Evergreen Sean Harris has stood and delivered the finest innings of his cricket career that may have turned the self-belief of the Greater Northern Raiders forever.
The South Launceston dasher masterminded the Raiders’ third victory in their Cricket Tasmania Premier League debut season over North Hobart on Saturday.
Harris in his own words to chasing 291 to win “just kept swinging pretty hard”, but coach Andrew Gower is convinced he witnessed one of the best innings from a batsman North of the state.
“I said to Dickie [Gower] before I’d fill in if they needed someone,” Harris said.
“I supposed I didn’t really think I was ready or had the ability to play at this level.”
The opener belted 173 off 146 balls to win with 48 balls to spare in the 50-over clash at the TCA Ground.
Harris had been dropped at 49 on the boundary line and should have been run out on his way to the century.
But in just his second top-grade match in the state, the 35-year-old keep swatting away an attack that included Launceston Sheffield Shield rookie Alex Pyecroft towards 22 fours and six sixes.
The second oldest player behind Mowbray coach John LeFevre to appear for the Raiders was in disbelief.
“I still can’t believe it – I am in a bit of shock,” Harris said.
Harris put on a 157-run second wicket stand with Singaporean Anish Paraam (57 in 61 balls) to record the club’s biggest partnership.
Vice-captain Alistair Taylor chimed in with 32 from 34 balls to see the Raiders to all but 20 runs shy of the mark in the five-wicket win.
Harris felt the new club’s greatest showing to date, beating the reigning T20 champions, should boost the confidence of his teammates.
“There’s guys with a whole lot more talent than me in the side,” Harris said.
“All it is, grabbing onto that talent, have that confidence and the wins will come.
“There’s no doubt some of the guys we’re playing against are at a different level and when they bowl well it’s going to be really difficult.”
Gower said Harris’s words were backed up by actions, coming with a wealth of Cricket North experience.
“There was some extraordinary clean hitting,” Gower said of Harris.
“It was one of the best innings I have ever seen.”
But just hours earlier, Corey Murfett was the one to impress for North Hobart and set a benchmark for the visitors to follow.
The Demons No.3 scored an impressive 134 off 117 deliveries that included 19 fours and three sixes on a hard day for the toiling bowlers.
Gower said his batters walked off the ground and felt the chase on a flat deck was not beyond them.
“So I am just thrilled for the boys – we have put in a lot of hard work,” he said.
“Like I said during the week, I felt we were close to getting a scalp and today it all fell into place.”