Penrith claimed the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket title for the first time since 1982/83 on Sunday courtesy of a first innings win over Sydney University in the Grand Final.
The pivotal moment in the three-day final came on Saturday afternoon, when Player of the Final Tyran Liddiard (97) guided Penrith past the 207 posted by the minor premiers in the first innings, with just one wicket in hand.
Penrith was dismissed for 249 in the first innings. Sydney University made 7/191 in its second and, declared with 55 overs left in the day, to give itself an opportunity at an outright win. The victors finished 1/79 before both teams agreed to shake hands.
It was also the first time since 2002/03 that Penrith had made the Final when Sydney University defeated it by 15 runs. Last season Penrith finished well outside the top six in 13th position.
Former NSW and Penrith player, Blues coach, and current England head coach, Trevor Bayliss presented Liddiard with the Benaud Medal as Player of the Match.
“I can’t put into words what the last three days have been like,” Liddiard, 21, said on Sunday afternoon.
“It (was) the first time for me to play over three days, my first full year of First Grade and the emotions (were) just unbelievable, especially yesterday.”
He is the second youngest player to receive the Medal and first Indigenous player. Blues allrounder Moises Henriques was named Player of the Final in 2007/08.
Liddiard hit 10 boundaries during his 149 balls and more than three hours at the crease. The Sydney Thunder Men’s Indigenous captain also claimed four catches behind the stumps.
He also became the second wicketkeeper to win the Medal, in the last three seasons, after former Blues and Sydney Sixers gloveman Ryan Carters won it in 2016/17.
Liddiard fell narrowly short of his first century in the top grade. It was the third time the wicketkeeper-batsman had been dismissed in the nineties this season and fourth time since his Premier Cricket debut last season.
He was the final wicket to fall for Penrith in the first innings, leg before wicket, to fast bowler Joe Kershaw (4-79).
Sydney University leg-spinner Devlin Malone claimed 1-42 in the second innings, and 1-55 in the first, to finish the season with 65 scalps and leading wicket taker in Premier Cricket for 2018/19.
Malone averaged a little less than 20 per wicket. He was three wickets clear of Penrith captain and seamer Ryan Smith with 62 wickets at 18.56.
Smith claimed 3-83 in the second innings to follow figures of 2-48 from 23.5 overs in the first.
The Penrith skipper said he had experienced a whole range of emotions over the last three days but was filled with pride.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of blokes to be around for seven months of the year,” Smith said.
“We’ve built a strong bond there and the great thing is they’re such a young bunch of guys that have got a lot of cricket ahead of them and things are only going to get better for us as a team and a club.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman, and brother of Australian and NSW Blues fast bowler Pat Cummins, Tim Cummins was a stand out in the beaten side.
Cummins made a resilient 77 from 176 balls and claimed four catches in the first innings.
Sydney University reached every final across all three formats in NSW Premier Cricket this season but was unable to claim any silverware.
It was defeated by Sutherland in the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup Final and lost to Sydney in the First Grade Limited-Overs Cup decider during early March.
However, Sydney University comfortably claimed the Club Championship. It defeated Parramatta in the Second Grade Grand Final over the weekend and finished minor premiers in the top four grades.
Sydney University had a mountain to climb to secure the Second Grade title. Parramatta set the students 386 to win on the first innings and they were 4/215 at the end of day two.
Captain and brother of Blues opener Nick Larkin, James Larkin, made a match-defining 165 not out and was named the Jack Moran Medallist as Player of the Match.
Larkin shared two century stands in the total of 7/386. The first came in partnership with No. 4 Nicky Craze (83) worth 107 and the second with David Miller (36) added the same amount for the fifth wicket.
In the Third Grade Grand Final, Eastern Suburbs upset minor premiers Sydney University by two wickets on the first innings. In reply to 199, the Dolphins made 8/201.
Easts opening bowler Jonathon Smith received the Mick Favell Medal as Player of the Final. He returned 4-44 from 20 overs in the first innings. Sydney University wicketkeeper-batsman Hayden Storey (91) top-scored for the match.
St George prevailed in the Fourth Grade Grand Final. It defeated Manly-Warringah by 31 runs on the first innings at Hurstville Oval.
Manly-Warringah opening bowler Joshua Wigney received the David Givney Medal as Player of the Final after he collected 6-74 from his 24 overs.
He was one of two bowlers to claim six wickets in the match. Rodney Krause also claimed 6-97 for St George.
The win for St George was set up by openers Eric Serra (92) and wicketkeeper-batter Joshua Vella (90) sharing a 170-run stand at the top of the order.
Sutherland finished minor premiers in the Fifth Grade competition and a three-wicket first innings win over UNSW in the Grand Final sealed the title for the Shire side.
Off-spinner Nathan Whittingham was awarded the James Rodgers Medal as Player of the Final. He collected the remarkable figures of 4-32 from 29.1 overs for Sutherland.
McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket - Grand Finals:
First Grade: The Belvidere Cup
Penrith 249 (T Liddiard 97 R Gibson 45 C Weir 27 D Holloway 4-34 J Kershaw 4-79) and 1-79 (B Atherton 46no R Gibson 22no) bt Sydney University 207 (T Cummins 77 R McElduff 41 R Gibson 2-10 T Weir 2-26 R Fletcher 2-36 L Hodges 2-43 R Smith 2-48) and 7(dec)-191 (N Walker 35 T Cummins 29 B Trevor-Jones 25no H Kerr 25 T Ley 24 D Holloway 20no R Smith 3-83 R Fletcher 2-52) at Bankstown Oval.
The Benaud Medal for Player of the Final: Tyran Liddiard (Penrith) 97 & 4 dismissals.
Second Grade: The Albert Cup
Sydney University 7-386 (J Larkin 165no N Craze 83 V George 46 D Miller 36 J Workman 3-69) bt Parramatta 6(dec)-385 (W Affleck 128 T Brar 82 A Talwar 51 L O'Farrell 39 T Affleck 33 S Cassel 26 B Joy 2-111) at University Oval.
The Jack Moran Medal for Player of the Final: James Larkin (Sydney University) 165 not out.
Second Grade Premiers - Sydney University (photo David Hossack)
Third Grade - The Mitchell Cup
Eastern Suburbs 8-201 (S Hall 42 T Gallop 40 A Coles 31 M Morley 22 J Remond 22no T Kierath 3-40 L McMahon 2-33) bt Sydney University 199 (H Storey 91 C Litchfield 35 J Smith 4-44 M Morley 2-43 R O'Beirne 2-58) at Coogee Oval.
The Mick Favell Medal for Player of the Final: Jonathon Smith (Eastern Suburbs) 4/44.
Third Grade Premiers - Eastern Suburbs (photo Adrian Tham)
Fourth Grade - The Reid Cup
St George 324 (E Serra 92 J Vella 90 T Kennedy 33 D Cassar 25 R Krause 21 J Wigney 6-74 A Somerville 2-63) bt Manly-Warringah 293 (W Akhurst 65 A Gummer 60 J Davies 53 N Cohen 27 A Somerville 26 R Krause 6-97 D Cassar 2-38 S Wark 2-40) at Hurstville Oval.
The David Givney Medal for Player of the Final: Joshua Wigney (Manly-Warringah) 6/74.
Third Grade Premiers - St George (photo Hamish Solomons)
Fifth Grade - The David Sherwood Cup
Sutherland 7-156 (F Graham 38 J Dimas 33 B Letton 20 J Greenberg 3-33 M Law 3-40) bt UNSW 153 (J Gavan 34 J Greenberg 32 D Bowcock 21 N Whittingham 4-32 R Bedi 4-50 M Holmes 2-41) at Glenn McGrath Oval.
The James Rodgers Medal for Player of the Final: Nathan Whittingham (Sutherland) 4/32 & 18no.
Fifth Grade Premiers - Sutherland