City United’s dominance of the Maitland competition this season wasn’t reflected in the finals, with the club going down in three of the four grades.
It was a disappointing return considering across the four grades, City had lost only two matches in total in the regular season – an unbelievable effort to clinch their second successive club championship.
Only the third grade went on to win the title, with Norths upsetting the hot favourites in first grade, and Eastern Suburbs grabbing both the second grade and fourth grade premierships. On reflection it was a disappointing return for what had been such a stellar season.
For Norths to win, one of their two big gun all-rounders – skipper Lincoln Mills or Cal Gabriel – was going to have to stand up. And it was Mills, with a fine all round performance (60 and 3-22) that resulted in him being named Player of the Final, who delivered.
After winning the toss, Mills had no hesitation in electing to bat.
An opening stand of 54 runs between himself and Michael Wilson was halted with the introduction of Nick Bower in the over before the first drinks break with Wilson been dismissed for 19.
Cal Gabriel went cheaply dismissed by Todd Francis before a consolidating partnership took the score to 91 before Nick Bower (4/45 off 20) ripped through City’s middle order taking 3 wickets for 1 run including the dismissal of Mills for 60 runs with a great catch by Denzel O’Brien.
Mills’ innings was one of patience and desire batting 35 overs.
A solid partnership (61) between Matt Sugden (23) and Logan Smith (41) consolidated North’s innings before a steady fall of wickets saw Norths were dismissed in the 74th over of the day for 170 runs.
Young City quick Cameron Wynn (3-4) bowled well towards the end of the innings with the other wicket takers being Tim Burton with 2-52 off 18 and Todd Francis 1-48 off 21.
City survived the remaining six overs in the day to have 17 runs on the board without loss at the end of Day 1.
City lost their first wicket early on day two with Andrew Vickery been dismissed for 17 by a good catch in the deep by Matt Howell, he who was quickly followed by Josh Trappel before a mini revival took place between Karl Bowd (27) and Matt Trappel (45) prior to the loss of Bowd with 53 runs on the board.
A steady flow of wickets continued throughout the afternoon with Trappel playing a lone hand for the City United batting for 50 overs in an innings of determination and tolerance. Chief destroyers with the ball for Norths were Denzel O’Brien 3-17 off 8 and Mills 3-22 off 11. Norths other wicket takers were Gabriel and Brad Jenkinson with two apiece.
Mills was a judged the Chris Mudd memorial player of the final for his all-round performance.
At the presentation both captains, Trappel for City and Mills and Wilson for Norths, acknowledged the healthy modern-day rivalry that exists between the clubs.
They also made special mention of the tremendous efforts of the volunteers from Norths for working resolutely to get the ground fit for play, as well as the volunteers within their own clubs who work tirelessly in the background.
The umpires Rob Humphries and Mike Wilson were recognised and in the true spirit in which the contest was fought both captains recognised the modern-day rivalry that exists between the clubs.
Mills acknowledged Maitland City United’s tremendous season with four Minor Premierships in 1st to 4th grade. Whilst Trappel conceded Norths outplayed his team across both days and deserved their victory.