After a brilliant season for 1st Grade in all formats, the Randy Petes are looking to cap it off in the 50-over competition this weekend as we take on Sydney Uni in the Grand Final.
There is a rich history – perhaps even a rivalry – between the two clubs over many years, and in recent times the Students have risen to new heights, including claiming the Club Championship last season.
But on Sunday, we are hoping to take one back and we’re going to do it on their home turf and bring home the club’s first trophy since the 2016/17 season when Fifth Grade won the league, and our second Limited-Overs Cup title after winning in 2011/12.
Since it’s the big dance and everyone is excited, why not give a special preview for Sunday’s blockbuster at University Oval.
THE ROAD TO THE FINAL
Both sides advanced to the semi-finals following washouts in the quarter-finals against Gordon and Parramatta respectively. In the semis, the Randy Petes took on Sydney at Drummoyne Oval and the Students took on Penrith.
Randwick batted first against the Tigers and put on a big total of 7/280, largely thanks to a century from opener Shaun Eaton (113 off 101). A cameo late in the piece from Adam ‘Hank’ Semple (47* off 39) got us to our very defendable total.
A disciplined bowling effort got us over the line at Drummoyne, as we bowled the hosts out for 211 in 44.1 overs. Semple (3/37 off 10) backed up his terrific dig with the stick and took some key middle-order poles, while Riley Ayre (3/33 off 6.1) spun his web and had the Tigers batsmen in all sorts.
For the Students, they didn’t even win their semi-final – instead, they limped their way to a TIE against the Panthers and qualified for the grand final on a technicality. At 9/153 chasing Penrith’s score of 199, they looked in all sorts but somehow managed to find a way to level the scores thanks to a gutsy innings from Ryan McElduff (67*).
The two sides didn’t meet in limited overs this season, instead battling out a draw in the two-day format back in Round 2. In that encounter, it was Adam Semple (3/65 off 15) and Shaun Eaton (59) who starred for the Randy Petes.
There have been quite a few meetings in grand finals between the Students and Petes over the years – two of which we have managed to get the chocolates in. As for overall fixtures between us, the Randy Petes have emerged victorious in 11 out of the 24 clashes.
Our last win in First Grade against Sydney Uni came in the 2015/16 T20 Grand Final – though the three meetings since have seen us draw two.
PLAYERS TO WATCH – RANDY PETES
Riley Ayre will be keen for more wickets this weekend after ripping through the Tigers last weekend at Drummoyne. Ayre has taken 18 wickets this season in all three formats, and has proven that he is a genuine all-rounder with 335 runs at 33.5 this campaign. A well-liked figure among the club, Riley is going to be a key part of a potential Randy Petes victory.
Shaun Eaton scored his second century for the club last weekend in the win over Sydney, and it was a seriously important dig. It had been a lean season for Shaun prior to last weekend by his own standards, but he stood up when the lads needed him and if he can get a big score again this Sunday, it could go along way to clinching our second limited-overs title.
A new arrival to the club this season, crafty off-spinner Ryan Ninan has proved a white-ball specialist and is the ‘ace in the hole’ for the Randy Petes on Sunday. In just eight matches for the Randy Petes, Ninan has taken 11 wickets – but it is his economical bowling that has frustrated opposition batsman. If he can tie down his end for 10 overs against the Students, there is no doubting he will take some poles.
Saving the best for last – Adam Semple genuinely does not look like slowing down and his performance with bat and ball last weekend again proved why he is considered arguably the club’s greatest ever player. Sempy has taken 20 wickets at 19.50 this season in all formats, and has also contributed when required with the stick and is currently averaging 47.50. The veteran bleeds green and gold, and if he can lead the side to victory this weekend it will be another crowning achievement in his illustrious 1st Grade career.
PLAYERS TO WATCH – SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
Fresh off his match-saving innings to get the Students into the final, Ryan McElduff will be brimming with confidence and looking to score big runs again. But his shoulders would have to be mighty sore after last Sunday’s effort, and for his sake he won’t want to have to carry the team again against the Petes.
Hayden Kerr played quite a few games in the BBL this season with the Sydney Sixers, and will be hoping to use that experience in this Sunday’s final. He scored a quickfire 41 last weekend against the Panthers, but as their key player he will need to offer a bit more against us.
The verdict is simple – the Randy Petes are going to put the Students in the chair on their own turf. Get there and support the lads, sing the song loud and proud and enjoy the celebrations afterwards.
Backing green, C’MON.