Monash University CC News

Women's Grand Finals

By Anna Broomhall



So it’s been a little while since I’ve checked in, so let’s do a little recap since the start of the finals series, so before I begin recapping our PREMIERSHIP VICTORY (oops spoiler alert), let’s go back 2 weeks and see what happened.

I can’t believe it was only 2 weeks ago that we lined up against Melbourne Uni. We went in incredibly positively as we had given them a right touch up in the last round before Christmas, but they had been bellowing that they were missing two of their best bowlers so I was interested to see what they could do.

Much like us, our fellow Uni counterparts are a very strong bowling lineup so I was chuffed when the coin landed their way, and they elected to bat. Things started slowly for them as they looked nervous, scoring at around 2 ½ an over and seeming to want to get settled before really making the scorers do some work. A lucky caught and bowled by yours truly notched our first wicket in the 15th over and from there the wickets started to tumble – making their slow start seem a risky choice.

Rowdy was doing some brilliant work in close keeping the pressure on, Mary was in brilliant form and the team as a whole just seemed to click. We managed to bowl them out for 103 in the last over, in a true sign that the Gryphons were switched on and really forcing the play.
While Mary and Scooby’s partnership didn’t start well with a runout, it was time for the Scooby & Rowdy show to take hold and they smashed a 55 run partnership, with Rowdy playing the lead with a quality support in Scoobs. When they both fell, we were still in great shape and Maddi took the lead and went wackety-wack, scoring 22 off 25 and bringing up the winnings runs with a boundary in the 28th over. Spoiler alert #2 – not the only game that ends with a
boundary…

The key message we got out of that game from the Melbourne Uni team was “please smash Edinburgh in the finals!” and with a performance like that, we were certainly as confident and in form as we could possibly hope to be going into a finals series. Unfortunately we lost Rowdy to overseas work duty, but even then, everyone had had a hit, the bowlers were doing brilliantly and the fielders were hot. We were ready.

I’m not sure what happened in week 1 of the finals, but all our form seemed to disintegrate in the face of an incredibly confident Edinburgh – catches went down, bowlers went wide and short, boundaries flowed and they stormed to 153. Now before you get to nervous, I’d like to redirect you to the very first paragraph of this recap… don’t worry. It ends well. A fairly average innings by all 11 Gryphons later, we crawled to 78 but made them bowl the full 40 overs… which annoyed them so I count that as a small win.

Day 2 and Edinburgh were even more confident and were shocked and thrilled by my decision to bowl first. Unfortunately Day 2 flowed on from Day 1 and things were looking grim before the Universe interrupted and the game was (eventually) called off – the comment from one of the Edinburgh players “Damn, we have to wait a whole week to smash you again”.

Day 3 dawned bright and sunny and we knew that one way or the other, today was going to be the end of Season 2010/11. Unlike the first week, I had no time to turn around at work let alone send out annoying (ahem, inspirational) emails to everyone, and I certainly hadn’t had time to think about the game itself so I was, unlike the first week, fairly free of nerves. X, Mez and I had an entertaining warm up whereby I smashed balls as hard as I could, and made X and Mez fetch them. I certainly found it fun, and they were looking for an energy outlet… a win-win as far as I could see!

The platypi of John’s 20c coin fell my way and Hammo was again surprised and chuffed as I sent them into bat. As a team, we had had discussions about whether we should stick with what we know, or try and change it up and bat first. The pros and cons were batted (no pun intended… well maybe a little) back and forth, with everyone coming around to sticking with tradition. After all, we had made a grand final being the team that went against the grain and benefitting from every other team choosing to bat first – why mess with that?

The feel from the start of the day was a massive step up from Week 1 and it seemed that we were ON. Everyone, with special mention to Ms Hince, had found their own way to pump themselves up and it was showing on the scoreboard. I decided to shake things up a little and keep the pressure on with X and Maddi sharing an end, and I shared the new ball with X to start. Aside from straying with line a little, I had actual ideas for the batsman and the new Kooka was doing what it was told. After 7 overs they were 0/12 and the pressure was building. Blowing my own horn only slightly, I skipped through a cross-seamer at the body and it hopped like I had wanted – the batsman was cramped, didn’t account for the bounce, a top edged cross-bat shot popped an edge and Scooby took the easiest catch you can hope for as a keeper.
The leftie limped to the crease and my next over I finally got an umpire to agree with an LBW decision – funnily enough it was probably the most contentious of all LBW decisions but it did smash her on the back leg, low down… if the umpire had declared “going down leg”, I would have been far less inclined to belt him in the head than some of the decisions from Week 1.
A slow 15 run partnership (over 9 overs) was brilliantly slowed even more by 4 successive maidens by Mary and Helen, with Helen eventually claiming another LBW decision much to the disgust of the Edinburgh batsman. Some intriguing subplots included Lush, our truthful and wonderful Lushy, being accused of cheating after dragging back a ball a foot inside the cones, Mez breaking Hammo’s big toe (who subsequently retired hurt) with one of the best nuts I’ve ever seen and still can’t work out why it was given not out, then Mez following up by winning the Season Award for Widest Wide, and a clear edge snicking through to Scooby being given not out.

Throughout it all, the pressure in the field was enormous. Scooby’s keeping was her usual high standards, the backing up at both ends allowed fielders to have a ping with the knowledge that overthrows would be minimal if any, and given the inclinations of the batsmen to back up a long way, it forced them to re-think. I was changing the field regularly and everyone was responsive and understood without me having to remind everyone. Repeat – we were ON.
Ella came on with her First Ball/Over Bandit reputation that proved true once again as the frustration got the better of Spare, who walloped a toe edge high to Mary at mid-on – I had only just swapped Mez and Maddi the over before and Maddi was relieved to see Mary sitting under it. That paved the way for Hammo to limp out to the centre and go the wallop with a runner. That worked for a short time before I moved Ella 4 metres to her right and about two balls later, Hammo smashed it straight to her – Ella casually snaffling it and then going for the double play, winged it in to the bowlers end.

The next two wickets forced the umpires to earn their money as both X and Maddi sent the stumps cartwheeling past Scooby, while Ella continued her influence in the field – Edinburgh started to panic and go for the extra runs, she picked it up clean as a whistle and Maddi was sensible enough to let it go and thrash into the stumps – a great direct hit from side on and suddenly they were 8/61 off too many overs to recover. Lushy decided to get involved and did so via a brilliant catch from her spot at close-in on the leg side – going back, she took it over her left shoulder and X finished her spell with 3/20 off 10 overs. Not a bad effort in a Grand Final!

Helen decided enough was enough and eventually closed out the innings, teaming with Scooby to send the number 11 packing with a runout and they were all out for 83. We were pumped and staring down the barrel of the best opportunity we would ever have to win a Grand Final. Edinburgh had had their confidence dented; they were missing their opening bowler, half their side couldn’t walk while on the flip side, we were full of confidence, chasing a small total at juuuust over 2 runs an over required.

Unfortunately both our openers couldn’t quite translate that confidence into runs and we started even slower than Edinburgh. We were crawling at about 1 an over but still had both openers in there. Even more unfortunate, Mary actually took the sledging of the Sledging Wicketkeeper as advice and hit it in the air to the fielder.

Well she took half of the Sledging Wicketkeepers advice… not sure she has yet become a… well it’s rude, but it rhymes with Slat Fut.

Hannah headed in and also looked nervous against some bowling that was slower than normal, but hitting a decent line and length. Eventually she lost her stumps and Maddi also saw her bails go a-knockin’ and I was starting to get nervous as we sat at 3/18 off 16. Scooby fell to an absolute blinder by Birdy as she attempted to guide a cut shot over her at gully – Birdy, who is about a foot taller than any other Edinburgh player, stuck up her hand and it stuck. Just unlucky.

I headed in to join Jones of the Helen variety, and we managed to work two easy singles before I experienced the power of Mez’s bat – I walloped an on-drive that bounced a foot in front of the mid-on fielder, looked up to see Helen belting towards me – an easy run out and a sheepish Jones replaced by a confident Jones.

Now this Jones claims that this was all part of the script but I still call foul… Not content to see one run out including a Jones and a Broomhall, Cat hit it straight to Hammo and charged down the wicket. If Hammo was at deep square or deep anywhere… even at traditional anywhere except where she was, I would calmly accept my fate. Hammo was at short mid-wicket. Three metres from the bat. The scorebook says “A Broomhall – run out (Hammo & Hall)”. I have submitted a request to have that changed to “A Broomhall – run out (C Jones)”. And apologies to Mary’s bat, it copped the brunt of my rage as I threw my gear at the wall in the change rooms.

We were now left at 6/29 off 26 overs and staring down the barrel of a heartbreaking defeat. For all our good work in the field, we were doing our best to throw it away with the bat. X headed in and what followed was some of the most nerve-wracking, fingernail-mutilating, eye-popping batting I have seen for years. Every shot young X played, she played as a slog sweep – complete with the “down on one knee” Allan Border Slog Sweep Stance. If the ball was on leg – slog sweep. If the ball was on the stumps – slog sweep. If the ball was Yorker length outside off – yup, slog sweep.

But as I watched through my fingers, the scoreboard started to tick in the right direction and I began to watch through only one set of fingers. As we passed 70, both hands were wringing like a stressed parent and all Gryphons had migrated as an ever increasing pack to the sidelines where we were clutching each other like drowning people to a lifejacket – the boys had arrived and couldn’t understand why we were so nervous needing 11 runs from 4 overs.
Cat was playing brilliantly and we were starting to do the unthinkable and get less nervous when X attempted something different – a slog drive. She connected with the ball about a foot away from her pads and hit it back onto her toe and the outraged storm off the ground from our youngster after being given out LBW was VERY impressive.

Lushy headed in with some very helpful advice run out to her from her Skipper “Try and get Cat on strike”. The response sent back to me by the helpful Hannah was, predictably, “shut up, we know”. Yes I may have paraphrased, but that was the gist.

Eventually she went the tonk and scrambled to cross before the ball was caught by mid-on. Yet another accusation of cheating followed as Ella headed to the wicket, Cat was unsure of whether they had crossed and did the right thing of checking with the umpires. The umpires assured her that they had crossed, Cat took strike and Edinburgh lost their cool.
By this stage we were crouched on the sidelines, still clutching and grasping at each other (minds out of the gutters), cheering every run like there was no tomorrow. Ella did well to keep the ball out and Cat had the strike, needing 6 runs to win off 2 overs. Cat hit a beautiful shot through the now-encroaching infield and they managed to scramble 2. Mary was commentating in one ear, Lush threatening to smack Mary for commentating in my other ear “shut up! I don’t want to know!”, while I was ignoring them both and bellowing at Scooby (who was on scoring duty) to ensure that the scores were right. Yup, our nerves were about as stretched as they could be.

Another two followed on the second last ball and we needed 2 to win – someone muttered that they needed a single to get Cat on strike when Cocko, of all people, noted with some common sense “or she could just do it now”. Cat seemed to listen to Cocko for the first and I’m sure, last time and swung hard – connecting and creaming the ball through the leg side – racing past the boundary and putting the result beyond any doubt.

Before the ball had even hit the cones, Cat was faced with 10 Gryphons in full flight as we flew to the middle. Panicked, she threw her bat away and stood there as we formed a pack and jumped up and down, screaming and there must have been some pollen in the air as my eyes started leaking. Cat seemed to have the same problem but no one cared and 12 of us – sweaty, stinking and supremely victorious, celebrated and basked in the glory of the win. Not one of us cared that it is a shared flag, it is a Premiership Victory like any other and we are proud as we should be.

Once we had settled down a little, and had shaken our opponents hands (who, it must be said, were fairly gracious in defeat once it was all done and dusted), the opposition coach posed the thought that it was a fairly hollow feeling given that everyone is technically a winner. I turned to look at 11 Gryphons behind me who still hadn’t stopped smiling and before I could even open my mouth, Ella did it for me – “I don’t know… this feels pretty bloody good”.
After thanking our now rather large group of supporters, we huddled together on the ground to do our traditional Positives and reflection on the game. Funny how everyone wanted multiple turns this week and it was a fantastic feeling as everyone cheered nearly every word.
Aha! But now you have to listen to me as I claim them all.

Congratulations Gryphons, we are all rightful Premiers of the 2010/11 Season!
Whilst we don’t yet have our medallions or flags or trophies, the Best of 3 final series is what we were given by the VWCA and we rolled Edinburgh for only the third time they have been rolled this season. If we look at pure numbers we are incredibly even on the season’s performance.

We lost 13 less wickets than they did, they took 11 more wickets than we did.
They made more runs than we did, but we restricted teams to less runs than they did.
The difference in our percentages at seasons end was 0.0092%. And given they won 3 more games than we did, that is astonishing.

For those of us who were around 3 years ago, it is a fantastic feeling to have gone from 7-8 players a week, getting pumped every week to this. It proves that the hard work, the pre-seasons, the Wednesday nights training, plus the Gryphons spirit and sportsmanship that I so respect and admire, has paid off in the best way possible.

As I said after Round 18, we are a team that opponents enjoy playing against and I feel that is a wonderful thing to be known for as a team. Adding a premiership trophy to our cabinet is a bonus that I am so thrilled to have been a part of, but even more than just the simple fact that we have that trophy, I love that we won it playing our brand of cricket; remaining positive while competitive, cheerful while challenged, fair while frustrated.
To echo Ella’s thought, there is not a single hollow thing about this victory – it feels bloody awesome.

The only thing that comes close to hollow is the unfortunate fact that Michael (aka Richie), Jaffa and Rowdy, couldn’t be there when Cat hit the winning runs. For everyone that was there, the biggest thanks from the bottom of my heart – it made the day all that more special to have your support at the end and to enjoy our victory with us. For all the boys that joined us at the Arc afterwards and were overwhelmingly supportive, congratulatory and most importantly, willing to engage in our endless ‘WINNERS!!’ – thank you all.

The pollen seems to have found its way into my living room so I’m going to wrap up.
Season 2010/11. We took 85/1067 and made 43/1175 runs in our 9 wins and 4 losses. And on the 19th March, 2011, we beat Edinburgh to rightfully claim our share of the Premiership for the One Day Central Grade.

I look forward to seeing everybody at hopefully both the VWCA presentation night but particularly the Monash Presentation Night where we can celebrate in even bigger style than we did after the match. Congratulations to each and every one of you – WINNERS!!

Cheers and bring on next season!
Skipper
Premiership Player 10/11