29-Feb-2020 In 2003 the greatest run chase in the history of Premier Cricket was achieved by the Eastern Suburbs (Waverley) Cricket Club and became the launch pad for the club's most successful first grade season.

The game took place at Waverley Oval on 11 and 18 October against the powerful Western Suburbs Cricket Club led by future Australian test captain, Michael Clarke. Both sides were brimming with talent. The Easts team included three players who were to go on to represent their country with distinction. James Marshall for New Zealand, Brad Haddin for Australia and a 16 year old tyro, David Warner. There were also three other players with first class experience. To add to the international flavour the flamboyant "crooked finger of doom" Billy Bowden, test umpire, officiated.

Easts came into the game with a win and a loss and were desperate to get their season on track. On an overcast, very cold day and with a gale coming in from the south, hopefully offering some assistance to the bowlers, Easts captain Mark Patterson won the toss and made the bold decision to send Wests in.

Things however didn't quite go to plan. The West's opener, the hard hitting Daniel Smith, who was to later hold the highest ever one day score for NSW until being overhauled by David Warner, and Gavan Twining got off to a flyer and were 0/110 at lunch. Smith was out first ball after lunch which bought Michael Clarke to the wicket and more pain for Easts. Clarke, in a masterclass, proceeded to punish the East's bowlers with a memorable century scored off 95 balls and which included 16 fours and 3 sixes.

At 2/254 Patterson must have rued his decision to send Wests in as the runs were piled on. At tea Wests were 2/276 but worse was to come. The tiring Easts bowlers were hammered after tea and at stumps Wests had reached 7/466 at which they declared. Surely a winning score.

Some hope however Easts might get the runs came the next day in a one day fixture at Waverley Oval against North Sydney which resulted in a rare tie, Easts 5/274 and North Sydney being dismissed for 274 just falling short. The stage was set.

When play resumed against Wests the next Saturday on a clear day, flat wicket and fast outfield, the East's response was encouraging reaching 0/139 at lunch. Despite losing Marshall just after lunch Easts batted steadily to be 2/248 at tea with a century from opener Andrew Jeffrey, a quick fire 94 from Marshall and 69 from Patterson. However just after tea the batting faltered and Easts were looking down the barrel at 6/376 before Brad Haddin scored one of the great Waverley Oval centuries. Incidentally during the run chase Dave Warner gave a glimpse of what was to come scoring 14 with just three scoring shots including a huge six of the first ball he faced from Michael Clarke. But it was Haddin's day.

Haddin, batting at three, had retired hurt and returned to the crease when Easts were 6/360. In an innings for the ages he smashed 111 n.o. with two sixes and 16 fours of just 91 balls and Easts passed the target 7 down with 45 minutes to spare. It was a demolition job on the West's attack.

After this monumental win East's season was back on track and the first grade side went on to secure the "triple crown". The Belvedere Cup as the first grade premiers, the Limited Overs Cup and State Challenge. The record October run chase remains to this day the biggest run chase by any club in the 125 year history of Sydney Premier Cricket.

With numerous names from this game being in the 50 Contenders for the ESCC/WDCC Team of 125 Years, including Mark Patterson, Brad Haddin and David Warner, click the link below to get your tickets to the 125th Anniversary event and find out whether or not any of the aforementioned are in the final team.


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