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The Rock-itt : May 2011
Last month we reported that both 3rd and 5th Grade teams had made it through the season to the Finals Series and little did we dare hope that these two young sides could overcome the odds and bring home their respective trophies, but they did and a wonderful final Sunday of cricket was witnessed by those of us who were privileged enough to see it. While most of Sydney was watching the horses at the Golden Slipper, our valiant teams, one at Manly Oval and the other at Sydney University's glamorous No 1 Oval battled out the final weekend. For each team the journey to the Grand Final was not exactly straightforward; two weekends of rain and interruptions with home advantage enabling a direct route through to the next stage; however there was always going to be a sting in the tail, when preparation of wickets, and proper covering of the playing surface would always raise some concerns. Sutherland missed out at Manly Oval in a low scoring 3rd Grade Quarter final when the home side could only manage 149 on a damp wicket and that was thanks to a resolute display by Scott Patterson with 66. The lads from the Shire fought all the way but the final stout hearted effort from Craig Little's team, who bowled and fielded brilliantly finally held the day and our boys went through to the Semi Final. At Graham's Reserve it was an on and off affair with the covers and groundsmen working overtime to satisfy the Umpires. Finally play got under way and some gutsy batting throughout, with the highlight being Matt Butcher's glorious but ultimately fallible 96 (caught on the boundary going for the ton!) taking the score to 7-278 at the end of Day 1. Batting on Manly posted over 300 for the first time in a Final and in the season and Gordon never looked capable of passing us, so 5th Grade also progressed to the Semi Finals. Semi Final weekend was possibly wetter than the previous weekend and with home advantage both Manly sides moved onto the Grand Final. 5th Grade were required to play at a neutral Oval, Sydney Uni No 1 against Eastern Suburbs the minor Premiers and 3rd Grade hosted St George at the home ground. Third Grade Grand Final After an unfortunate delay when rain had crept under the covers, Manly, who had been inserted, started carefully on the damp pitch against the St George attack which included former NSW Blues left arm opening bowler Phil Alley. At 4-74 at the close of play, St. George must have felt that they were still in the match and if they could grab a few quick wickets on the Sunday the scales might tip their way. However another fighting knock of 50 by Scott Patterson, ably assisted by Andrew Lindsay, who batted with uncustomary patience to top score with 56 to his name, ensured that the quick breakthrough was not made. Once Scott Patterson was dismissed by Alley (4-52) Javed Badyari was subjected to a thorough going over by the paceman. But Javed showed the resilience that everyone knew he had and batted for 4 hours for 30 to ensure that the visitors were not able to bat and the match was declared a draw with inadequate time to chase down Manly's total of 236. Celebrations duly followed but were cautious as news of our other match across town was being broadcast. Manly bowled first at Sydney University's Number 1 Oval (above) and soon had East's in trouble on day one finally getting them all out for 111 thanks to an all round performance with the ball. In reply Manly batted through the day and to lunch on the Sunday with James Boyer (60) and James Ritchie (52) building on opener Jarrod Rawlings' solid start of 48. With a score of 274 on the board, Manly had already "won" the match Report by Simon Lyon, Photos by Ian Bird Third Grade Premiers Fifth Grade Andrew Lindsay Javed Badyari -- Man of the Match