Match tie fitting end to series
IF THERE was ever a time you can say "cricket was the winner today", then it was after Sunday's inaugural Harmony Cricket Series final at Mark Marsh Oval.
The high quality T20 match between Central Districts and Calamvale Punjab ended in a nail-biting last ball tie after the two combatants scored 170 runs apiece.
The incredible result took the idea of promoting cultural harmony through cricket, the central philosophy of the series, to a whole new level.
In the wash-up of the series, the real winner may be the Ipswich cricket competition with more than a few of the visiting Indians showing enough to earn an invitation to the local grade ranks.
Centrals opener Sunny Manghera, one of two Indians already playing grade cricket at the club, starred with the bat scoring a quick-fire 60.
Manghera said many of the visiting players could perform at Ipswich grade level in coming years.
"For many of the Indian players, time is their biggest problem," he said.
"Most are studying and working so it is hard for them to play and train but they definitely have the talent.
"Some are already playing serious cricket but for many it's a social game on Sundays."
Despite the overcast and windy conditions, players from both teams showed skills beyond that of a regular Sunday afternoon social fixture.
Ipswich councillor Andrew Antonelli, who pulled on the whites for the six-week series, said their experience had been overwhelmingly positive for all who took part.
"It's great for the Indian players but it's equally good for the Centrals club," he said.
"These teams are a mixture of players from different grades who normally wouldn't get a chance to play together so it's been great for club spirit."
One of the best outcomes of the series has been the development of a Centrals tour to India in December, something Antonelli said he wished he could be part of.
"I'd love to be going over but unfortunately the boss wouldn't let me and I don't mean Paul (Pisasale)," he quipped.
So with the inaugural 12-team series wrapped up and no team doing enough to have their name engraved on the Harmony Cricket Shield, it seems teams will have to come back again next year to make amends.