28 February, 2023
Rains washes away Atherton’s chance to win shield
NORTHS have claimed the Cricket Far North first grade major premiership in an anti-climactic finish after a torrential downpour in Cairns caused the grounds to be unsuitable for play.
Griffiths Park was booked out both Saturday and Sunday for the final between Norths and Atherton and according to local media, the following weekend was also booked out for the finals.
Atherton may have been sitting behind Norths in second by 22 points but they have emerged victorious in one of their previous engagements, it would have been anyone’s game if the two teams faced off over the weekend.
As Norths finished the season as minor premiers, they were handed the premiership shield on Sunday and claimed their first premiership since the 2018/19 season.
Atherton captain Tom Boorman said he was still under the impression that if the game was rained out, they would have another chance this weekend.
However as per the rules, there can only be one reserve day set aside for the finals, a rule which Boorman hopes will be reconsidered in the future.
“We were disappointed to find out that it was a mistake, apparently it was never in the rules that they could have two reserve dates,” he said.
“Going forward I think Cricket Far North need to look at more reserve dates."
“Even in the semi-final, you’ve got to feel for Mulgrave who didn’t get a chance to play in that either, they were in the same boat as us last week so we can’t whinge too much.
“Everything said, Norths were 22 points ahead of us so they probably deserved to win but you never know what could happen in a final.”
Despite the result Atherton had quite a successful season and Boorman hopes to carry through into next season and have another shot at the premiership.
Atherton ended up with 22 first graders over the course of their season with many young cricketers making their first-grade debuts.
“In my experience we have done well with a squad of about 13 players, so it is a pretty remarkable effort to finish second,” he said.
“I am really proud to lead that team to a successful grand final appearance even though we didn’t play.”
Atherton kept defying the odds throughout the season and winning games that well and truly looked out of reach.
Coach Shane Legge plans to remain on as coach and help steer Atherton to another grand final appearance and hopeful victory next season.
Boorman has welcomed the assistance of Legge which has taken a massive strain off his shoulders and allowed him to focus on playing cricket this season.
“I hope Legge stays on as coach, I think he has done a fantastic job and from a personal point of view he has taken a huge load off my shoulders which has definitely helped with my performance on the field,” he said.
“In the past as captain you’ve got to pick all the team, sort training out and do all sorts of stuff behind the scenes which can take your focus off just going out there and batting.”
The proof was in the pudding as Boorman ended the season as first grades best batsman with an average of 50.90, a total of 509 runs, three 50s and one century.
With the first grade competition now done and dusted there are just a few weeks remaining of cricket as the other grades finish up their regular competition games and get ready for their finals.