Cricket final was an epic match


ABOVE: Tintenbar-East Ballina’s Phil Dalli is congratulated by captain Brett Crawford after reaching his century. Scroll down for more pictures.

One of the great contests in Far North Coast sporting history was played out last weekend when Tintenbar-East Ballina hosted Casino Cavaliers in the L J Hooker League final at Kingsford Smith South, Ballina.

Tintenbar-East Ballina batted the best they have all season, reaching 7-395 after being sent in to bat.

Standouts were opener Phil Dalli, who compiled a patient century, captain Brett Crawford, who scored a typically hard-hitting 76, and Mick Warburton, who figured in a 139-run opening stand with Dalli before falling for 63.

At 7-395 at stumps on Saturday, you would have thought that the ‘Bar, the minor premiers, were a good thing to take the major title.

But no one factored in the brilliance of Casino batsman Sam Irvine, who compiled a chanceless innings of 215 not out to steer the Cavs to a thrilling victory.

Irvine came to the wicket with Casino reeling at 2-3 after Lucas Wagland snared two early wickets.

He showed great composure to steady the innings, along with good support from his teammates.

The match ebbed and flowed late on Sunday afternoon as Tintenbar fought to stay in the match, and with Casino 7-260 at one stage, the final was set for a thrilling finish.

However, no one could have scripted the drama that was to occur.

bar.jpg With Casino 7-369 and overs running out, opening bowler Al Nowlan joined Irvine at the crease.

In fading light, what had already been a thrilling match took on extra drama when a scorching straight drive from Irvine deflected from the bowler’s hand and smashed into the forehead of Nowlan.

Nowlan was felled by the blow, but in a display of great courage, he had his gashed forehead bandaged and continued to bat.

He and Irvine added the necessary 27 runs, despite batting in near darkness.

What followed typified the highs and lows of sport: The Casino players and their supporters were ecstatic. The ‘Bar players and their fans were gutted.

It was one of those games where the cliches ‘sport was the winner’ and ‘no one deserved to lose’ were most apt.

It wasn’t so much that Tintenbar-East Ballina lost the game — they couldn’t have played any better. Instead, they were simply beaten by a classic innings by Irvine, one that will go down in history as the finest individual sporting performance, in any code, in Far North Coast sporting history.


(Kingsford Smith South, Ballina)


P Dalli, c Hancock b Sweeney 105

M Warburton, b Nowlan 63

B Crawford, c Irvine b Nowlan 76

K Hamilton, c Innes b Mison 41

K Shay, st Dietrich b Mison 39

T Porter, run out 1

L Shay, not out 36

D Elphick, run out 18

S Hogden, not out 0

Sundries (5b 6lb 4w 1nb) 16

TOTAL: 7-395

Fall: 139 254 254 336 339 341.

Bowling: W Sweeney 19-3-64-1, A Nowlan 24-4-81-2, M Mison 20-3-93-2, J Innes 7-0-26-0, M Hancock 7-1-30-0, W Koskela 18-3-90-0.


M McDowell, c Warburton b Wagland 2

T Bennett, c Hogden b Wagland 0

W Koskela, b Newstead 15

S Irvine, not out 215

S Dietrich, c Warburton b Wagland 32

T Summers, c Warburton b A Crawford 24

S Shephard, b Newstead 24

M Hancock, c Elphick b Wagland 28

W Sweeney, c Dalli b B Crawford 26

A Nowlan, not out 8

Sundries (5b 12lb 2w 3nb) 22

TOTAL 8-396

Fall: 0 3 46 124 190 260 323 369.

Bowling: B Crawford 19-4-67-1, L Wagland 17-4-70-4, L Shay 14-3-67-0, M Newstead 23.2-3-101-2, A Crawford 8-2-20-1, D Elphick 7-0-28-0, P Dalli 6-0-26-0.

Casino Cavaliers won.


A great catch by Duncan Elphick off the bowling of Lucas Wagland.


Sam Irvine during his innings of 215 not out.


So close … Duncan Elphick appeals unsuccessfully.


The stumps are broken by a Mark Newstead delivery and the Tintenbar players celebrate.

(To purchase high-resolution copies of the above pictures or to view some of 100 images taken by Ballina.Info at the match, email

One Response to “Cricket final was an epic match”

  1. John McMahon Says:

    That story and the Pix deserves front page in the annual report of FNC cricket

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