Manly Warringah are the 2011/12 SCA Club Champions
SCA Chairman John Warn (middle) with team captains, from left to right, James Boyer (Green Shield), Aidan Baker (2nd Grade, filling in for Ryan Bonner), Tim Cruickshank (1st Grade), Max Burgess (4th Grade), Craig Little (3rd Grade), Adam Gummer (PG's) and Dave Farrell (5th Grade).
Saturday was one of those days that adds 10 years to your age while also being one of those days that will stay with you forever. The results of the day meant that at no stage were we assured of the prestigious title, with Sydney Uni winning all 5 grades against UNSW, and many being bonus point wins. However we were unsure just which grades received bonus points, and therefore not sure what we needed to win to stay at the top of the table.
With a 40 point lead coming into the day, our first grade and 5th grade sides both had convincing wins and never looks like losing. 2 of the 5 box's ticked. 2nd grade really struggled against an unheralded Mosman bowling attack and only reached 118. However, a magnificent bowling display rolled the home side for 66, including miraculously, a bonus point. Another box ticked.
Word then came through that 3rd Grade had lost to the strong Mosman side, meaning that we needed to win 4th grade to ensure the CC victory. But, despite Mosman's lowly position on the 4th grade table, they weren;t going to let us get away with an easy victory. 3rd grade and 5th grade were at Manly Oval watching 1st grade, and the calculations were being done left, right and centre to determine what a 4th grade loss would do to us. Some of us decided we would loose the Club Champs if 4th grade didn't win, some of us thought we would still win, but the end assumption was that, based on the results coming in from Sydney Uni, we needed the 4th grade result to go our way or we were probably going to be being overtaken by Sydney Uni.
The 4th graders looked to be on-top, having the opposition 9 for 160 chasing 198, but the tension at Manly Oval started to increase as word was coming through of a mature last wicket stand from Mosman. Finally we were left with a scenario..... 15 runs off 9 balls for a Mosman victory. At that stage a massive bomb was hit , leaving the equation at almost a run a ball.
Sam Gainsford was given the last over, and bowled what may be one of the most important overs of his grade career. He was able to whittle it down to 3 off the last ball for a Mosman victory
Warren Evans has been in great form over the last few weeks in 4th grade, but a groin injury to the great man meant that we needed a sub fielder, and the best option was.... David Gainsford. Now Gainsy was given the job of monitoring short cover on the last ball, a feet accomplished despite the fact that he can't run. The last ball, being bowled by his 15 year old son, was smashed to him right at cover. Gainsy, diving full length to his left, stopped the ball, attempted to through down the stumps when the batsman ran through for a single, and missed. However, when attempting to come back for a second run for a tie, a Max Burgess throw back to the keeper saw a runout occur, and Manly win the game, and the Club Championship, but one run.
The game was being commentated by Ted Lindsay and Greg Boyer to everyone at Manly Oval, and with the last ball news came a massive roar from the crowd. 1st grade were about to win a very boring game quite easily, so when a full toss from 1st grade medium pacer Aidan Baker was met with huge applause and hugging on the sideline, the first grade boys new something else positive was happening.
Meanwhile, back at the 4th grade clash at Alan Border Oval, the 2nd grade boys new the equation for the Club Championship and were going banana's. On question's from the 4th graders about why they were going so crazy, they were told that we had won the Club Championship, basically by one run.
And so the evening started. The atmosphere at Manly Oval when each grade had made it's way back was an amazing feeling and will be remembered by all that were there. The presentation of the Club Championship Trophy by SCA Chairman, and Manly boy to boot, John Warn, brought momentous cheering and the loudest singing of the team song heard for many a moon. Everyone basically got a photo with the CC Trophy, a photo that will hopefully be treasured for a long time.
Then there was the Manly Oval nude lap. All players did it, even the youngsters who were scared out of their wits but made sure that the Manly tradition was adhered to. Hopefully not too many photo's surface of that part of the evening, but it was a momentous occasion none the less.
We have only won the Club Championship 5 times previously in our history, and to win it for a 6th time after the amount of players lost over the last 2 years is just and amazing achievement. Well done to everyone at the club, but we all know that there is more work to do in order to bring home some flags in 2011/12.
PS We actually won the Club Championship by 20 points, so the 18 points we got from the 4th grade win wasn't even needed in the end. Oh well!!
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