It was a warm Friday morning, and as the sun rose over the Gold Coast, the day had issued its challenge, two teams, glimmering with the aura of success answered the call. Last year’s APS Premiers, the Somerset College 1st XI Cricket Team and the State Cup runners up Emmanuel College took to the pitch for a chance at glory.
But first, the history. In previous years the rivalry between Somerset and Emmanuel could only be described as a smoldering flame within a sinking ship, with Somerset rising high above their seemingly weak competitors. But Emmanuel were hungry to restore their pride following a lackluster season in 2017, and so they began to forge their State Cup Squad. Somerset had been petitioning to enter the competition for years and in 2019 they finally got their shot. When the two sides engaged in cricketing combat upon the d’Arcy Doyle synthetic wicket, Somerset were the ones to falter in the dreary conditions. Coming into the Friday 13 clash, the stage was set for the two teams to test their metal.
As the two sides arrived at Cheltenham Oval, the tension in the air was palpable. The teams went into their respective dressing rooms, the chat began – each knowing that this match would likely decide their contention for a spot in the 2019 APS final. As Emmanuel took to the field, two champions emerged from the Somerset sheds. James Guy and Charlie Liu strode out to the dry wicket with confidence, and the battle for cricketing ascendance had begun. The skipper and the newcomer displayed a batting master class, dispatching the Emmanuel attack with apparent ease. James rose the bat once at 50 and then before the scorers even knew what they’d witnessed Jim removed his helmet, raised his bat and pumped the Somerset crest. An innings of passion, pride, precision and flare, including 14 fours and two sixes. With Charlie’s dismissal just beforehand for a hard fought 34 off 32, the total was bittersweet, with the pair making a partnership of 152 before parting ways, Somerset’s highest ever T20 partnership. With respectable appearances from William Baker and Tom Halloran after Jim’s dismissal for 108 runs off just 64 balls, Emmanuel were set the total of 184 – a near impossible task.
Two Emmanuel immortals come into view from the pavilion, two batsman who could do real damage with the willow – Charles Parsons and Sam Willis. Despite the gargantuan total put on by the men from Mudgeeraba, the two Emmanuel bats rose to the challenge. The Somerset 1st XI were in dire straits in the field, with many bowlers trying and failing to take that one essential wicket. Charles Parsons put on a display of pure might with Sam classily putting away both bad and good balls alike – 0 for 120 off 12 overs. Somerset appeared as if they would have to rue the missed opportunity later that evening. That was until the breakthrough occurred. Somerset’s key man when it came to the red leather eyed up his opponent on the last ball of his third over, the fire of determination in his eyes. He charged in, hit the deck hard and what followed sent the team into rapturous celebration. With Will Baker clutching onto the fast-moving red king, the tail was up and the road to victory became clear – 60 required off 8 overs. The boa constrictor that was the Somerset attack strangled the life out of Emmanuel’s run rate, and Sam Willis was the next to fall. Tom Halloran took the next essential wicket with a beautifully graceful catch from Blake Andrews at wide long off – an unorthodox but ingenious fielding decision made by the Skipper Centurion.
Minimal scoring from the Emmanuel batsmen that followed crippled Emmanuel’s chances of a win. The Somerset 1st XI claimed sweet victory by a margin of 21 runs. Whilst the two points and a firm spot at top of the ladder were welcomed with open arms, the win meant more than that. It led to a greater sense of comradery within the team, creating stronger connections that will set the 1st XI in good stead for a shot at back to back premierships.
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