Cricket North's 2019-20 season came to a premature close last week with minor premier Westbury likely to be awarded the title.
In the second of a series of reviews, The Examiner looks over the season that was for Launceston.
Season in a nutshell: Launceston mirrored its 2018-19 campaign by beating Riverside in the T20 Cup final, defeating South Launceston in round 16 and then losing to the Knights in the preliminary final.
Team highlight: Launceston dropped just one game in the T20s and were dominant in the final. The Lions also showed huge resolve in the last three weeks, compiling a combined 667 runs and 22 wickets to topple Riverside out of finals.
Team lowlight: The Lions looked in with a real sniff in the preliminary final, reducing South Launceston to 5-109 before tailenders Graham Donaldson, Jackson Young and Josh Freestone all made career-best knocks to stretch the total to 343.
With less than a day to chase the target proved a mountain and the Lions fell to a 183-run loss.
RELATED: Riverside 2019-20 season review
Individual performance: Launceston got its season back on track against Westbury in round 15 as captain Alistair Taylor compiled 172 in a 241-run stand with Cam Lynch.
The partnership was the competition's highest in more than a decade, while Taylor's knock was his best A-grade score and the highest since Jade Selby's 175 not out in 2013-14.
Lynch's 104 marked his first century at any level in Cricket North.
What worked: Rowan Smith's year off looked set to leave a huge hole at the top of the order. Lynch and rising keeper Sam Elliston-Buckley were given first crack at opening and looked an excellent combination before the former was snapped up by the Greater Northern Raiders. The duo appear a promising pairing moving forward.
What didn't work: The pre-Christmas period hurt the Lions badly as a morale-boosting away win at Burnie was followed by four one-day losses leading into the T20s.
Best recruit: The Lions kept things reasonably similar in pre-season with Ross Tulich one of few recruits who played A-grade. Captain-coach Taylor's permanent return from the Raiders mid-season had the biggest impact on the Lions' fortunes.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Surprise packet: Ethan Conway blossomed from a fringe A-grade player to a genuine match-winner in 2019-20. The 19-year-old finished the season with four 50s and a maiden A-grade ton that won him a Raiders call-up.
MVP: A close-run affair with Conway and Taylor both averaging 45-plus. Paceman Tom Gray won club best and fairest following a season where he collected 24 wickets in 12 games and came within 13 runs of a maiden A-grade century.
Captain says: For us it was a bit of a below-par season for where we wanted to go and how we wanted to play. I don't think we played our best cricket consistently enough and it probably shows in our results and the way we got knocked out in the finals.
It was great for the boys to have some sort of success [in the T20s], but we really want to get back into the one-day finals and try and play off in a grand final in the two-day stuff.
While it's nice getting a bit of silverware, the club's got bigger and better ambitions than the T20 stuff - we want to be involved with the big stuff.
Ethan Conway scored close to 500 runs for the year - he hadn't played much A-grade cricket before so to go out and dominate some bowling attacks was an unreal effort for him.
Jakeb Morris is another one as well, he's one of the hardest trainers at the club and he started to get some rewards towards the end of the year.
James Curran as well impressed us all, we all know he's a really good player but he started to get some reward with his bowling this year and it was unfortunate he couldn't play the last two or three games.
We only won five or six games of cricket this year, so we know we need to get a lot better and win around 10 or so games to give ourselves a chance of getting home finals and things like that.
Grand final tip:
I think Westbury would have probably got up, I just think they've got really strong depth.
Once you put those Raiders boys back in - Jono Chapman, Jake Williams and Oli Wood - it just strengthens them up so much.
Then you've got Dane [Anderson] who had a great year, Matthew Battle had a great year, a lot of those blokes had great years and they still finished on top without [those three].
I reckon it would have been a great game but [Westbury] have 11 really good cricketers in that team and I think that would have got them over the line.
TAYLOR'S CRICKET NORTH XII
- Matthew Battle
- Tom Garwood
- Sean Harris
- Dane Anderson
- Nathan Philip
- Ethan Conway
- Dan Murfet
- Jono Chapman
- Kieren Hume
- Jackson Young
- James Curran
- Nick Spencer