IT WAS almost the most amazing run chase ever seen at North Dalton Park.
In the end, it became a remarkable anti-climax as the four-day Futures League match between NSW and ACT finished in a draw.
Needing 478 for victory, without the likes of Sheffield Shield stars Ed Cowan and Ben Rohrer, it was left to Nick Larkin to lead the Blues’ charge.
After being bowled for a duck in the first innings, Larkin led a one-man crusade, finishing with a stunning double ton, only to be bowled with little more than five overs to spare.
NSW needed 43 off 30 balls, Jay Lenton and Australian representative and recalled one-day international bowler Pat Cummins continuing the fight. Lenton blasted 16 before being caught in the deep, as NSW needed 22 off the final two overs, in fading light at the Wollongong venue, being prepared for February’s Sheffield Shield clash between the Blues and Tasmania.
Suddenly, when Chris Green nicked one, NSW only had two wickets left, still needing 14 off the final over.
Daniel Sams and Arjun Nair faced the prospect of outright loss or glory.
It became 11 runs off four deliveries and then nine from the last three, but NSW finished six runs short, more than a day after all hope seemed loss of victory.
The ACT set the tone on the first day, before making 419 in the first innings, defying Cummins’s pace, then NSW crashed to be all out 179. But showing the North Dalton Park pitch’s ability to stand up for four days, Larkin produced a double ton to remember.