(Back Row) Trevor Crosby, Phil Jirman, Graeme Bleus, John Wickham, Warrick Folkard,
Bob Vagg, Andrew Hercus
(Front Row) Andrew Corish, Mark Wormell, Ian Graham, Michael Leslie
Played at Mona Park, Auburn, 24th and 31st March, 1979.
Macquarie University won by 10 wickets. Toss: Macquarie University. Captain: Graeme Bleus.
Played at Lance Hutchinson Oval, Canterbury, 10th and 17th of March, 1979.
Macquarie University won by 188 runs. Toss: Macquarie University. Captain: Graeme Bleus.
FINAL REPORT :
Because of the unrelenting persistence of Secretary John Wickham, we were in, then out, then in again of the semi-final, all due to a statistical dispute concerning our season quotient due to Bexley only having ten players in the competition round. Our semi-final against minor premiers Canterbury was memorable for a number of reasons ; a Mankad in the final over before lunch which resulted in the middle and lower-order inspired to amass a big first innings' total and the following Saturday being frustratingly delayed because of impending rain all around Sydney but which did not really eventuate at Lance Hutchinson in any meaningful way. When play did finally resume mid-afternoon our season seemed to be over at 5.25 p.m. with Canterbury in seemingly safe waters at 5 for 135. In the cold miserable conditions Captain Bleus gave the ball to our quickest bowler, Andy Hercus, in one last throw of the dice. What occurred in the next ten minutes was a remarkable spell of bowling with Canterbury dismissed with the total still on 135 and we were running off Lance Hutchinson like the West Indian side of the tied test of 1960!
Auburn had beaten us at home with relative ease during the competition round and enjoyed the "advantage" of a home final at their home ground of Mona Park, then notorious for its thick, slow outfield and dubious pitch quality. Generally, teams felt modest totals, sometimes barely over three figures, were often a guarantee of certain victory at this venue. We dearly wanted to win the toss to take advantage of what had to be the best time to be batting. After calling correctly, early set-backs left us left us tottering at 6 for 94 but as they had done all season, the lower-middle and lower-order converted this beginning into an intimidating Mona park total of 209. Players who had played at this venue could not recall any previous total anywhere near this score! Trevor Crosby (36), a mid-season promotion from Third Grade, batted with elegance and determination. Just as they had in the semi-final against the minor premiers, invaluable contributions were made by Andrew Corish (29) and Mark Wormell (24). Andy Hercus (43) then played a hard-hitting and decisive innings to put us right in the driver's seat to boss the rest of the game.
With a sizable total to defend we were confident we could do the job. All three bowlers, Andy Hercus, Michael Leslie and Bob Vagg responded to the challenge when Auburn took to the crease. Auburn made its way to 4 for 91 at stumps on day one in the face of some fearsome fast bowling from Andy Hercus. The slip cordon felt it was in the game every delivery and where to position oneself in terms of depth was continually up for debate!. On day two the remaining six wickets fell for the addition of 38 runs. Michael Leslie (4/16), Bob Vagg (4/49) and the very unlucky Andy Hercus (2/47) deserved all the credit.
Captain Bleus had no hesitation in inserting Auburn for a second innings. Again Leslie with (5/43) proved too much for them and Vagg with (3/20) did not release the pressure. It is worth noting that Professor Bob played in Macquarie's very first match in season 1967-68, taking 14 wickets, and here he was 11 seasons later bowling in a winning final for the club he helped establish. Match-winners Wormell and Corish did not bowl one delivery in this game but got to open our second innings, wiping off the deficit with one shot. This victory represented Macquarie's greatest success in its history up to this point. Our euphoria was only slightly dampened by the loss of twenty dollars from each player's wallet that was left in the change room but it hardly seemed to matter!
The side undoubtedly reaped the results of playing our best cricket at the vital end of the season. The pennant was ours by 2.00 p.m. which left time for celebrations and a chance to support the C Grade final effort. In retrospect, how significant did the missing eleventh player for Bexley turn out to be?