Fifth Grade Claim the David Sherwood Cup

Fifth Grade captain, Pat Lindsay, reflects briefly on an unusual premiership

After 15 Rounds of the regular season, 5th Grade have been crowned Champions and holders of the David Sherwood Cup for the 1st time since 1974-75.  Obviously there is a large degree of hollowness felt as a result of this outcome, which is of course due to the cancellation of the finals due to the COVID-19 virus. 

Nevertheless, I as skipper, and the rest of the team were very confident of our chances in the finals.  We earned the minor premiership and had beaten all of the teams in the top 6 with the exception of St George who we recorded a tie against. Even in that game we came back from the dead to nearly snatch it. 

34 players represented 5th Grade in season 2019/20 including Green Shield rookies to ex-1st Grade veterans. We won 10 games (including 1 outright), took the most wickets and scored the 6th most runs.  Of the two draws achieved, we were in strong positions in both. From the skipper's perspective the most pleasing win of the season was against runners-up Penrith at Tunks. We fielded a very young side, including 3 green shielders.  and missing regulars Michael Lloyd, Jack Thomas and Chris Savage. However it was the young lads who stepped up, Green Shield players Olly Jennings and Ben Fisher (50 on debut) put on a 67 run opening stand and then Ben Revai (Green Shield 18/19) and Aki Rana (Green Shield 19/20) scored some very valuable lower order runs to keep us competitive a 8-187 – around par at Tunks. Penrith got off to a flyer, but we chipped away and eventually reined them in, dismissing them for 179 in the last over.  All the wickets were shared around amongst a young attack (all bowlers U18 with the exception of the skipper) and complemented by a Cooper Goddard run out.

Speaking personally, I would have preferred to have played finals and risked losing, than to win in this manner. I can certainly empathise with the other finalists who performed excellently to make the finals and lost the chance to represent their clubs at the business end of the season. A number of our squad had committed to all or parts of the season in order to taste finals cricket, and to miss out is frustrating. Adding to the frustration is the fact that the Quarter Final was due to be played on North Sydney Oval, a ground the vast majority of the squad had not had the honour of playing on. 

A strong lower grade side generally has players with the potential and ability to compete in higher grades. I sincerely hope all players will use this season to take their cricket to new heights in the coming seasons for the Bears. Finals cricket surely awaits these 5th grade doyens into the future.

Special thanks must go to Tunks' Groundsman Bernie Vince. Bernie is a groundsman without peer in the competition. We are so lucky to have him.

Pat's full season wrap will be available in the Annual Report. Images courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman and the team.