Round 13 Week 1 Wrap vs Sutherland

1st Grade UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Glenn McGrath Oval

UTS North Sydney 228 (JN James 54, RD Alexander 49, G Lavelle 39) v Sutherland (W Graham 1/2)

UTS North Sydney 1st Grade squad travelled to Caringbah to take on the 15th placed Sutherland in an important clash at Glenn McGrath Oval.

The previous week’s thunderstorms and heavy rainfall, followed by hot and humid conditions, provided encouragement for the Sutherland captain to send us in after he had won the toss. Having said that, the pitch did not appear to have too many demons and played quite well throughout the day.

Some team changes saw a quick reshuffle of the batting order and wicket keeper George Lavelle was elevated to partner Jack James at the top of the order. George has been in terrific recent form and with a sound technique was the perfect replacement. Lavelle and James batted, patiently facing plenty of balls from Tom Pinson (ACT/NSW Country 2nd XI) and Dan Fallins (NSW Blues) to see the Bears through to lunch at 0/61. Lavelle was caught in the gully for 39 shortly after lunch with the score at 86. Captain, Justin Avendano, was next man in and he batted positively, hitting three fours in a brief stay at the crease before being caught for 15. At the other end, Jack reached fifty for the fourth time this season and looked set for a big score. However, the wicket of Avendano triggered a collapse with the Bears losing 4 for 7 from 22 balls. The dismissals were a combination of consistent bowling and poor shot selection. 

With the Bears slumping to 5/113, this brought debutant Ray Alexander to the crease, who had made a quick dash from North Sydney to replace Bryant. Ray has been in superb touch with the bat and deserves his promotion to the top grade. After being dropped on nought, Alexander put together handy partnerships with Robbie Aitken (18) and Olly Knight (22) to move the score to 7/183. Knight got some luck when dropped on 5, but was adjudged LBW shortly thereafter. With Knight in the sheds, the two Alexanders spent some time in the middle, taking the team through to the final drinks break. Shortly after Matt was dismissed, the new ball was taken, and Ray continued the fightback with number 10, James Campbell (13), for a 37-run partnership. Things were going really well as the pair pushed the score past 200 to 228. However, with the score at 228 both players were dismissed with Alexander falling one run shy of a maiden 1st Grade fifty.

The Bears then had 6 overs at the Sutherland openers prior to the close of play. The boys were upbeat about their chances and, after several close appeals were turned down, Will Graham claimed an LBW to put the Bears back in the hunt off the final ball of the day. Sutherland are 1/9 and require a further 220 in 96 overs next week. The Bears need 10 wickets and, with the quality of the bowling attack, have the ability to get the job done.

2nd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Bon Andrews Oval

Sutherland 119 (H May 6/59, J Aiken 2/45)  v  UTS North Sydney 266 (B Hardy 41, J Vilensky 35, M Papworth 35, N Naguleswaran 35, J Hardy 32, G Aitken 30)

As seen through the eyes of Sam Alexander

I wake, the sun is shining, I think to myself…today’s the day. I roll out of bed; refreshed, rejuvenised, ready. It’s at this moment I realise today, I’m hitting two bombs.

I make my way to the game, but I’m not in the car, I’m at the game. I see it, GA approaches me, “Sam, today you hit two bombs.” A tear streaks down my cheek as I mutter to myself “Yes, yes GA I do.”

I arrive, I can smell the sweet essence of freshly cut grass and the wind, it strokes me in a familiar way. I’m home.

The banter’s fresh as I enter the change room, I have my seat in the corner, headphones on, I’m happy.

We make our way to the warm-up and the standard question “So, who got one?” is raised. It cuts me to the core. I just want to raise my hand but there’s too much at stake.

It’s touch time. The place where my mind leaves my body and I let my Benji Marshall-like skills do the talking. If there’s one thing I love more than cricket and banter, it’s the brutality of touch footy.

I see GA, he sees me, he nods. It’s on. I take the unders line, GA throws the dummy and I’m back on the inside. I’m faced with one last opponent, Jordan Vilensky. The shimmy step will have to be in top form, otherwise I’m a dead man. I head-fake, Vilensky falls, and we’re up in arms. There’s no stopping Alexander today.

I say to GA as he heads out with trusty coin in hand, “I’ll take this one.” He smiles, and hands me the coin. He whispers in my ear “Go get em’”.

The opposing captain extends his arm, but I don’t meet it. It’s a battle of nerve, and I’ve taken out round 1. As soon as the coin was in the air, I knew fate was on my side. I walk away, my back to the captain and the umpy. The coin lands. I say over my shoulder “We’ll bowl.” The shades are on my face and we’re ready.

I give the signal to the boys… it’s go time. Mac Jenkins, a wonderful young man, always there to bowl with comes to me. “You want to bowl a few Samos?” I reply, “I don’t bowl the ball, the ball bowls me.” That’ll get him.

I forego the bowling prep, as mentioned previously, today’s the day I hit two bombs.

Instead I take thrown downs. I mentally prepare myself for the inevitable innings of a lifetime – although we’re bowling, I know I’ll be batting at some point today.

I’m watching the opposition’s batsman hitting balls to get their ‘eye-in’, I sit in silence. My eye’s always in.

It’s common courtesy to let the captain enter the field first, but today’s my day. I jump out of the barracks and we’re off, sorry GA – not today chief.

Harrison May 6 fa

I hand the ball to Harrison ‘Big Horse’ May (pictured). I could sense his nerves. He’s a big game player – he just doesn’t know it yet. I rub his shoulders, whisper in his ear “You know what to do, Big Horse.” – His response “Yes, I am the Big Horse.”

There have been scientific studies on H.May with his tail up. Research shows that at full power he produces more force than gravity. And that’s just what we witnessed.

The ground shakes with every step, with every grunt, with every wicket. ‘The Big Horse’ rissoles through the Sutherland top order. He’s fierce, he’s fiery, he’s The Big Horse.

In no time he has four wickets to his name. Everyone celebrates, but I stand in silence. He looks at me, I look at him. He knows his job’s not done yet.

If there’s one thing H.May despises more than a half-volley on the pads, it’s cockiness by a no.3.

With one wicket to get and a bloke who thought he was Sutherland’s very own Marnus at the crease, ‘The Big Horse’ transformed into ‘The Raging Bull’. A ball of blistering speed – the type that only gravitational pull can produce – makes its way to Marnus. Child's play.

With his off-pole cartwheeling down Crows Nest ‘The Big Horse’ has five and the lads are up in arms. It’s at this moment that Sutherland knew their season was over, and the Big Horse’s was only just beginning.

In a devastating spell from both ends with veteran quick James Aitken, the Sutherland boys were speechless as we ran through their whole line-up for a paltry hundred. As I watched each wicket fall, all I could thing about was the two bombs I’m destined to hit. The Big Horse has had his fun, now it’s time for the Big Chief to play.

We paste the Sutherland attack to all parts, chasing their total in no time, everyone contributing, but a distinct lack of bombs. The stage is set. I enter the game at 8/210 – unofficially promoting myself to number 10 – sorry Big Horse – today’s about me.

Niranjan, fresh off slapping 28 the previous over approaches me: “It’s doing a bit mate”. I walk past him, nonchalantly brushing him on the way. I’ve been mentally preparing for this moment all my life.

I face up. Niranjan’s back: “Aren’t you taking guard Samos?”

I don’t ask for centre; centre asks for me. I’m in his head, that’s two.

I dispatch the first ball for a bomb. Too easy.

The boys are on their feet. All of them are cheering, except one. GA. He sits there with arms folded, I’ll make him proud. I tap down the deck and brush Niranjan’s glove-punch. My job isn’t done.

The bowler runs down the deck, “Do it again.”

Oh, I will.

Second ball. Half-volley. Leg-stump. You beauty. The world spins in slow motion as I mentally become MS Dhoni and perform the perfect helicopter-flick. Six. That’s for you GA.

Runs become something of ease. Not even an Ahmer Amir off-break could knock me over.

With the ball lost we have drinks; I ask for a schooner. I take off my shoe, pour it in and perform the best shoey anyone has ever seen. See you soon Crowie.

With a new ball in hand the bowler steams in, I feign the ramp and dispatch him to the fence. Game Over.

As I leave the field the boys are on their feet. But no one before Captain GA. He storms the field and we embrace.

“That’ll do Samos, that’ll do.”

I storm the change room. “First schooners on me.”

We’re all at the Crowie and I’ve never circuited better in my life.

I spot a 10/10. Time for the old Alexander Charm. I reach for my trusty one liner “If I could re-arrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together”

She’s butter in my hands.

GA nods again, he’s proud. He whispers in my ear “you know what to do.”

“Thanks, skip.”

3rd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Sutherland Oval

Sutherland 137 (JD Graham 4/18, I Merlehan 2/17, F Noack 2/32) v UTS North Sydney 2/30

Overcast skies, a rough outfield and an unusual looking pitch greeted the Bears on arrival at Sutherland Oval. A late selection drama meant a well-earned promotion to second grade for Jordan Vilensky, with Adam Cavenor coming up to fill the spot. The skipper won the toss and opted to bowl, and judging from the opposing captains reaction he would have done the same.

The boys started well, with tight challenging bowling from Fletcher May and Nuwan Whyte giving nothing away. Dot balls and maidens built until their opener was tempted into a loose drive, snicking off to keeper Jake Holmes off Whyte. This set the trend for the day, with tight bowling and good fielding creating pressure and forcing mistakes.

Fraser Noack and spiritual leader Yak (aka Jacob Graham) turned the screws and ran through the middle order, with Yak claiming 3 wickets in his first spell. Tea was taken with Sutherland 5/72. Spin was introduced soon after the break, with Izaak Merlehan (2/17) taking 2 and Ahmer Amir (1/13) claiming 1 in tight spells. Noack and Yak were recalled and claimed a wicket apiece, Noack finishing with 2/32 and Yak having the outstanding figures of 14.1 overs 4/18. Sutherland all out 137 off 62.1 overs.

The Bears had 15 overs left in the day to get through. Fletcher May was promoted to open with Dhruva Thorat after James Leary was unwell. The pair got through the first 7 overs before May was caught at cover and then next over Thorat was caught at second slip. Ahmer Amir and Izaak Merlehan saw out the day, with the Bears 2/30 and needing a further 108 to claim the points next weekend.

4th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Tunks Park

UTS North Sydney 76 (A Wright 28) and 1/29  (H Reynolds 13*) v Sutherland 3/77 (dec) (T Robson 2/22)

Sutherland won the toss and sent the Bears into bat and it didn’t take long before their decision was justified with the wicket of Captain Lawrence. The Bears then lost three wickets with the score on 13 – You don’t need to be superstitious to realize that we were in trouble. A further two wickets fell at 30 and before long we had slumped to 9/43. Our best partnership of the day – 33 runs - was between No. 10 Archie Wright (28) and No. 11 Toby Laybutt.

The Tunks wicket gave us some assistance when it was our turn to bowl and we managed to take three Sharks wickets before they passed our score. Two wickets to Tim Robson (2/22) and one to Luke Opacic (1/16). Sol Balbi also bowled six tight overs for just 9 runs.

Once passing our score Sutherland declared and we were forced to face 9 tricky overs at the end of the day. Lawrence and Reynolds looked solid at 0/26. However, a run-out while attempting a second run on the second last ball of the day saw us lose a wicket. The boys will need to fight hard with the bat next week and will be looking to prevent an outright with the knowledge that a strong batting performance could bring us back into the game.

5th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Tonkin Park

UTS North Sydney 129 (LA Hodge 37 F Nixon-Tomko 24) v Sutherland 8/54 (J Thomas 6/18 )

Fives were on the road again, this time in Cronulla at Tonkin Park to play 4th placed Sutherland. 

The Bears won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a hard surface.  However, the pitch played a little like the outfield - up and down and a little two paced. 

Unfortunately, wickets fell regularly as the boys struggled to come to grips with the surface and some good Sutherland bowling. Finn Nixon-Tomko (24) looked organised and in control before edging one to the keeper. Liam Hodge (37) anchored the innings well and Cooper Goddard (15) looked set for a big one before holing out in the deep. 

Sadly the Bears were all out shortly after tea for a disappointing 129. Nevertheless, we were still optimistic, knowing the strength of our attack. 

And so it proved with Jack Thomas (12 overs 7 maidens 6 for 18) tearing through the Sutho top order. Jack bowled with accuracy and control, moving the ball in the air and off the pitch. It was too much for the Sutherland top order with Jack bowling three and trapping two in front. 

Special shout out to Cooper Goddard whose fielding in the cover region has been electric all season. And so it was again, with another direct hit run out after swooping on a ball in the covers (note above the up and down outfield) and throwing them down - Brilliant! 

The Bears had Sutho on the ropes at 7/29. However a mini fight back improved their position to 7/52 before Thomas struck again - caught down the leg side.  

The Bears will be hoping to strike early next Saturday and take the remaining two wickets to secure the 6 points. 

Brewer Shield UTS North Sydney vs Parramatta at Tunks Park

Parramatta 3/128 (A Sim 1/11, A Uthappa 1/16, G O’Brien 1/25) def UTS North Sydney 8/128 (G Keating 47, G O’Brien 30) by 60 runs

After a washout in Round 7, our Brewer Shield girls were delighted to get back on the park on Sunday, taking on Parramatta at Tunks Park. Parramatta won the toss on a sunny morning and elected to bat. After a long injury layoff, and then returning to the side as a batsman only, Amelia Sim bowled her first overs of the season in competitive cricket, sharing the new ball with Lucy Warren. It was a dream comeback, with Amelia trapping the opener Shree Swarup lbw in her first over with the score on just 3. Unfortunately, the Bears couldn’t capitalise on the strong start, with catches put down and Parramatta numbers 2 and 3 combining for a partnership of 164 and the skipper, Kate Pelle, making 100 off 95 balls before retiring.

Ani Uthappa, in her fourth game for the Bears, got the breakthrough and recorded her first wicket for the club as Grace Keating took a sharp catch off the opener Debhankar. Captain Genevieve O’Brien chipped in with a wicket of her own, and our bowlers kept it tight to claw the run rate back in the final overs. They finished on 3/188, a strong total.

In reply, O’Brien and Grace Keating combined for an impressive opening stand of 69 before O’Brien fell, caught in the deep, for 30 in the 23rd over as she attempted to up the run rate. Mridula Thirupathy joined Keating and made 15 before she too was caught. Then disaster struck as two run-outs followed, and Keating and big-hitting Lucy Warren were left with too much to do. Keating was sixth out with the score on 122 in the 38th over for 47, the highest individual score yet recorded by a female Bear.

We finished on 8/128, also our record team score, but were left to rue mistakes in the field that cost us a shot at a win. It says a lot about the improvement, ambition and attitude of the girls that recording our highest score is no longer a cause for celebration – we are all working hard for that first victory. Two games are left in the Brewer season, against Manly and St George-Sutherland over the next two Sundays.

Women’s 3rd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Universities at Tonbridge Park

Universities 2/148 (G Keating 1/12, J Bedi 1/25) def UTS North Sydney 5/42 (A Gibbons 31*) by 106 runs

Images and videos courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James (both pictured in action below), Sarah Berman and team captains