LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: South Services rookie captain Dylan Cleaver made an impact with both bat and ball during the Clarence River Cricket Association GDSC Premier League competition.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: South Services rookie captain Dylan Cleaver made an impact with both bat and ball during the Clarence River Cricket Association GDSC Premier League competition.

South Services relish drought-breaking premiership

CRCA CRICKET: Despite the coronavirus pandemic denying them an opportunity to play in the CRCA GDSC Premier League grand final, South Services captain Dylan Cleaver said he is proud of the team’s efforts which saw them named as 2019/20 premiers.

The premiership is South Services’ first title since the 1997-98 season, and the drought-breaking captain said the result was bittersweet.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to win, it would have been good to play in the grand final but unfortunately we don’t have much control over that,” he said.

“I’m definitely very happy with the boys and the way we performed.

“We came out strong and played really well especially earlier in the season.

“We probably weren’t labelled as much of a threat earlier in the season, so to come out and win in the first semi-final to make it in to the grand final was really good and showed that we where there to play, to mix it with the other teams.”

After the first round of semi-finals played on March 14 and 15, Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW made the strong recommendation to immediately stop playing cricket at all levels across the state for the remainder of the season based on medical advice.

In a top of the table clash to kick off the semi-finals, South Services overwhelmed the minor premiers Tucabia-Copmanhurst GI Hotel to win first innings by 52 to progress through to the grand final.

Rookie captain Cleaver was calm under pressure with the bat to top score with 48 off 122 balls while with the ball Adrian Boyd ripped through his former club with 7 for 27 off 20.3 overs in his return season to the GDSC Premier League after a long stint at Lower Clarence.

However, after the coronavirus pandemic forced a crisis meeting of the CRCA and the season was abandoned, the association’s president Tim Kinnane said as group they decided the premierships would be awarded to the first team into the grand final.

“We didn’t beat (Tucabia-Copmanhurst) GI (Hotel) all year, they were a really good side so to beat them in that semi-final was a big achievement and in the end that was what won us the premiership,” Cleaver said.

“To be the first into the grand final is always a bonus, and the same rules would have applied if the rest of the season had been washed out so it was an advantage to get that win and the boys played really well to beat them.”

With South Services boasting a young side full of talent, lead from the front by their captain, Cleaver said he hoped this could be the start of something positive for the club.

“Making it to the grand final and winning is a big goal for the side next season,” he said.

“It’s our goal to keep getting better, come out strong to start next season and hopefully be there again.

“I definitely feel this season we had one of the better sides we’ve had in while, and we just need to keep rebuilding and work on our game.

“It would be great to be a benchmark in the GDSC Premier League and it’s been great to lead the boys and I’m looking forward to continuing that.”



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