Grand Final – U17/1 v Bankstown

Manly (A. Bouton 70, B. Foster 41, V. Akbarally 24) defeated Bankstown (R. Dhillon 5 for 25, W. Matheson 3 for 30) by 54 runs

Full scorecardMatch Details | NSW Youth Championships (

Unusually in this El Nino affected season, a hot, sunny, and humid day awaited us at Kelso Park North, Panania in our Grand Final match against the undefeated Bankstown team.
Captain Roop Dhillon won the toss and elected to bat. The plan was to put lots of runs on the board to put pressure on the powerful Bankstown side who had scored more runs than any other team in the regular season (averaging 228.5 per game!)
The going was tough, with the ball seaming off a dewy wicket. We were able to navigate our way through to the first drinks break without the loss of a wicket. However, our openers, Vehaan Akbarally and Bailey Foster did find it a struggle, though was able to see off the new ball and put on 43 valuable runs.
After the break, the batting remained defiant. Vehaan eventually went for 24 (68 balls) at the end of the 21st with Jake Hutchings coming in to continue the fight. Bailey was bowled for 41 runs (93 balls) in the 31st. The Bankstown Bulldog Pups were licking their lips at an easy 140-run chase.
Then came Andrew Boulton.
Andrew had been sitting on the sidelines because of injury (though always actively involved and assisting in coaching) for the regular season, only being able to make a return in the semi-final against Penrith.
His man-of-the-final impact was enormous.
Whilst successive batsmen rotated the strike [Jake Hutchings 9 (34), Roop Dhillon 19 (28), Hayden Macfarlane 0 (3)], Andrew turned the match on its head, taking on the bowling attack, with 70 off 59 balls; featuring 2 fours and 5 huge (85m+?) sixes, beating the boundary-riding fieldsmen.
Seth Thompson and Will Matheson then put on a run-a-ball 17 to close the innings at 205, the same score as the match-winning UNSW 4th Grade Team on the previous day. Surely that’s enough?
On strode the Bankstown openers after the luncheon break; full of bravado with music and chanting in the background.
They were true to their reputation. Our usually miserly opening bowlers were spanked all around the park. Despite trying shorter spells and rotating bowlers, by the 9th over, Bankstown was on track to win the game in under 38 overs.
Something needed to be done.
If Andrew’s innings was the turning point of the batting innings, then Roop Dhillon’s leggies was the turning point (no pun intended) of the bowling innings. In the 10th over, Roop brought himself on.
After warming up with allowing only a single in the 10th, his next 3 overs yielded 3 wickets for 4 runs, removing the 3 dangerous top-order batsmen: Forrester (c. Seth Thompson at first slip), Dixit who had been averaging 43.75 (c. Beau Kelley), and Singh who had been the danger man with a season high score 236 and averaging 97.5 (c. by ‘keeper, Billy Kwan). Roop’s first five overs:• • • • • 1• • • W • 2• • 1 W • •• • • • 1 W• • 2 • • •
Our quicks got their mojo back in their second spell. Bankstown were never able to get above 3.5 runs per over as the asking rate continued to climb. Beau Kelley was tight and finished with an economy of 2.5 in his 10 overs. Will Matheson picked up unassisted 3 wickets for 30 including knocking out another key batsman’s off stump. Paddy Day picked up a wicket for his 1 for 33. And Josh Lawson’s fingertips executed a run out to the non-striker after a return straight hit by the batsman. Roop’s second spell wasn’t too shabby either as he removed another of the danger men (Raina – caught and bowled). By the end of the match, Roop had finished with 5 for 25 – in a final! There really should have been 2 man-of-the-match awards…
So, by the 47th over, Bankstown were all out for 151, still 54 runs short in their chase. Manly had won the Grand Final!
Manly teams have won the Watson Shield Competition only 3 times previously (1965/66, 1970/71 joint winners with St George, 1977/78 joint winners with Parramatta). The Shield named after a former Manly Warringah Cricket Association’s President and Treasurer, Charles Samuel Watson, is returning home.

C.S. Watson Shield Champions 2021-2022Roopmehar Dhillon (Captain) Vehaan Akbarally Andrew Boulton Patrick Day Bailey Foster Jake Hutchings Beau Kelley Nathaniel Kwan Toby Laughton Joshua Lawson Hayden Macfarlane Will Matheson Angus McConnell Seth Thompson
Coach: David Gardiner Assistant Coach: Harjinder Dhillon Manager: Michael Kwan