Sydney University captain Nick Larkin delivered a timely reminder to the NSW Blues selectors yesterday, smashing his second double century of the season in the Futures League match against ACT in Wollongong.
After trailing by 240 on the first innings, NSW was set the implausible target of 480 on the final day, but Larkin's innings made victory a distinct possibility. He began by sharing an opening stand of 76 with Hawkesbury's Josh Clarke, which ended when University's Tom Rogers broke through Clarke's defences. By lunch, NSW had reached one for 95, with Larkin 55, and another 180 runs were added in the second session. At tea, Larkin was 134, and NSW still required 205 to win, with eight wickets in hand. Larkin and the experienced Ben Rohrer attacked the target aggressively, and Larkin reached his double century with six overs remaining in the day and 47 runs still required. Tom Rogers returned to bowl Larkin for 210, and when the final over began, NSW needed 14 runs with two wickets remaining. Arjun Nair and Daniel Sams managed only eight runs from the last six balls, and the match ended in that strangest of conditions, a thrilling draw.
Larkin, last year's player of the tournament in the Futures League, proved again that he's equipped to play at higher levels. But until his epic performance on the last day, he'd been overshadowed in the match by his club team-mate Tom Rogers, who followed a furious innings of 82 (with ten fours and three sixes) with an incisive opening spell in the NSW first innings, in which he bowled Larkin first ball and also dismissed Ed Cowan.