And so to the catchily named Sydney University Oval Number 1 (if ever there was a sports ground calling for a corporate sponsor, this is it) for the biggest sporting event of the year so far, the Big Clash cricket.
Initiative’s Rob Aoukar hits one off the square
Rivalries were put aside in the name of industry charity UnLtd as two teams, one made up of media agency staff and another of media owners, took to the field on a scorching afternoon in Sydney’s inner west, where the thermometer topped 38 degrees.
After last year’s rout by the media owners something more valuable than million dollar advertising deals – pride – was on the line. And the game came down to the very last ball.
When the media agencies, who elected to bat first, lost their first three wickets inside five overs for just nine runs they would have been forgiven for thinking the wheels would come off again. Things could have been worse but for the fielding team displaying hands like swiss cheese to a couple of very catchable balls early on.
With the majority of their 20 overs remaining they needed someone to occupy the crease. Step forward out-of-home agency Postercope’s MD Joe Copley, who managed a valiant 10 in a 40-minute innings from 24 balls.
Ironically his innings was bought to an end when he played on to a ball from Ooh Media’s NSW sales director Sean Rigby, who’ll be hoping that one of his few straight deliveries hasn’t cost his company a few million bucks.
In stark contrast Ikon’s Rob Martin Murphy strode confidently to the crease and channeled his best David Warner impression, splaying the ball around the park for 14 from nine balls, before missing a straight one from ARN’s sales director Matt Granger.
That bought to the crease the unlikely hero of the innings, media agency captain and CEO of PHD Mark Coad. With the team teetering on the brink of collapse at 59-7 off 12.3 overs Coady took on the Herculean task of bailing his side out.
And like all good leaders he led from the front, flaying some third-stream bowling around the park for an imperious and unbeaten 22 from 20 balls. However his wagon wheel attests to the fact he was not a big fan of running between the wickets, with a hastily run three leaving him slightly puffed in the steaming conditions.
Mark Coad’s scoring shots
Credit also to Bohemia’s CEO Brett Dawson who in 34 minutes in the middle managed to face just six balls and amass four runs, before succumbing to the bowling of JC Decaux’s sales director Oliver Newton.
Coad’s partnership also saw him at the crease with outgoing PHD Sydney MD Toby Hack, who bettered last year’s duck with two runs from seven balls before missing another rare straight one from Ben White.
Fittingly, Hack was followed to the crease by the man replacing him at PHD, Mark Jarrett – who got a second chance to bat because Carat’s Dan Sinfield had yet to show up. He managed 17 from 15 balls, and also got a taste of things to come after being summarily sent back to his crease by Coad while attempting a quick single.
The media agency team’s score card
He was out trying to flay the final ball of the innings, with the media owners posting 117 all out.
The Big Clash media agency team 2016
After a swift innings break and some amber refreshments for players and umpires – AdNews’ Rosie Baker and Mumbrella’s Alex Hayes – it was time for the media owners to try and reclaim their crown by overhauling what looked to be a competitive total.
The agency team had an ace in the hole in the shape of opening bowler Jamie Hollebone, who had the owner’s openers hopping around the crease in his first over. And in his second he struck twice, removing opener and Network Sport’s sales boss Gerard Doyle for five, and then Inception Digital’s Guy Burbidge for a duck after a controversial LBW decsion.
Replays later showed Burbidge was plumb:
And things could have been better for the agency side but for more dropped catches. In particular one from the late arrival Dan Sinfield, who fell over attempting to run in from the boundary to catch a skied shot:
When opener Newton, the victim of some sledging abou his choice of shots, was run out attempting a second, leaving the owner’s 19-3 off five overs, things looked dicey.
However captain Shae Bonney of MCN and Seven’s group sales manager Philip Booth steadied the ship, with a partnership of 38 in the next six overs before Bonney played all round a ball from Sinfield for a stolid 15 from 27 balls.
Booth was also asked to retire after reaching 25 from 26 deliveries, his wagon wheel showing he was a fan of cross-batted shots:
Philip Booth runs scored
That led to more wickets tumbling with Pandora’s sales boss Chris Freel departing for two with Sinfield finally pouching a catch from the bowling of captain Coad.
And the mystery-bag bowling of Bohemia’s Dawson also proved to be too tricky for the owners’ tail enders to read, slowing the run rate and frustrating the batsmen. In his second over frustrations boiled over with Matt Granger, who had feasted on some erratic bowling from Rob Aoukar the previous over, dancing down the wicket to try and put Dawson off, only to miss the ball and get stumped by Jamie Hollebone.
Three balls later Rigby did exactly the same thing, with the same results, leaving the owners needing a daunting 29 runs from 18 balls.
Two tight overs left them needing 19 needed off the last over.
And Coad threw the ball for that over to his soon-to-depart lieutenant Toby Hack, who admitted afterwards it was “squeaky bum time”.
But while the agencies were feeling comfortable they got jittery when late call-up James Mielmik of MCN defied his Manly 4th grade average of 5 to smash a big six back over the bowler’s head reducing the arrears to a more manageable 13 off five balls.
But the expectant crowd was silenced moments later when Mielmik was run out attempting to hurry back for a second run by Jarrett.
Hoever JC Decaux’s Max Eburne and Milward Brown’s Mark Griffiths managed to reduce it to need four from the final ball.
But with the shadows lengthening across the pitch, Hack managed to produce a yorker-length delivery restricting them to a single, and sending the agency team into raptures.
Meda Owners Big Clash score card
Man of the Match from the media agency side went to skipper Mark Coad for his masterful 22 runs and important wicket.
The tale of the tape: How the teams fared
Philip Booth picked up the award for the media owners.
Big Clash 2016 media owners team
Special mentions to sponsors MCN, JC Decaux and Pandora and to Perform Media for live match stats (see them in all their detailed glory stats fans here) and The Guardian for scoring.
Ultimately cricket was the real winner. Although, with $31,770 already raised, UnLtd did pretty well too.
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