and Roop, to be really positive after drinks to try to push the Tahs to a strong total, and the boys did exactly that.
Charlie and Roop batted brilliantly after the break, regularly turning the strike over and punishing the loose deliveries, before Charlie was caught at cover for a crucial 18 after a 49 run stand with Roop.
Roop was run out shortly after for a well made 43 off 54, before Liam Toole was caught at long off for 7 trying to send one into the next suburb north.
Ethan Buchanan and Bailey Lidgard combined for a crucial 17 run partnership at the end to bring the Tahs score up to 185, which was probably worth 30-40 more due to the big ground dimensions and slow outfield.
With 185 on the board, the coaches spoke to the boys about taking the responsibility upon their shoulders for the bowling innings, knowing that runs on the board in a final is always important. While the goals for the batting innings had been ticked off, the boys knew they had to bowl and field well to restrict a very strong Penrith batting line up.
Unfortunately, Josh Lawson and Marcus Campbell struggled to find their usual lines and lengths early on, compounded by a few tough chances going down in the field. With Penrith 0-65 off only around 13 overs, a breakthrough was needed, and the skipper delivered thanks to a sharp stumping from TK. Coops then struck twice more in quick succession, dismissing the number three with a catch to Roop at mid wicket, before Keelan took a ripping catch to give Coops his third wicket. Penrith 3-80.
Penrith then began building a solid partnership, and with their opener still threatening on 63, it was crucial we dismissed him quickly to get ahead of the game. Right on cue, Roop Dhillon had him in all sorts, and finally got the important wicket thanks to a safe catch at square leg from Bailey.
Bailey, Coops, Roop and Keelan continued to build pressure, and at the final drinks break, Penrith were 4-142 off 42 overs, needing 44 off the last 8.
Andrew bowled a superb over straight after the break, only conceding one run and knocking over the dangerous number six. Penrith 5-146.
Josh Lawson bowled well without luck, however, Penrith began to get away from the Tahs with some smart batting. Andrew completed a very good run out from long on to see Penrith 6-168 with just over 3 overs left.
Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for the Tahs, with Penrith hitting the winning runs in the 49th over to claim victory.
A great effort from the Tahs to take the game deep, and on another day the result could have been a different story, but the boys should be very proud of their efforts.
The boys were obviously distraught about the loss, but the coaches were quick to praise the boys for their efforts throughout the season and for a great achievement in reaching the finals. Certainly a great learning experience for all the boys about pressure games and I’m sure next time around they will be better for the experience.
More importantly, all the boys have become an incredibly close group, and many have made friendships which will last a lifetime.
No day of cricket is complete without fines, and today was no different. After a lengthy hiatus due to having three consecutive away games, the traditional fines meeting returned, with fines master Liam Toole keen to resume his role.
While tucking into a few delightful pizzas (thank you Harj), the boys were quick to throw their fellow teammates under the bus, with Tom Karnaghan, Andrew Boulton and Gus McConnell the most heavily fined. The cheer when each of the boys “tossed the boss” and lost could be heard from adjacent suburbs.
Following fines, the boys took a moment to read letters from their parents, who have provided amazing support all season.
All the boys and parents then gathered for some final words from coaches Gainsy and Rochy. Both thanked the parents for their unbelievable support, while once again congratulating the boys for an amazing season which fell just short of semi finals.
Now to the thanks.
Firstly, to Gainsy and Rochy for devoting your time and effort into helping the boys grow into better cricketers and better people, everyone was so appreciative of the wisdom you passed on to the boys.
To Lozza and Dougie, your passion for the club and the time you invest into helping the boys develop as cricketers is second to none, and all the boys were truly appreciative for the support you provided them throughout the season.
To Josh Seward and Joel Davies, thank you for coming on board this season and sharing your wisdom with the boys. Your past experiences of Green Shield were a great insight for the boys to learn from and apply to their own cricket.
To Harj Dhillon, team manager, your organisation this season was unbelievable. Thank you for all the emails, for organising everything for game day. Your help enabled the coaches to go about their business knowing that everything else had been sorted.
Big thanks to Henry Lucius as well for his help on game days, particularly at home games where he organised all the COVID procedures and QR codes.
Huge thank you to all the parents for their wonderful support of the boys, and for all your help in setting up on game day and providing transport for the boys. Your efforts never go unnoticed and all the boys were incredibly appreciative of your support.
Special mention to Billy O’Brien who is moving up the coast. You were a barrel of laughs all season and have great potential as a cricketer, all the best in your future endeavours.
Thanks again for another ripping season, unfortunately we fell short of the end goal but the boys should be incredibly proud of their efforts and achievements.
Points (Quarter Final)
3 Points – Josh Cooper – 42 (97) and 3/22 (10)
2 Points – Roop Dhillon – 43 (54) and 1/26 (8.1)
1 Point – Bailey Lidgard – 13 (6) and 0/22 (10)
Until next time,