Rd 6, day 1: Bears in strong positions vs. UNSW

The Bears are in good positions in all grades after some strong bowling performances and ruthless batting efforts during the first day of their clash with UNSW. In 1st grade, a strong team bowling performance restricted UNSW to 9/262 on a good batting wicket, lead by 3 wickets to Ryan van Kemenade. A pair of 6-wicket hauls in 2nd and 3rd grade held UNSW to 239 and 251 respectively, with Harjit Singh and Travis McKenna amongst the wickets. Both 4th and 5th grade batted first, with 77 to Darryl Hands and 77* to Ammar Shirazi helping 4th grade to 8/312, while a patient maiden hundred to James Leary took the Bears to 7/208 on a slow wicket in 5th grade.

1st Grade (UNSW 9/262 vs. North Sydney)

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An early wicket to the returning Ryan van Kemenade had the Bees on the back foot early, after they won the toss and asked the Bears to bowl. Wickets fell regularly throughout the day, with van Kemenade in particular taking advantage of some reverse swing to remove former NSW and Tasmanian representative David Dawson, followed by the experienced Nick Walker. The score moved from 4/114 to 7/241 and finished at 9/262. On a good batting wicket, the Bears will feel confident of chasing the runs as long as they can wrap up the final UNSW wicket quickly next weekend.

Ryan van Kemenade finished wtih 3/73 off his 19 overs, while the remaining 6 wickets to fall were shared between Olly Knight (2/33 off 19), Pat Lindsay (2/47 off 15) and Niranjan Naguleswaran (2/67 off 27). Speaking after the game, paceman Olly Knight was very happy with the job the Bears did, commenting that it was "by far the best we’ve bowled as a unit this year and is a sign for things to come." In particular, Olly praised the consistency of the Bears attack, in that "we persisted with challenging lines that built pressure and made scoring runs difficult. All bowlers bowled in partnerships to restrict the run rate to under 3 an over."

2nd Grade (North Sydney 1/41 vs. UNSW 239)

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl, the UNSW batsmen looked reasonably confident at the crease, reaching 100 without losing a wicket. Yet after Adam Wigglesworth struck for his first second grade wicket and James Aitken struck not long after, it was up to Harjit Singh to rip the heart out of the middle order. On his way to 6/52, Harjit bowled 10 maidens in 23 overs, as the Bees fell from 2/166 to 7/195. A run-out and a wicket to Will Graham wrapped up the tail, with UNSW finished for 239.

The Bears had 14 overs to face before stumps, and unfortunately lost Dhruva Thorat before stumps. Nonetheless, they pressed on confidently and finished on 1/41, with only 199 runs required for victory next week. The Bears will be confident of chasing the runs next week.

3rd Grade (UNSW 251 vs. North Sydney 0/24)

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In 3rd grade, the situation mirrored the top two with the Bears losing the toss and being asked to field. The UNSW skipper went hard early on, with the score racing to 49 very quickly before Ali Shaikh struck to remove the other opener. The skipper soon followed for a quickfire 41, and the Bears applied the squeeze. The Bees fell from 0/49 to 5/90 with three wickets to Travis McKenna and two to Ali Shaikh. The UNSW number 6 hit an unorthodox half-century, and at 5/150 at tea with the wicket flattening out the Bears were looking at chasing a large total.

However an ill-advised reverse sweep had the danger man caught at point not long after tea, after which the Bears wrestled back control. A short partnership was broken by the spin of Abdullah Shaikh, with the tail then wrapped up and UNSW all out for 251. Travis McKenna finished with 6/63 off his 22 overs, while Ali Shaikh took 2/52 off his 15. A potentially tricky 11 overs before stumps was navigated calmly by Abdullah Shaikh and Anmol, with the chase well-poised for the Bears next week.

4th Grade (North Sydney 8/312 vs. UNSW)

Down at Tunks, 4th grade bucked the trend by winning the toss and batting first on a good batting wicket. A strong start followed, with the bears 1/45 and 2/87 with Daryll Hands looking in good touch. A short wobble followed with the score 3/89 and then 4/123, but Darryl Hands (77) and Rajith Premachandra (56) combined to get the Bears to 6/199 when they were both dismissed. Green Shield skipper Ammar Shirazi then combined with brother Muneeb Shirazi (16) and Gurnoor Singh (13) to power the Bears towards a strong total, finishing the day on 77* as the Bears crossed the 300 mark to finish on 8/312. With an in-form bowling lineup, the Bears will be licking their lips at the prospect of knocking up back to back wins at Tunks.

5th Grade (UNSW vs. North Sydney 7/209)

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5th grade skipper Izaak Merlehan continued to buck the trend and won the toss and batted first at David Phillips North. After losing young Finn Nixon-Tomko early, the Bears consolidated with Charlie Rose and Dasith Dangalle, but a double strike rocked the Bears and left them at 3/46. Green Shield batsman Charlie Rose continued positively and was probably unlucky to be judged LBW on 43 with the score then 4/96. Wicketkeeper James Leary continued to bat positively, and a series of 30 run partnerships took the score to 7/169. James continued to run very well between the wickets and control the game, reaching his century not long before stumps. The Bears finished 7/209 on a slow-ish wicket, and will be confident of adding some runs to their total and then defending next week.