First Grade Pull Off Miracle to Make Finals Series.
Date of Event
St George Cricket Club:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:33PM
The Spirits of the Centenary of St George First Grade Cricket were well and truly smiling down on the current first grade team as they literally pulled off a miracle to qualify for the NSW Premier Cricket Finals.
Celebrating the Centenary of first grade seasons the Saints came into the final round of the season in 9th position needing a bonus point win in the one dayer as well as several other results to go their way in order to be some kind of chance and even then it would probably come down to the final quotient.
The situation looked even more bleak when Parramatta, batting first, set the St George side a competitive score of 240 for the victory from their 50 overs. Opening bowler Peter Francis was the pick of the bowlers with 4-44 from his 10 overs whilst off spinner Joey Graham was economical giving away only 35 runs from his 10 overs.
St George had no option but to reach the score of 240 score by the end of the 30th over to obtain the bonus point win to remain in the equation for finals contention.
From the outset the boys came out with a do or die attitude but there was also a feeling that they were actually going to pull this off. It was obvious that runs weren't going to be the only issue. It was the loss of wickets whilst having to bat with absolute aggression.
Things were looking down when opener Luke Bartier retired hurt after a nasty blow to the neck. Soon after Blake MacDonald was out for 6 followed by skipper Stapleton who departed for 17 (12) with the score at 2-38.
This would see the two young pups, Kaleb Phillips and keeper Tom Vane Tempest, both in their first full seasons of first grade cricket, at the crease. The two put together an exhilarating 108 run partnership in lightning time with at one stage the run rate hitting the 10 runs an over mark in the 14th over. Both batsman brought up their 50's in the same over before the game was opened up again with the dismissal of Vane Tempest for 50 off just 35 balls.
Kaleb Phiilips helped set up the bonus point victory with a dominant innings for 77 from just 59 balls. Pic. by Hamish Solomons
Phillips held firm whilst there was a spate of wickets around him which had some feeling like the Saints were going to be all out before all else. Bartier was able to resume batting but was out for 24 off 20 and when the last recognised top order batsman, Matt Hopkins was run out for 6 followed by the wickets of Phillips 77 (59) and Moors for 0 the Saints were 8-208 and the season looked to be all but over.
No one told Peter Francis and Joey Graham that. The two of them combined to knock over the remaining 42 runs with just two balls remaining before the 30th over and bonus point were ready to disappear. Francis sealed the deal with one of his 3 monster sixers to finish with 29 not out from just 18 balls whilst Graham finished with 13 off 11 balls including one big monster of his own.
For those at Hurstville Oval it was a thoroughly entertaining afternoon that included no less than 11 sixes and 17 fours and more importantly some very dynamic running between the wickets. All that within 30 overs.
From there. the other results came in from around Sydney and amazingly they all helped St George slide up the charts from 9th into the all important 6th position. Miracle achieved.
Yet again one of the great wins in the club's remarkable history.
St George would have expected to be taking on Sydney Uni who only needed to win their game to take the minor premiership but instead lost meaning they were leap-frogged by a victorious Sydney (Tigers). St George have played both clubs twice this season beating Sydney Uni twice and losing to Sydney twice. If this season has taught us anything though, it's that anything is possible.