The Royal Australian Navy Cricket Team won its first inter-services 50-over tournament in six years when it won the Australian National Services Cricket Championships in Canberra on Friday, taking the Lindsay Hassett Trophy from the Army.
Following a defeat to the Navy team in the first game of the tournament, the Royal Australian Air Force team lifted to beat the Army by one wicket in a thrillingly close game on Thursday. The win meant that Navy only needed to avoid defeat against the Army to win the championship trophy.
On a damp morning, Navy won the toss and elected to bowl. Navy’s Player/Coach, Lieutenant Commander Guy Lewis said the team looked strong from the start.
“Once again, our guys fielded well and took early wickets to put the ‘red men’ under pressure on four wickets for only 33 runs,” LCDR Lewis said.
Only the Army Captain provided any real resistance, earning a gutsy 52 in the middle order while wickets fell around him. The pick of the bowlers was Warrant Officer Gary Fuss who took three wickets, while Lieutenant Rod Weeks, Able Seaman Kane Duncan and LCDR Guy Lewis took two wickets a piece to bowl Army out for 176 runs.
The run chase started well, with Navy getting 87 before losing their third wicket.
“The middle order did not have an opportunity to dig in and finish the job, thanks to some tight and disciplined bowling by Army,” LCDR Lewis said.
Opener, Leading Seaman Chris Cox scored a gritty 37, while Navy’s Team Captain, Able Seaman Al Kristensen, made a quick-fire 31.
It came down to the final pair to get Navy across the line, but a great close-in catch saw the game conclude in a tie when the final two batsmen had reached 176 runs. That was enough to see Navy win back the championship trophy after a six year drought.
“I am really proud of this team! What a great effort to win this year against two really strong sides,” said WO Gary Fuss, the President of Navy Cricket.
“This year’s approach concentrated on good preparation and strong team ethics underpinned by core Navy Values. It worked!” said Player/Coach, LCDR Guy Lewis.
The three services are battling in Canberra again this week, going head-to-head in the T20 format of the game. Navy skipper Able Seaman Al Kristensen said he hoped the Navy would be the first time to win both the 50-over and T20 titles.