After a Premiership drought of 9 years, 6th Grade came through on Sunday 19th January 2020 to deliver a heart stopping 2 run win vs Kardinya at Alan Edwards Park to give the Tigers a fantastic start to the new decade and the first of many more premierships to come.
The Tigers won the toss and batted on a cloudless, warm sunny day. We had a slow but steady start with Joseph Wijayamuni 9 falling with the score on 19. Dempsey Badorek and Waqas Mehdi then put on 36 to take the score to 55 before Dempsey fell for 11. Enter the captain Vijay Kumar who was looking good and teamed up well with Waqas adding another 20 runs until the tables were turned with Waqas hitting a six and then next ball, trying to repeat the dose, holing out to the man on the boundary for a well made 33 off 62 balls with 4 fours and 1 six. Next ball Vijay tried to steer it round the corner but got a leading edge to see him caught at square leg for 12. We were now 4/75 and in need of a partnership, which we got from Umar Qureshi 8 and Haroon Ahmed 36 who added 43 runs. Haroon in particular was hitting the ball with power hitting 2 fours and 2 sixes in his 35, before disaster struck losing the next 5 wickets for just 5 runs, Guri Singh and Nadeem Muhammad both falling to golden ducks. We were now 9/123 and in need of just another 20 runs to have something to bowl at. Steve Hall and Paul McLean hung in there with still 6 overs to go and gave us another 18 runs to leave us on 141 after 38.5 overs. Would it be enough? Time would tell!
Our opening bowlers Guri Singh and Steve Hall started brilliantly only conceding 1 run from the first 5 overs, with Steve bowling their opener for 1. Kardinya then started to get on top of the bowling so a change to spin paid immediate dividends with a wicket each from Waqas and Vijay leaving them at 3/34 and the Tigers well on top. A big partnership followed, with the help of a few dropped chances, Kardinya was now in the box seat at 3/93 but Vijay then removed one of the batsmen to make it 4/93 but the hard hitting Shammas was still in. Guri was bought back into the attack to remove Shammas which he did with the help of a great catch by Dempsey for a very well made 54 with the score at 5/116. Kardinya needed 35 runs from 8 overs. Another partnership developed with them now needing 18 off 4 overs, then 14 off 3 overs with still 5 wickets left. It looked all over for us, but enter Paul McLean from the other end this time. His first ball goes for 4, only 10 needed now, it;s 5/132. His third ball gets the break through and a ray of light appears, 10 needed from 15 balls with 4 wickets in hand, 6/132. His 5th ball gets the edge and is easily taken by wicket keeper Satvinder. It’s now 7/132 with 10 runs to go and they scramble a single from Paul’s last delivery. 9 needed from 12 balls. Guri bowls a great over but they somehow get 6 runs, so they are now 7/138 with 1 over left from Paul McLean, they only need 3 runs to tie, which would win them the game. First ball of the last over, He hits it straight to Waqas who gleefully takes the catch, 8/138, 3 runs from 5 balls. Dot ball is followed by a scrambled single. 8/139, 2 runs needed from 3 balls. The next ball is hit to the left of Vijay, who gathers cleanly with one hand, runs to break the wicket and runs out their number 9 batsman, what an over! They are now 9/139 with 2 balls left, the next ball is swung at but missed, a dot ball. The last ball equation, they need 2 runs to tie we need a dot ball or 1 run only, or a wicket. Everyone is on edge the atmosphere is amazing, Paul comes in to bowl, the batsman swings, misses and all 3 stumps are smashed to the ground. Players and fans rush to Paul to celebrate mid pitch after an amazing game of cricket.
Congratulations to our 6th Grade Premiers, the flag is raised by Captain Vijay Kumar as all the players rush in to kiss and touch the flag. Paul McLean is named as Man of the Match in a game he will never forget, along with everyone who was lucky enough to have witnessed it.
9 years is a long time to wait for a flag, let’s make sure we don’t have to wait another 9.