Stuart Clark ended an illustrious career at Test, state and club levels with a man-of-the-match performance as Sydney University won back-to-back Sydney grade cricket titles with a first innings win over Randwick-Petersham at Bankstown Memorial Oval in a three-day final ending on Sunday.
While he made his mark as a fast bowler at state and Test levels, Clark earned all-rounder status with Sydney University in his final season, cracking his maiden century against Parramatta, a welcome 50 against Manly-Warringah in the qualifying final and 72 off 73 deliveries (11 boundaries) in the final.
He also collected 3-37 off 17 miserly overs as Sydney University skittled the Randy Petes for 185, after they had been set a massive first innings target of 407. Clark was awarded the Benaud Medal for his efforts.
The Students set up their Belvidere Cup win on Friday after winning the toss and batting. They went to stumps at 6-319 on the back of a 151-run first wicket partnership between opener Greg Mail (94) and Scott Henry (90).
With Clark unbeaten on 64 and Will Somerville on 16, the signs were ominous for Randwick-Petersham.
Day two was another rare day of sunshine for Sydney and while Clark only added another eight, Somerville cracked 39, James Crowley added an unbeaten 36 and No.10 Tim Ley posted 18 as the Students pushed past the 400 mark.
The two wily veterans, Clark and leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, strangled the Randy Petes when they took to the crease after lunch.
In a 10-over opening spell, Clark ripped through openers Nathan Price (0) and Anthony Sams (10) before collecting the prize wicket of Simon Katich, lbw for a first-ball duck.
Meanwhile, MacGill snared the wickets of the dangerous Coyte brothers, Adam for 42 and Scott for five, as Randwick-Petersham went to stumps at 6-150, with Usman Khawaja also back in the pavilion, run out for 24.
The Scholars wrapped up proceedings before lunch on day three, despite the efforts of Adam Semple (58).
Sydney University were also runners-up in the Twenty20 competition and semi-finalists and defending premiers in the Limited Overs Cup, both of which were won by Randwick-Petersham for 2011-12.
With 94 wickets in 24 Tests and 393 wickets in 113 first-class matches, Clark can retire a happy man with his first Belvidere Cup for Sydney University.
“My body’s hurting and I’ve had enough,” he told The Sun-Herald at stumps on Saturday. “I’ve enjoyed my time. I still enjoy playing but I know it’s time not to play any more.
“Sydney University have been good to me over the years. Winning the premiership would be a fitting way to end my career.” He lived that dream.
Also living the dream were members of Sydney University Second XI, who claimed the Sydney Second Grade title in a three-day encounter with Manly-Warringah at North Sydney Oval.
Having been sent in to bat, the Students made a paltry 116, despite the efforts of Michael Culkoff (39) and Adam Theobald (25). Aidan Baker’s 5-25 was not backed up by his batsmen, who could only muster 85 as Ben Joy (3-12) and Josh Toyer (3-30) went about their business.
The Students racked up 368 in their second visit to the crease, thanks to a marvellous 103 from Tom Kierath and 86 from Kevin Desai.
They then claimed the title by knocking over Manly-Warringah for 131, with Toyer (4-34) and Joy (3-42) asserting themselves once again.
Sydney University Fifth Grade were knocked over by an innings and 23 runs in their two-day grand final against Gordon at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Having won the toss and batted, the Students were all out for 109 in their first dig, with sundries top-scoring with 29.
Gordon replied with 224 and then dismissed Sydney University for 92 to claim the 2011-12 title.
Sutherland won the Third Grade title with a 124-run win over Sydney at Blacktown International Sportspark, and the Fourth Grade title with a five-wicket win over Manly-Warringah at Waverley Oval.
Sydney Grade Cricket – Grand Finals
First Grade: Sydney University 407 off 142.5 overs (Greg Mail 94 Scott Henry 90, Stuart Clark 72, Will Somerville 39, James Crowley 36, Mark Faraday 24; Jake Wilson 2-45, Adam Coyte 2-45, Burt Cockley 2-86) d Randwick-Petersham 185 off 75.4 overs (Adam Semple 58, Adam Coyte 42, Nathan Haurtiz 33, Usman Khawaja 24; Stuart Clark 3-37, Stuart MacGill 3-47, Tim Ley 2-18) on the first innings in a three-day match at Bankstown Memorial Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Sydney University. Umpires: Gerard Abood, Greg Davidson. Sydney University retain Belvidere Cup.
Second Grade: Sydney University 116 (Michael Culkoff 39, Adam Theobald 25; Aidan Baker 5-25, Matthew Alexander 2-12, Andrew Lindsay 2-21) and 368 (Tom Kierath 103, Kevin Desai 86, Ed Arnott 41 not out, Ben Larkin 34, Ben Joy 32, Liam Robertson 25; Nick McLachlan 4-110, Andrew Lindsay 3-40) d Manly-Warringah 85 (Nick McLachlan 19, Aidan Baker 18; Ben Joy 3-12, Josh Toyer 3-30, Liam Robertson 2-7) and 131 (Ryan Bonner 54, Aidan Baker 19; Josh Toyer 4-34, Ben Joy 3-42) outright in three-day match at North Sydney Oval. Toss: Manly-Warringah. Batted first: Sydney University. Umpires: Michael Kumutat, Anthony Wilds. Sydney University premiers for 2011-12.
Fifth Grade: Gordon 224 (Thomas Carruthers 43, Reagan Klemt, Tristan Cooper 31, David Monaghan 30, Tom Cockburn 26; Alex Mihalyka 4-32, Matt Skinner 3-12, Sam Mahabady 2-28) d Sydney University 109 (Sundries 29, Sam Mahabady 18; Thomas Bangs 5-21, Matt Todd 2-26, David Monaghan 2-28) and 92 (Sam Mahabady 38; David Monaghan 5-8, Thomas Bangs 2-23) outright in two-day match at Sydney University No.1 Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Sydney University. Umpires: David Taylor, Nick Wennerbom. Gordon premiers for 2011-12.