At the end of last year, the Sacred Heart 1st XI played in the Marist Cricket Carnival in Lismore, New South Wales. The team was led by Hugo Fletcher and was hoping to become the first Sacred Heart side to win the Carnival away from home.
The pursuit of this goal began in scarcely believable fashion. After an hour and a half’s play on day one, Sacred had already recorded their first win of the tournament, beating St Augustine’s College, Cairns, by 10 wickets after bowling them out for just 16 runs! Aston Avery and Matthew Gibson both had magnificent opening spells with Aston ending up with figures of 5-12 and Matthew the remarkable figures of 5-2.
The next day saw Sacred play Notre Dame College, Shepparton, who had also recorded a big win the day before. After a very solid start thanks to Tim Dowling, 58, Sacred Heart collapsed with only Jack Coman, 50, showing any resistance in a below par total of 164. This total did not appear to be big enough until brothers Hugo and Kent Fletcher put the squeeze on with their spin bowling. The Notre Dame players could not handle the pressure and were dismissed 20 runs short of the total. Ryan Wallace behind the stumps took five dismissals, including 2 stumpings.
On day three, in soggy conditions Sacred bowled with less control than the previous days and Catholic College, Sale, took advantage, posting an imposing 183. That total looked even more daunting after losing three cheap wickets early with just 40 runs on the board. That brought Tim Dowling and Kent Fletcher together who produced a match winning partnership of 140 runs. Tim was imperious at the crease, as he dispatched the bowling to all quarters on his way to a maiden (and match-winning) century, 108 off 108 balls.
After a rest day, Sacred Heart played hosts St John’s College, Woodlawn, in a crucial game. Batting first, Sacred put up a meek display with the bat, with only Jack Coman scoring runs of note (64) as Sacred were all out for a disappointing 160. Some tight bowling early on made the total look competitive but a lacklustre effort in the field, with several chances grassed, proved to be the difference as Sacred suffered their first loss of the Carnival.
This set up an enthralling last day, with Sacred playing Lavalla Catholic College, Traralgan – two out of three teams who could still win the title. Sacred elected to bowl, and bowled well to restrict Traralgan to 184. Young Matthew Palmer continued to break key partnerships, snaring 2 wickets. Sacred’s chase started well, with Tim Burke compiling 44 runs, and Jack Coman building nicely. At 140/4 with Jack on 40*, thunderstorms were heard, and then felt as rain bucketed down from the heavens bringing an abrupt end to the match. On Duckworth Lewis, Sacred had won the game comfortably, however with Notre Dame, Shepparton, winning their game comfortably as well, it meant the carnival would be decided by net run rate.
Unfortunately, despite having beaten Notre Dame, their net run rate edged Sacred’s by 0.12 – a cruel way to be denied the title. Although Sacred Heart did not win the carnival, they played some brilliant, at times breath-taking, cricket and several players were recognised for their performances by making the MCC tournament side. These players were: Tim Dowling, Jack Coman and Aston Avery.
The performances of this young side have set up a promising 2015 season which will be followed with great anticipation.
Mr Jono Anderson, Manager