Number Four in the countdown in the greatest Douglas Cup Finals covers the 2018/19 Final between Ginninderra and Weston Creek Molonglo.
No.4 – 2018/19 – 40 Wickets in Two Days and a Club Back from the Brink
From 1992/93 to 2017/18, Ginninderra had only reached the semi finals of the 1st Grade competition once, in 2016/17. In most seasons they finished last or second last and were generally seen as easy beats by most clubs, a first innings win or an outright win was a given for most clubs when they played Ginninderra.
The 2016/17 season was a spark, the club made the semi finals for the first time since 1992/93, which was the last time the club won the Douglas Cup. Although the club lost their semi final that season against Weston Creek Molonglo, a positive vibe was growing around the club. The management of the club had changed, a couple of years earlier the home ground, Kippax Oval, had been redeveloped by the 2018/19 season came around, the drainage issues had been solved which meant the first grade side had a permanent home ground with excellent facilities.
Earlier in the 2018/19 season, Ginninderra had reached the Final of the Twenty20 Cup and from there the momentum swung and a positive vibe swelled around the club. Although the club lost the Final, confidence was high. The first grade side was led by local junior Rhys Healy and a number of junior cricketers had worked their way up to the senior side. The first grade side had a strong pace attack which was the envy of other clubs and in fact were down a fast bowler in Luke Ryan who had injured his knee playing indoor cricket the previous winter.
After making the Finals, Ginninderra were drawn up against powerhouse and reigning premiers Western District. Western District dominated the first day, that was up until the final hour of that day where Wests lost their last five wickets for 22 runs. Despite a middle order stutter, Ginninderra got home with three wickets to spare chasing 252 and they had made their first 1st Grade Final since 1992/93. The talk around the club was to “Bring Dougie Home”. A reference to the 1st Grade Trophy being named the Douglas Cup.
The 1st Grade Final was to be held at Phillip Oval. This was the first 1st Grade Final to be held at Phillip Oval. Cricket ACT had moved their headquarters from Manuka Oval to Phillip Oval and this ground was redeveloped with the assistance of the ACT Government, the ground was to be the second major ground in the ACT.
The Final was against Weston Creek Molonglo who were and still are one of the strongest clubs in ACT Cricket since the early 2000s. Weston Creek Molonglo finished fourth after the preliminary rounds but upset Tuggeranong Valley in their semi final to set up an unusual occurrence of 3 versus 4 in the Final. The start of the match was an anti-climax with the entire first day’s play washed out.
Day 2 saw overcast conditions but the wet weather was held at bay. Ginninderra captain Rhys Healy won the toss and elected to bat. Jordie Misic and Amit Sharma opened the batting for the Tigers and the first wicket was lost when the score was 21 when Jordie Misic was bowled by Djali Bloomfield. Three quick wickets fell soon after, all to Harry Medhurst, and Ginninderra were reduced to 4 for 38. Then there was a strong 68 run partnership between Sharma and Gus Le Lievre which brought the total to 106 before Le Lievre was dismissed. Not long after Sharma was dismissed for an extremely gritty 61 off 133 balls in 195 minutes which ended up being the highest score for the match. Ginninderra were on the verge of being dismissed for a low total until Nick Owen and Jarryd Hatton put on 68 for the 8th wicket with both batsmen contributing 30 and 39 respectively. The last three wickets feel quickly and Ginninderra was dismissed for 193. Harry Medhurst was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 50. The total was seen as a more than defendable total, considering the state of the wicket.
With a strong pace trio in Michael Ninneman, Jarryd Hatton and Jak Willcox, Ginninderra had Creek reeling at 5 for 66 at stumps including the vital wicket of Robbie Trickett for 32 just before stumps.
Day three started well for Weston Creek Molonglo, justifying the confidence that their captain John Rogers had in them. Tom Atallah and night watchman Djali Bloomfield carried the score to 5 for 102 before Atallah was dismissed for 31 caught behind by Josh Watling off Ninnemann. Bloomfield was next dismissed for a stoic 4 off 68 balls in 100 minutes. This started off another collapse and Weston Creek Molonglo were dismissed for 116. Michael Ninnemann was the star bowler with 6 for 54 despite having torn his quad in the semi final the previous week.
Ginninderra had a first innings lead of 77 and to secure their third Douglas Cup title, all they had to do was to bat the day out. The final had another twist in store as the Weston Creek Molonglo bowlers tore through the Ginninderra top order to have them reeling at 4 for 13. A vital 35 run partnership between Misic who made 13 in 91 minutes and Le Lievre who made 36 off 44 balls. Misic was dismissed with the score on 48 and Le Lievre was the 6th wicket to fall on 59 and the lower order limped along until the side was dismissed for 79. Quick, Djali Bloomfield dominated the bowling figures with a wonderful 4 for 31. Creek were set 157 in three hours to win the premiership and to break the hearts of the many Ginninderra supporters which had made their way to the ground to witness history.
The wicket was turning into a minefield and quick Jak Willcox took full advantage of it. Willcox, whose uncle had been part of the last Ginninderra side to win a first grade premiership, took 4 of the first six wickets to fall for Creek in their second innings leaving them at 6 for 18 including the prize wicket of Creek captain John Rogers caught behind for a duck. Ben de Carvalho showed some spirit with 12 but his dismissal saw the team fall to 9 for 38 and heading for a record low score. There was resistance from Aiden Cowie who made 26 off 29 balls batting at number ten but Jak Willcox came back on and quite fittingly took the last wicket to hand the Tigers an outright victory by 85 runs and sending the Ginninderra supporters into rapturous celebrations. Michael Ninneman took another four wickets in the second innings to make it ten for the match and claim man of the match honours.
The club was given further cause for celebration, it was awarded the Australian Premier Cricket Club of the Year by Cricket Australia in May of 2019.
Ginninderra 193 (A Sharma 61, JJ Hatton 39, AL Le Lievre 35, NL Owen 30, HD Medhurst 4-50, DMR Bloomfield 3-58, SR Taylor 2-22) & 79 (AL Le Lievre 36, DMR Bloomfield 4-31, SR Taylor 3-18, HD Medhurst 2-20) defeated outright Weston Creek Molonglo 116 (RW Trickett 32, TG Atallah 31, M Ninneman 6-54, J Hatton 2-25, JM Willcox 2-30) & 71 (AF Cowie 26, JM Willcox 5-11, M Ninneman 4-39) by 85 runs at Phillip Oval on March 22(no play),23,24, 2019.