Almanac Bush Cricket: Grand Final – Pekina-Carrieton v Spalding-Booborowie
COUNTRY CRICKET AT ITS FINEST
By Peter Argent
Community cricket has been a part of the heart and soul of the Pekina district since the club was first constituted at the town pub back in 1893.
Last Saturday, the current incarnation of the town’s cricket team, the Pekina-Carrieton Bushrangers played the Northern Areas association Grand Final against Spalding-Booborowie.
The Pekina Oval is situated in the Mid North of South Australia, just south of the famous Goyder line, and some 14 kilometres west of Orroroo.
Like the county ground in England there is a tree behind square leg, but at Pekina, with “Hogs Head” range as a part of the vista, it far enough to the corner of this quadrant of the ground to just slightly distort the shape of the oval.
Unlike his British counterpart, finding blades of green grass is a lot harder.
The Grand Final was a big social event for the community and the crowd was enlarged further by a preliminary final clash of the local tennis competition between the Pekina Galahs and the village of Morchard 40-odd kilometres away via road, who were resplendent in their purple and white.
There was also a good splattering of the next generation of the stars, kicking balls around at the edge of the ground, along with up to 50 four-wheel drives, utes and other vehicles peppering the boundary.
Over the more than 120 years of the Pekina Cricket Club it’s enjoyed a rich history.
Current skipper and former Woodville batsman/keeper once peeled off 250 runs in a single innings, during a 1000-run summer for the club.
It is fair to say, batting on the “Gabba grass” at Pekina is significantly different to the manicured turf decks of Adelaide University #1 ground, Glandore and Woodville Oval grounds he experienced when playing first grade at the Peckers in the SACA competition.
He is a second generation player at the club, along with younger brother Liam, who is now donning the creams for Southern Eyre South on the other side of the Spencer Gulf.
His father Kev, who was playing tennis for the Galahs on this Grand Final day, at 56, was a part of a special day when the club made 5/542 from 50-eight ball overs against Booleroo back in ’78.
Openers 378-game North Adelaide ruckman Mick Redden (’78-’93) and Barney Redden put on 232 for the first wicket.
Mick was the first dismissed for a restrained 54 (6 x 4s, 1x 6) as was explained in the local press at the time.
Barney, who brought up his ton in the 13th over and finished on 178, with 23 boundaries and a half a dozen sixes in the 22nd.
Kev O’Dea (66) and Pete Redden (81) continued the onslaught, while John O’Dea hit 16 fours before he was retired on by his skipper on 107 with the score at 521.
John Kuerschner remained 21 not out and the bowling figures included three players who passed the century mark, with Harry Kupke leading the way with 2/148.
It is folklore than “Mighty Mick” (Redden) was in line to pack the team’s kit as the batsman dismissed for the lowest score in the innings, until another stalwart Garry Mannion was dismissed in the last over for 10.
Booleroo still showed some grit in their run chase responding with a respectable 7/209, but lost this one-day fixture by 333 runs.
I’ve digressed enough.
Spalding-Booborowie have been a combined entity for a couple of seasons, but no member of their current team were born when the Spalding Cricket Club won in last flag in the summer of 1980-81
The final started with the visiting captain Mark Shane sending the hosts in.
Matt Longbottom collected two early scalps, but 40s by O’Dea, Kieran Blackwell and Declan Duffy,(the son and grandson of local football legends Justin and Kevin who have seven Mail Medals between then) ensured PCCC made 7/184 from their 40 overs.
Following a lovingly cooked and hearty afternoon tea, Spalding-Boob began their run chase.
The Bushrangers took the early ascendancy at 3/47, before an association between Alex Morgan and Jason Longbottom dragged their side back into contest.
Enter “Big Bad Bustling” Billy Tapscott, the sibling of former Melbourne midfielder Luke, who is currently playing for the Sorrento Sharks on the Mornington Peninsula, while doing his apprenticeship.
Bowling his off-spinners (for a want of a better term)Tapscott collected the crucial wicket of Morgan for a flamboyant and fluent 84 and the cleaned up the tail, finishing with a match winning 5/27 from his nine over allotment.
The celebrations continued well into the evening.
I received correspondence on the Monday that players were seen on Sunday, still in their ‘whites’ continuing their victory celebrations at the Pekina Hotel.