And so, this year’s Cricket Shepparton Twenty20 tournament is done and dusted, with Katandra cramming another bit of silverware into its already packed trophy cabinet.
The Eagles flew through the final and were seemingly always in the box seat as they had the runs on the board.
Or were they?
Is it fact or fiction that batting first is advantageous in the local Twenty20 competition?
This is exactly the sort of question a data-driven operation like Outside The Box seeks to answer, as we crunch the numbers through the history of the T20.
I do not want to market myself as a myth-destroyer, but country sport is full of people who mindlessly repeat concepts as if they are fact, when they are simply not based in truth.
People just say things as if they are so, and they are passed on and talked into existence somehow.
This is why we must analyse these statements within an inch of their lives, to ascertain if there is any degree of accuracy to them.
So pack your bags and book some accommodation because we’re taking another vacation to the world of advanced analytics.
Is it better to bat first in Cricket Shepparton T20?
Having runs on the board is good in theory, but in actuality it really means little to the outcome of a contest.
In 138 games of A-grade CS T20, 69 teams have won batting first, and 69 have won bowling first.
That is correct, whether or not you are more likely to win batting first is a literal coin toss.
There is no discernible trend, with fluctuations from year to year surrounding success batting first.
This season, for example, teams batting first went 6-6, but last year they had outstanding success with a 13-7 record.
But in the three preceding seasons, they went a poor 9-21, suggesting teams chasing were more likely to be in control of the contest.
This analysis should inform captains not to panic when they lose the toss, and stop them using this an excuse when their side is beaten, as it really just gets down to talent versus talent.
What is a par score in CS T20?
Of teams that have batted first and won, the average total posted since the tournament began in 2007 is 160.2 — making the eight-an-over mark some form of par total.
But the game is changing and maturing, with many more big totals in the early years of CS T20.
In the past four campaigns, the average score of side winning batting first is 146.8, and OTB believes 147 is the new par mark heading into next season’s tournament.
Was Central Park-St Brendan’s total against Shepparton United historically good?
It sure was — and perhaps you could even call it historically great.
The Tigers’ 5-240 was just the seventh time in 138 games a side has made more than 200, and the third-highest score of all time, missing top spot by just two runs.
Connor Holland’s 79 was the equal-12th-highest score of all-time, and the second-highest by a Tiger behind Tyrone Bradley’s 86 not out from 2010.
In 138 games, just four players have made centuries; Mitch Younger (102), Dean Letizia (107), Paul Newman (129 not out) and the great Chris Keady, who smashed a ridiculous 149 off 61 balls against Tatura in 2012, including 16 fours and 10 sixes.
Was Andrew Riordan’s grand final the best all-round performance ever?
In a word — yes.
Not only did the Katandra turner take the best bowling figures in the history of the competition (5-14), but he top-scored with 37 as well to single-handedly get the team the trophy.
While you can debate if a massive century like Keady’s means more to a side than 30-odd and a five-for, no-one has even lit it up as much on both sides of the ball.
The only performance coming close was that of Tyrone Bradley for CPSTB in 2015, where he made 33 to go with a 5-16.
But in a serious tie-breaker, Riordan made 79 not out in that game, showing he is the superior cricketer.
An expansive thought
How do we increase the importance of the Twenty20 competition, to a point where it’s taken at least as seriously as the one-day final?
OTB is by no means a traditionalist and embraces the evolution of sport — and it is clear to those with eyes T20 is the future of the game.
The most simple step that can be taken is making T20 games count towards the overall Haisman Shield ladder.
You can still run the T20 in its current format, but make the games be something more than just hit and giggle.
While midweek games remain an option, three teams could meet at the one ground on a few Saturdays each season, where each would play two games for the day.
This would add games of cricket to the season, but not days and have the skill level surrounding T20 rise rapidly.
But the ultimate move to make T20 truly matter is to make it part of the Haisman Shield grand final, in a best-of-three series that ticks all boxes.
What would a best-of-three Haisman Shield grand final series look like?
A two-day game to open the series is a must, to at least try and keep traditionalists happy.
The team that can prove itself in the longer form of the game and let its skill shine through still gets that opportunity, on what would be the first of a two-weekend series.
The following Friday night, the teams would square off in a T20, where the game one loser is playing for its season — making for a truly high-stakes game.
The game one victor still has a huge advantage as it has essentially a free swing at the trophy, still with the fallback plan of game three.
Then, if split at one win each, the teams would play a 45-over game on the Saturday for all the marbles.
While a big change, there is no fairer way to determine the best team for the entire Haisman season.
It also allows for increased celebrations for both teams post-grand final, with the season to conclude on either a Friday night or a Saturday.
The one-day and T20 final can still be played if you want, but incorporating T20 into the Haisman Shield season somehow is an absolute must.
Record of teams batting first by year
2019 — 6-6
2018 — 13-7
2017 — 4-9
2015 — 2-7
2014 — 3-5
2013 — 3-1
2012 — 6-5
2011 — 5-7
2010 — 5-7
2009 — 4-9
2008 — 9-3
2007 — 9-3
Average score of teams winning batting first
2019 — 154.7
2018 — 137.9
2017 — 169.3
2015 — 136
2014 — 148.3
2013 — 157
2012 — 171.5
2011 — 156
2010 — 189.2
2009 — 140
2008 — 165.6
2007 — 185.1
Highest CS T20 scores
5-242 — Karramomus v Tatura (2012)
6-241 — Numurkah v Old Students (2007)
5-240 — Central Park-St Brendan’s v Shepparton United (2019)
4-239 — Old Students v Karramomus (2017)
5-218 — Karramomus v Toolamba-Northerners (2010)
3-211 — Karramomus v Shepparton United (2010)
6-210 — Toolamba-Northerners v Katandra (2008)
Proposed Haisman Shield grand final series format
Game one — Two-day game on Saturday and Sunday
Game two — Twenty20 game on the following Friday night
Game three — One-day tie-breaker (if required)
●Next week on Outside The Box: What would a SuperCoach side comprised solely of Goulburn Valley products look like?