In 1994 the Northern Territory towns of Alice Springs and Tennant Creek contested a cricket match and the Imparja Cup was born.
Twenty years on and the two teams met once more in Alice Springs on this the 20th anniversary of the competition.
Shane Franey and Ross Williams, the captains of those original sides, now watch over a newer generation that represent the heritage of the competition and the culture of the towns.
Their abilities may have dulled over the course of two decades but not their passion for the competition they created and nurtured, which now boasts 38 teams from across the country.
Even before the match began, there was a sense that the occasion was to be more important than the score. And, just as they did 20 years ago, Franey’s Alice Springs defeated Tennant Creek. On this occasion by 15 runs.
Tasmania took on the Northern Territory in the second of the day’s heritage games. As the first state to bring a representative side to the Imparja Cup in 2001 to play NT, this was a celebration of the tournament’s evolution into an interstate competition.
NT won the toss, sending Tassie into bat. Thanks to some healthy knocks from Callan Morse (51) and tournament veteran Bernie Lamont (47) – the highest Imparja Cup scorer of all-time - Tassie piled on a healthy 4-120 in their 20 overs. In reply the NT fought hard, running strongly between the wickets, but eventually were overcome by Tassie, being dismissed for 105 in 18 overs.
In amongst the heritage celebrations, the Women’s State and Territory teams joined their male colleagues on the cricket grounds of Alice Springs today.
New South Wales and Western Australia opened proceedings at Larapinta Oval. NSW dominated with the ball, with Ashley Gardener taking 3 for 1 and Julie Muir taking 4 for 4, to dismiss WA for 22. NSW easily reached the target without losing a wicket, making 26 in just 2.1 overs.
Meanwhile over at Albrecht Oval, the Invitational XI took on the Northern Territory. Batting first, the Invitational XI were dismissed for 64, as the Territory’s Cam Gray wreaked havoc with the ball, taking 2 for 8. In reply NT reached 6-65 in 18 overs.
The runs began to flow more freely as the second round of matches rolled around in the afternoon. NSW took on NT at Larapinta Oval and, after winning the toss, NSW piled on a 5-140.
The NT were gallant in reply, falling just short with 5-118. Cam Gray was again sensational – this time with the bat – notching up 41.
Back over at Albrecht the Invitational XI rebounded from their sluggish start, piling on a massive 1-179 in their 20 overs.
Anita Silva and Sally Moylan were both outstanding in the middle, making 66 and 53 not out, respectively. WA unfortunately had no answers and were comfortably dismissed for 32.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 21 February, 2013 8:27AM AEST