The 2019 UniSport Nationals T20 Cricket championships is being held in Adelaide, South Australia from 25-28 November, in association with Adelaide University Sport and the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA).
Since the transformation of the event to the T20 format in 2007, this event has seen The University of Sydney (USYD) and The University of New South Wales (UNSW) be the dominant forces over the last 12 years, making up half of the 24 places available in the gold medal match and claiming seven titles between them.
However, both USYD and UNSW failed to win their semi-finals in last year’s rain-affected event, with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) defeating UNSW in a 10-over semifinal, before ultimately being crowned champions after defeating Macquarie University (MQU) in the gold medal match, having made 7/110 in their available 15 overs and bowling out MQU for 68.
Having made the semi finals as a minimum in each of their last eight appearances, including their two championship titles in 2014 & 2018, UTS should once again prove to be a tough unit to come up against. With Captain Nic Taylor and Nick Amos having scored 441 runs between them last year across a combined 10 innings, with Amos scoring the competition’s only century – an even 100 against James Cook University (JCU) – there is no doubt UTS will have the firepower in their top order to put instant pressure on their opponents.
Andrew Hazard from USYD was arguably the pick of the bowlers from last year, having taken eight wickets in four matches, and conceding only 61 runs from 13 overs (4.69 per over), including 4/9 against Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE). With USYD only failing to collect a medal on one of their eleven appearances, they will be looking to Hazard for wickets again, so they can bounce back and win a record fifth title.
This is only the second time the event has been hosted in Adelaide since moving to the T20 format, with the previous occasion being in 2015. With two local universities participating, University of South Australia, and the hosts The University of Adelaide, they will be looking to utilise their knowledge of local conditions and lift the trophy in their home state.
To add extra intrigue to the championships, the Overall Champion University title for 2019 is also on the line. USYD are currently sitting one pennant ahead of The University of Queensland (UQ) in the rankings, but it could all come down to a countback. UQ can potentially claim consecutive Overall Champion University titles, but only if they win this year’s championships and USYD fail to claim a medal. Any podium placing for USYD will see them crowned Overall University Champion, regardless of UQ’s final position.
So, who will win this year? Will UTS go back to back and win their third title in six years? Will UNSW equal USYD’s record of four titles? Will USYD be crowned Overall University Champion by claiming a medal of any colour, or will UQ retain their overall champions title in dramatic fashion? Only time will tell whose name will be put in front of the engravers on Thursday afternoon.
Stay tuned with all the action via the UniSport social media channels and with the live radio broadcast, thanks to OzSports Radio.
Good luck to all competing teams!