North Tamworth clean sweep Tamworth lower grade cricket grand finals

Title hat-trick: North Tamworth's successful second, third and fourth grade sides celebrate their exploits after they won all three grand finals.
Title hat-trick: North Tamworth's successful second, third and fourth grade sides celebrate their exploits after they won all three grand finals.

North Tamworth achieved their first ever Tamworth cricket competition lower grade hat-trick on the weekend.

Joining Bective East, West Leagues and South Tamworth as clubs to achieve the feat, the Redbacks claimed the second, third and fourth grade premierships to mark an historic day for the club.

Back in the 1975/76 season they were second and third grade champions, but they hadn’t won all three lower grades since the fourth grade competition was introduced in 1990.

Second grade completed the trifecta not long after 5.30pm with a stirring win over Old Boys.

The other sides were there at Riverside 2 to cheer them to victory, the final wicket sparking jubilant celebrations on the sidelines and on the field.

It was as much a sign of how much it meant to them as about the manor of their victory. 

After rain leaked through a hole in the covers on Saturday night they weren’t able to get on the field until just before 3.30pm on Sunday, which was the cut-off to constitute a game.

As a consequence Norths’ 3-83 from the couple of hours they batted on Saturday stood as what Old Boys had to chase off 38 overs. 

“We got the raw end with the weather,” second grade captain Glenn Simpson said.

They had no idea that they were going to lose 30 overs of their innings, the game already being reduced from 90 to 68 as a result of the late start on Saturday, and batted more conservatively that they otherwise would have, he said.

Going out to field all they really had on their side was pressure.

“We spoke about scoreboard pressure but we had to be up from ball one,” he said.

They were. Simpson couldn’t recall them dropping a catch and noted a “screamer” that Lachie Bradfield took at mid-on to dismiss Tim Swan.

“He was looking dangerous,” he said.

It was a turning point. The other was Old Boys skipper Mal Collier’s dismissal.

“He was starting to hit a few fours and taking it away from us,” Simpson said.

They wrapped up things pretty quickly after Phil Constable got him lbw.

Simpson had brought him on after drinks. They hadn’t tried a spinner yet, and he thought Peter Watson and Matt Zell were starting to tire a bit after their efforts up front.

“The double change did give them a bit of a break,” Simpson said, also bringing on Phil’s brother Tim.

They did the damage through the middle, before Watson came back on to seal it.

Watson was “incredible”, Simpson said claiming 4-14.

He also made mention of Evan Brownsmith’s unbeaten 50 on Saturday.

The victory was all the sweeter after they finished minor premiers last season only to bomb out in the major and preliminary.

“Quite a few of us came back to play again so there was that extra passion,” Simpson said.

Third grade also defeated Old Boys while fourth grade upset minor premiers City United.