The top 5 wins of 2016-17: no.1

We reach the crescendo in our countdown of the Raine & Horne North Sydney Bears top five wins of 2016/17 with a chase for the ages.

Number 1: R6 – First grade vs Manly-Warringah

Season 2016/17 saw a number of fresh faces in first grade for the Bears. Under new captain, Justin Avendano, the team took a few rounds to settle before stringing together consecutive wins over Fairfield-Liverpool and Parramatta. They entered this round 6 clash high on confidence.Avendano

North Sydney Oval was postcard perfect and Manly captain Adam Crossthwaite had no hesitation in batting first. It was an inauspicious start for the Bears as opening bowler, Olly Knight, went down with a season-ending knee injury after only managing a brace of overs. The visitors boasted a powerful batting line-up and they soon took advantage, marching to 206 before opener Rawlings was finally removed by Rob Aitken. His partner, James Crossthwaite, continued the assault, eventually compiling 195 as Manly racked up a monster total of 4/443.

None of the North Sydney bowlers were spared as Manly scored at over four and a half an over. For newly arrived overseas seamer, Toby Lester, it was a tough welcome to grade cricket. One he learned quickly from as he enjoyed a fine season at the Bears. Veteran quick, David Guthrie, toiled manfully for 25 overs and the spinners worked hard, but the mountain was high for the North Sydney batsmen. 

Week two arrived and it was no great surprise that Manly declared on their overnight score. For the Bears to claim victory they would need to score their sixth highest total in 123 years of first grade cricket.

The innings did not get off to the start the home side was hoping for as opener, James Newton, fell in the first over to White. This brought captain Avendano to the crease. Justin was coming off centuries against Penrith and Parramatta and was not short on form. After an early reprieve he set to work, peppering all corners of North Sydney Oval with 21 fours and 8 sixes. When he was dismissed for 176, he and opener Anjan Oberai has blasted a 303 run partnership, the highest for any wicket for North Sydney and the sixth highest second wicket partnership in grade cricket history. 

With another 141 runs required, there was still work to be done and Oberai put his head down. He and Tom Jagot added a crucial 99 runs for the third wicket, with Jagot scoring a fluent 73. When Tom was dismissed, Anjan worked with the middle order to calmly tick off the 42 remaining runs, ultimately carrying his bat for a masterful 166 not out. Anjan came to North Sydney in 2016/17 to prove himself and he did that and then some with this, his maiden first grade century. It was a truly remarkable effort.Anjan

Such was the Bears dominance with the bat that they passed Manly’s mammoth total with almost 12 overs left in the day. It was the second highest chase in the history of Sydney grade cricket and these young Bears had showed the competition that this was a side to be feared. As the day ended, the cavernous change-rooms of North Sydney Oval echoed with the Bears’ picnic and the polyrhythms of satisfied stump-drumming.

The Top 5

5. 2s, Rd 15 vs Sutherland

4. 3s, Rd 13 vs UNSW

3. 5s, Rd 12 vs Blacktown

2. PGs, Rd 6 vs Fairfield-Liverpool

1. 1s, Rd 6 vs Manly-Warringah

Pictured: Top, Justin Avendano. Bottom, Anjan Oberai