TDCA decider is one for the ages

One to remember: Glengarry celebrates after their incredible premiership in the Traralgon District Cricket Association. Photographs Liam Durkin




THE Traralgon District Cricket Association season wrapped up at the weekend with one of, if not the best Grand Final the TDCA has ever seen.

The game had more momentum swings than any other in recent memory, and a final five overs that needed to be seen to be believed.

Catterick Crescent was the setting for the A Grade Grand Final, with a fast outfield and a flat wicket that both teams would benefit from.

When the toss went up, the captain of Ex Students James Pryde called correctly and elected to bat.

Matt Dyke and Mitch Harris got things underway for the Sharks, as Ex Students started well, taking full advantage of some early nerves from Glengarry.

Harris was dismissed for nine with the score on 26, but that then brought Lee Stockdale to the crease, who together with Dyke, set about building a strong foundation for Ex Students to reach a score over 200.

The drinks break came at the right time for Glengarry, as the Magpies used it to not only get some refreshment on what was a hot day, but also re-align themselves, go back through their plans and take a breath.

From that drinks break the game shifted back in Glengarry’s favour as they were able to break the 42-run second wicket partnership after Nat Freitag snicked off Stockdale for 22.

Spinners Al Jenkin and Nathan Allen were then introduced with immediate impact, as it became evident quickly that spin would play a massive part in the game.

Allen was superb from ball one, and after the semi-controversial stumping of Dyke for 32, Allen then went on to bowl an amazing unchanged spell of leg-spin bowling to finish with match figures of 2/13 from 10 overs.

The Ex Students middle order didn’t bat very well, and when Mitch Membrey was caught wondering around out of his crease the Sharks were in big trouble at 6/104.

Jackson McMahon was still at the crease however, and even though he wasn’t scoring as freely as he would have liked, he was still able to keep the score ticking over enough. When he was joined by Matt Robertson, the pair put on 46 for the seventh wicket before McMahon skied a ball two runs short of what would have been a back-to-the-wall 50.

Mick Stockdale then batted out the remainder of the innings, making a very important 14 not out as Ex Students finished 9/172 from their full allotment of 50 overs.

Glengarry were superb with the ball after their first 17 overs. They took wickets regularly and executed their plans to full effect, as well as setting excellent fields which stopped the Sharks from getting a score over 200.

Ex Students would have been thinking they were 20 runs short, so knowing early scoreboard pressure would help to win the game, James Pryde opened the bowling and it proved to be a master stroke as he dismissed in form opening batsman Frank Marks for a duck with the score on just seven.

Marks’ wicket brought Freitag to the crease, who took his time to get used the deck and played more cautiously than what he would usually bat like.

This was due to the captain knowing he had a big part to play in winning the match, but he also had opening batsman Jenkin at the other end, who looked as if he was playing in a completely different match to everyone else in the game.

Jenkin’s timing was unbelievable, as he quickly raced to 58 in a partnership of 76 with Freitag before being adjudged lbw to the bowling of Membrey.

This wicket then changed the game as Ex Students willed themselves back into the contest with every player making their presence felt in the field, aggressively throwing the ball back in at every opportunity, distracting the batsmen with sledging while also taking their time to set fields and move fielders to get in the batsmen’s heads.

The ploy certainly worked and Glengarry went from being in a strong position to then not being able to score at all as the run rate crept up and wickets started to tumble.

When Pryde and Stockdale had finished their spells, Daniel Churchill was then given the ball and bowled brilliantly, only giving away singles if anything at all as the run rate continued to climb higher and higher as the tension grew around the ground.

Freitag was still at the crease and still in control though, but no sooner had he raised his bat for a well-made 50, he was bowled by Harris and the game then turned on its head.

Freitag was out, there was four overs left and Glengarry still needed 27 runs to win.

Churchill then went bang-bang in the 48th over, and Glengarry were reeling at 8/152 with the pressure mounting on both teams.

With only two overs left in the game, the Magpies still required 21 to win from two overs.

The ball was given to Andy Matthews to try and do what he could, and after bowling a dot ball on his first delivery, the game was tipping further and further in the favour of the Sharks.

Brandon Mayberry then smashed a boundary to give Glengarry hope, and then hit a two and one in the next two balls as Matthews, who was suffering from cramp throughout the match, fell to the ground unable to complete the over, leaving the ground in pain with two balls remaining in his over.

Pryde looked around the field and called upon Mick Stockdale to complete the over, and with his first ball got a thick edge off the bat of Max Merton, but it narrowly avoided the keeper and trickled down the ground for three as Glengarry had taken 10 off the over so far.

Mayberry was then on strike and lofted one just past the cover fieldsmen for two in what was a heart stopping play but still, Glengarry had gotten the big over they needed and were now back in the game.

The scene was set for something special as Churchill was given the responsibility to win the game for the Sharks as Glengarry needed nine to win from the final over.

A single from the first ball to Merton meant the batting team now needed eight from five deliveries. Mayberry then got another single himself to take the score required to seven.

The match looked as if it was going to come down to a final ball thriller, but Merton had other ideas, smashing the third ball of the over to deep long on straight to a fielder on the boundary.

As the large crowd watched on, everyone was holding their breath as the ball sailed over the boundary, by the narrowest of margins, just going over the outstretched fingertips of the deep fielder as Merton wrote himself into Glengarry folklore to make the scores equal with three balls to go.

Ex Students then brought the field up but a wide was bowled and the game was over. Glengarry winning an incredibly good game of cricket by two wickets with only three balls to spare.

It was a Grand Final that nobody will ever forget as it was certainly the best spectacle the TDCA has seen in a Grand Final for the last 20 years.

Jenkin was named the Laurie Blake Man of the Match for his 58 and 1/30, but the day certainly belonged to Merton as he wrote himself into Glengarry and TDCA folklore, forever to be remembered and talked about for providing one of the greatest moments in the history of the TDCA.

For those of you wanting to relive the game, go to the TDCA Facebook page and follow the links posted, or type this link into YouTube

Share to watch all the drama unfold.

Embrace: Brothers Sam and Ben Marks after the Grand Final. The third Marks, Frank, played his 250th game for Glengarry in the Grand Final.
Unbelievable: Glengarry players are jubilant after pulling off a near-impossible Grand Final win.
Steady: Al Jenkin scored a vital half-century in a Man of the Match performance.