Steve Kerrigan,the ‘ideas man’ from ‘The Castle’, is having a big influence in his new role at Cricket Australia. Who else could have come up with the new Ryobi Cup format, with a month long tournament all played at suburban Sydney venues? Even better still, mostly on weekday’s between 9.30AM and 5.00PM. Prime time. Great to have it back on free-to-air TV though. Even if CA had to pay the Nine Network 800K to broadcast it on digital channel GEM. As someone who works outdoors during the day, this timeslot is horrible. Especially since my beloved Victoria Bushrangers have played 3 weekday games so far. So I record the games, follow them on Twitter during the day and watch the games on fast forward that night, seeing the key moments that need to be seen. Every year I would make it to a day/night Bushrangers game at the ‘G. This season it will Sheffield Shield cricket only. I’d better go while I still can. CA have denied the ABC the right to broadcast domestic cricket. No-one else will supply radio broadcasts of Sheffield Shield or Ryobi Cup cricket in 2013/14. I have listened to Sheffield Shield broadcasts on the radio ever since I can remember first listening to a radio. CA are doing a good job of killing off Shield and Ryobi cricket. The ABC have since announced full radio coverage of every A-League match this season. Even with their beloved BBL, CA have sold exclusive rights to FM broadcaster Triple M. Who apparently won’t be doing traditional cricket broadcasts, whatever that means. No good to anyone who lives outside a major capital city anyway.
Believe it or not the Ryobi Cup has been going for a week. Here’s what you’ve missed-
Game 1 is held at Bankstown the day after the AFL Grand Final. Apparently 100K people watch the broadcast on GEM, alleged to be a 50% rise on the Fox Sports figures from last season. Must be from all that extensive promotion. On a low, slow pitch that has been prepared to last a month, New South Wales struggle to make 9/178. Steve Smith is a standout with 70 off 99 balls. His batting has come along in leaps and bounds. This shouldn’t be enough against a strong Tasmanian team but it easily is, the Tigers all out for just 97. Moises Henriques outstanding with the pill, taking 4/17 off 8 overs.
Game 2, again at Bankstown, and Tasmania bat first against Victoria. The Tigers are all out for 197 despite a good start from Mark Cosgrove, who looks to have lost a few kilos. The slightly-less-overweight opener made 35 while the only other real contribution came from discarded Test opener Ed Cowan with 60 from 88 balls. Fawad Ahmed is punished early but recovers well to finish with 4 wickets. The Bushrangers had little worry in chasing down the Tigers total, winning by 5 wickets.
Game 3 saw South Australia bat first against Victoria at Bankstown and post 6/232. Most of their batsman got starts with debutant and former Ballarat boy Sam Miller top scoring with an unbeaten 47. Another successful run chase for the Bushrangers, winning by 6 wickets. Cameron White back to his long, straight hitting best with 86 off 89 balls. Leg-spinner Brenton McDonald (brother of Andrew) took 2/47 on his South Australian debut.
Game 4, again played on the same low, slow Bankstown pitch, sees New South Wales struggle to 9/171 against Victoria. David Warner makes a duck after missing a day of grade cricket to prepare for this game, while Ben Rohrer continues to thrive against a white ball and the lack of short bowling in this format. Cameron White leads the Bushrangers to victory again with an unbeaten 82. The removal of the burden of captaincy, which he has had since a young age, seems to be beneficial. He’s still not getting a bowl though. The captaincy has certainly given Matt Wade’s form a boost, the poor form of India and England that saw him lose his Test then One-Day spots appears to have turned around with his form so far in this tournament.
Game 1: New South Wales 9/178 (SPD Smith 70, B Laughlin 3/23) def. Tasmania 97 (EJM Cowan 25, MC Henriques 4/17)
Game 2: Tasmania 197 (EJM Cowan 60, MJ Cosgrove 35, Fawad Ahmed 4/38, JW Hastings 3/24) lost to Victoria 5/199 (RJ Quiney 49, PSP Handscomb 43*)
Game 3: South Australia 6/232 (SP Miller 47*, TP Ludeman 38) lost to Victoria 4/236 (CL White 86, RJ Quiney 65, BG McDonald 2/47)
Game 4: New South Wales 9/171 (BJ Rohrer 63*, SPD Smith 47) lost to Victoria 8/174 (CL White 82*, MS Wade 50, DE Bollinger 2/25)
This weeks games- Wednesday: South Australia v Tasmania at Bankstown, Friday: Queensland v Western Australia at Bankstown, Saturday: Tasmania v South Australia at Bankstown, Sunday: Queensland v Victoria at North Sydney, Sunday: Western Australia v New South Wales at Hurstville.