The seventh edition of the Spartan Scorecard Series is now upon us, and we’re heading back to another memorable First Grade Premiership from 2011 that saw us victorious by the very skin of our teeth!

Like we did in our sixth edition of The Spartan Scorecard Series, we are again looking at the 2010/11 season, with yet another match and memorable Spartan victory against the boys from Karoonda, CBC. 

In the sport of cricket, its pretty hard to have a result that is closer than this, and the fact that it came in the Grand Final, in our First Grade and against our arch-rivals made it even more extraordinary. As you’ll read below, we document this amazing match and the incredible finish that followed as we scraped home by just one wicket. 

It also serves as the perfect bit of reading before this Sunday’s Annual General Meeting and will likely generate a fair bit of talk during the afternoon.

Now, to the match in question. It took place at Karoonda Oval on the 26th and 27th of March 2011 in what was a two-day 75-over grand final match that proved to be a low-scoring affair as nineteen wickets fell for just 233 runs in front of a large crowd.

This match represented the second time the two sides had met in a First Grade Grand Final in this 2010/11 season, after having earlier played off in the One-Day Grand Final. That too was a close match and we were ultimately pipped by CBC by just ten runs.

After having lost the one-day First Grade final, the Spartan side were hungrier than ever to make up for it against the same opposition in the main event – the two-day final!

After losing the toss, the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club were out to field on the opening day as Andrew Galbraith and Matthew Coates opened the batting for the home side. Both had experienced solid seasons to date with Galbraith scoring 557 runs in First Grade and Coates 299. Coates had also scored a vital 52 at the top of the order against us earlier in the season in what was the First Grade One-Day Grand Final.

The innings, as you’ll see below, was one that started well for the home side but quickly turned in our favour. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

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The CBC Innings – Click/Tap For Larger Version

The Spartan Innings – Click/Tap For Larger Version

The CBC Innings:

Both CBC openers got off to a fantastic start early, with Galbraith scoring 34 and Coates making 21 at the top of the innings. The partnership lasted for over an hour and went a long way towards the end total, with boundaries commonplace and the ability to defy the Spartan opening bowlers proving critical in the first session of the grand final. 

Both opening bowlers Mark Atkinson and Will Badger bowled tight and consistent lines, to the point where the first ten overs of the game yielded only 24 runs. The most important factor though, was the fact that no wicket had been lost in the opening hour of play.

This forced a change in tactics by the Spartan skipper Todd Lavender, who brought in first changers Anand Mavani and Andrew Gibbs. This proved a masterstroke as Gibbs in his second over was able to make the crucial breakthrough and claim Galbraith for 34, to bring about the first wicket of the match. CBC were 1/51.

The innings changed drastically from the wicketless first hour, as CBC crumbled and lost ten wickets for just 65 runs.

At the time even the best punters could not have thought that Galbraith’s 34 would be the highest score of the innings, but as it often happens in cricket, things would change drastically and send the match in a free-fall in the sessions that followed.

After the opening stand was broken, it wasn’t long before both openers were back in the sheds as Gibbs claimed his second wicket and left the home side 2/58. Mavani wasn’t late to join in on the action either, as he claimed two wickets in four balls to decimate the middle order. The opposition were now in trouble at 4/71, and the Spartans, who had gone wicketless in the first 20 overs had now claimed four vital scalps in the next seven.

It did not get any better for CBC after Atkinson returned to bowl in tandem with Gibbs, and another three wickets fell cheaply to restrict them to 7 for 77. By now, seven wickets had fallen for just 26 runs. Gibbs took his fifth wicket for the innings not long after, with the score now reading a dismal 8 for 83.

It was a small lower-order fight back that salvaged a bit of respect for the innings when numbers nine and ten combined to score the third and fourth highest scores of the innings with 18 and 17 respectively. This pushed CBC past 100 and to 110, before Mavs had Pietroniro LBW to claim the ninth scalp.

The final nail in the coffin came swiftly after, as the final wicket was taken by Badger and CBC had been bowled out for 116.

A series of sensational bowling performances from Andrew Gibbs, who finished with 5/33 and Anand Mavani with 3/26 helped us roll CBC for just 116 after they had earlier got off to a flyer with a fifty-one run opening stand. 

The home side lost all ten wickets for just sixty five after their solid start, eight of which came before 90 runs had been brought up. It was certainly a match for the bowlers as the Spartans had all bowled extremely well and claimed wickets to restrict the home team.

As was the case in our innings, it was also the contributions from the lower-order that proved vital, and saved face to get the score past three figures. Although 116 was well under-par, finals and grand finals in particular are always funny things, and it certainly was not in the bag for the Spartans.

It of course also must be mentioned that with the wicket keeping gloves in hand, Scott McKechnie – our English import player that season – rewrote the record books and claimed an amazing six catches.

Amidst the devastation with the ball, it was a stat with the gloves that put keeper Scott McKechnie in a league of his own – as he became the first and to date only Spartan to take five or more catches in a Grand Final in any grade!

The opening day was completed with the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club openers walking in to bat to complete the remaining overs, and by stumps we were 1/32 with just 85 for victory and nine wickets in hand. Many Spartans would have likely gone to bed pretty satisfied with the day’s play and confident of a victory the following day – and whilst that ultimately proved true, there were still many twists and turns to come before then.

The Spartan Innings:

Day two saw us resume at 1/32, after opener Peter Brown was dismissed late on the day prior for six, leaving skipper Todd Lavender on 25 the not out batsman overnight. This left us with another 85 to get to seal the win. If we had learnt anything from our (at that point) 90-years of history, particularly through our many previous battles with CBC, it was that we should never underestimate the opposition. 

1/32 quickly became 2/32 after Paul Kalleske was out of a single, but a solid partnership between captain Lavender and Matt Smith saw us in the box seat at 3/73 after their 41-run stand. As is often the case though a break in the partnership often brings about another wicket, and we lost our fourth only four runs later when the captain was caught for 37, the highest score of the match.

We reached 90 when the fifth wicket fell, needing a further 27 for premiership glory, and with future Team of the Century all-rounder Mark Atkinson still at the crease we were confident of getting over the line.

By the time we went to tea though we had lost Atkinson and were 6/104. Despite the setback, we needed only the thirteen runs for victory. 

Walking out for the final session of the season with just thirteen runs to get and four wickets in hand must have been a great feeling for the two not out batsmen, who certainly would have been hoping to be there at the end. It was looking that way when we edged to 114 without losing a wicket, now needing only three runs to win it seemed well and truly like we would win the competition. 

Then something truly amazing took place, where we fell from 6/114 to 7/114, then 8/114 and now in real trouble at 9/114 – losing three wickets without scoring.

At 6/114 we were one scoring shot away from premiership victory – an over or two later this seemed a world away as we collapsed to 9/114. We had lost three wickets for nothing!

The two opening bowlers for CBC in Brad Bootsma and Lucas Fielding had returned with a vengeance, snaring the three wickets between them in a devastating display late in the match. It was left to Will Badger and Anand Mavani to try get us the victory.

The pressure by now would have been immense and the opposition would have been swarming knowing one good ball would hand them the premiership. Mavs in particular, who had bowled very well the day before, was not known for his batting prowess and certainly not one to put your season on, yet he defied the odds to provide one last twist in the tale.

Incredibly, he managed to get the three required runs – all in singles – by each time squirting them high in the air but not much further than the end of the pitch! On every ball the crowd and players held their collective breath, and each time we breathed an enormous sigh of relief as the ball hit the ground and a single was run. Somehow each time, Mavani managed to top edge the ball high into the air but ensure that it landed safely, despite the three fielders swarming on it at pace to try claim the catch.

The several dot balls between the singles were just as nerve-wracking, and when the third run was scored in that exact same fashion it was jubilation at Karoonda for the Spartan contingent! We had chased down the 117 and won the premiership – a hugely memorable one at that!

It really was the game that had it. We had witnessed a number of turns throughout both days as both sides fought tooth and nail. The tale of the match was appropriately the tale, with our lower order securing the win in the most amazing and nerve-wracking of circumstances.

And with that, the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club had claimed victory and were First Grade Premiers in 2010/11 for the fourth time since 2005!

The First Grade Premiership Photo

The Lead Up:

The incredible victory was the highlight of what was a fiercely competitive season in our top grade, with the Spartans finishing in third position and reaching both the one-day and two-day grand finals. CBC, Armadale, Leeming Spartan and Cockburn were the teams to beat that year and all four made it to the finals.

Our matches against CBC during the regular season saw us comfortable winners in the round one clash, as we made 255 on day one to ultimately win by 106 runs. Greg Lathwell’s 67 proved the highlight. The second innings could be seen as a snippet of things to come though as we batted again and limped to 7/68. Regardless, we were big winners on first innings and claimed the points. The one-day encounter in January  also went our way as we won by four wickets chasing 131. We finished on 6/147 with our current skipper Paul Kalleske top scoring with 60.

A fortnight later however, CBC went into the one-day grand final and reversed the result in another classic, defeating us by ten runs after posting 190 all out. As mentioned, Coates opening top-scored with 52 whilst Mark Atkinson claimed 4/24. In reply, we finished on 8/180 after not quite being able to get over the line. Atko however completed yet another all-round performance to top-score in our innings with 46.

The result certainly set things up for the finals of the two-day competition, and to ultimately get the victory in the premier match of the season in such spectacular fashion certainly makes it one that will live long in the memory of the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club.

With many great tussles throughout the 2010/11 season, the final match of the year did not fail to deliver either and served as the culmination of a great season for the Spartans, as we defeated the rivals by one solitary wicket to claim the First Grade Premiership! 

In Conclusion:

This was our seventh entry in The Spartan Scorecards Series, and with plenty of matches to list, we hope to bring you a new entry every week this off-season! Be sure to stay tuned, and consider subscribing to our Email Newsletter if you haven’t done so already – that way you’ll never miss an entry!

We also encourage anyone with scorecards at home to send a photo of them in – we’ll be sure to feature them on the series! Simply click here to submit one!

Finally, be sure to check out our 2019/20 Spartan Yearbook – with over seventy pages of content it is the best way to recap on everything from the most recent season at the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club!

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