As wonderful, exciting, uplifting and progressive as the season was for Randwick Petersham and their Metropolitan Cup squad, it wasn’t quite enough to finish with the glory of the premiership.
As wonderful, exciting, uplifting and progressive as the season was for Randwick Petersham and their Metropolitan Cup squad, it wasn’t quite enough to finish with the glory of the premiership. A gallant Randwick Petersham Gold side went down to an enviably strong Penrith outfit, but not without giving them an almighty scare first. It was a fitting Grand Final that will see all the boys come out of it as much better players.
The Golds descended upon the idyllic surrounds of Rance Oval in Werrington – across the road from Paul’s Liquor Store and the office of Prue Car MP for Londonderry – where club coach Greg Small gave the boys a solid work out ahead of the two days of tough play. Penrith skipper Brock Balgowan, fresh off 196 runs against UNSW Black, won the toss and predictably made first use of a flat wicket. Sam Boyns and Adam Lee started proceedings with good discipline, as Penrith had to work for their runs…
Adam only took 6 overs to get into stride this week, inducing the ever-Metro and previous week’s centurion Kevin Pathirane into driving and snicking behind. Now… cricket is a fickle mistress at times, glorious one week and rage-inducing the next… as the Penrith skipper found out two balls into his innings, as an ambitious drive too found it’s way for the second caught behind of the over, and 196 runs less than last week. And the Golds were staring at an appetising scorecard of 2-31. But then the nuggety wicket keeper Shone and a rather muscular left hander joined forces to pile on the runs. Muscles took 15 balls to get off the mark but made up for quickly with lusty blows around the ground. After taking a liking to Liam O’Loughlin’s spin, Muscles failed to keep out a straight one to be dismissed for 62.
Wicket keeper Shone fell soon after for 48, as a mistimed pull-shot was plucked out of the air with an Adam special three-quarters of the way to the boundary. Both wickets can be credited to the pressure created by Mac Jenkins, who’s excellent control deserved better than no wickets off 15 overs for just 27 runs. At 4-136, the Golds faced a tough period as Josh ‘Beans’ Heins and Jake Edgecumbe looked to take the game away. Edgecumbe in looked particularly ominous form as he started to find the middle of the bat regularly. At 4-206 and staring into a long afternoon, Hayden Fox took the edge of Heins and Adam snaffled another good catch. This set in motion a stunning comeback, as a rejuvenated Boyns ripped out three lower order wickets and Foxy took out Edgecumbe. Mitchell O’Loughlin finished the innings with a successful LBW shout, as Gold managed to take the last 6 wickets for just 18 runs and complete a stellar turn around. Damo Sidney also pocketed 4 catches for the innings.
With a very achievable final total 224 to chase, there were 27 overs left to survive on that Easter Saturday. But credit has to go where credit is due, as Penrith somehow have managed to create an impressive conveyor belt of talented bowlers in recent years, and left arm seamer Ryan Fletcher managed to crank up some serious heat in the Werrington afternoon sunshine. After two edged boundaries, Neale Crawford was taken behind, and Kel Mullins was out LBW second ball to leave the Golds 2-15. Mac Jenkins received a ripper bouncer as Fletch had enviable figures of 3 for not many. Damo mounted a comeback with an assured 21, until Ned Pearson-Bourke managed to get through his defences with a rapid full ball. There was enough time for Pearson-Bourke to knock over skipper John Stewart and Sam Boyns, to leave the Gold 6-60 at the close of play on a chastising afternoon. Jackson Eldridge stood tall among the carnage on 28 not out at stumps.
Staying in Penrith for the night, the boys enjoyed some team bonding with a dip in the pool and a quiet dinner before totally retreating to their beds at 9:30pm. With a much shorter trip back to the ground Easter Sunday, the boys turned up focused to try and tackle the remaining 165 runs with 4 wickets remaining. Jacko and Adam Lee started the day solidly, as Adam looked ominous with a few powerful shots. It was not to be though, as Adam edged behind. Jacko and Foxy then took the score past 100, until Foxy holed out to mid-wicket. In the mean time, Jacko reached his first 50 for the club with a patient and well-constructed innings. Pearson-Bourke had the last say though, coming back to clean up Liam and Jacko, but not before the latter had piled on 65 runs to give the Golds a chance. 119 was the final score.
Penrith had no intention of pushing the follow on, but after some deliberation, the Golds decided to have one final push at the strongest batting line up in the competition in hope of an Easter miracle. Sam threw everything he had at the batters but was unable to induce a breakthrough. There was enough time for Mac to get a well-deserved wicket, that of Shone for his 3rd 40 against the Golds this season. But soon after Pathirane helped himself to a 50, and with the score at 1-103, the game was finally called off with only one result certain. Penrith were certainly fitting and deserved victors in this final, but that doesn’t take away from the fantastic season had by all that represented the Gold team. From their stunning mid-season resurrection, to the emergence of several promising young players, everyone can look back on a successful season with a lot of pride and satisfaction. A big thanks to all the parents who came out to support the boys – the O’Loughlins, the Mullins, the Sidneys, Gavin Fox and Peter Jenkins – as well as coaches Greg Small and Simon Gould for coming out and giving the team invaluable presence on the big occasion.