Round 14 Week 1 Wrap vs Eastern Suburbs

Brewer Shield UTS North Sydney vs St George-Sutherland at Olds Park

UTS North Sydney 9/152 (L Warren 48, A Gibbons 28) def St George-Sutherland 138 (B Tahana 3/16, L Warren 2/22, G O'Brien 2/33)

Report courtesy of captain, Genevieve O'Brien

This week our Brewer Shield girls took on second-placed St George-Sutherland at Olds Park, with a few key players missing due to representative duties and injury. 

The Bears won the toss and went into bat. It was a shaky start with both openers out early and the score at 2/10, but the middle order steadied the ship with outstanding performances from Lucy Warren (48), Amy Gibbons (26) and Belinda Tahana (16).  With Tahlia Kapo (8*) and Anjali Uthappa (7*) showing the value of lower order runs, the Bear’s finished their 40 overs at 9/152, their highest-ever total.

With runs on the board, the Bears took to the field looking for early wickets, and Tahana delivered in her first over, trapping the St George opening batter in front. To the credit of the St George batters, they stuck out the first session and kept the Bears searching for the breakthrough. It came in the 15th over with captain Genevieve O’Brien bowling the left-handed number three through the gate. St George were now 2/73. Next into the attack came recent country recruit Grace Boulding, her second ball drawing the number four into a false shot, popping up a catch to Tahana at square leg, St George 3/92.

Even with the runs gettable for the hosts, the Bear’s kept the pressure on with good spells from Grace Keating, Liz Buckley, and Chloe Day. It wasn’t until the final ball of O’Brien’s last over that North Sydney struck again, thanks to a tidy stumping from Mridula “Wreck-It” Thirupathy

IMG_0534Back into the attack came opening bowler Tahana, and along with it, a direct hit run out from O’Brien at cover, sending St George’s skipper and opener on her way for 44. Next ball, saw more cause for celebration with Tahana striking with an LBW.

The equation was now St George needing 38 runs, the Bears needing 3 wickets.

To the credit of the North Sydney girls, they never lost focus, energy or fight in the field. After a flurry of runs from the St George lower order, it was back to Tahana to get the breakthrough, skittling the stumps with an absolute peach. Needing just two wickets, the ball was tossed back to opening bowler (and star batter) Lucy Warren, to finish the job. Doing just this, Warren struck in the second over of her spell, bowing the number seven from St George with a classic top-of-off delivery. Victory was in sight for the Bears, when just two balls later, Warren drew the number nine into a false shot, popping a catch to the ever-so-safe hands of Tahana at square leg.  St George all out for 138!

The UTS North Sydney Brewer Shield side had secured their maiden victory.  This win is so well deserved for the girls, who have worked extremely hard over the past two seasons. They have shown great teamwork and spirit and owe a lot to the tireless dedication of their coach Michelle Goszko and wonderful support from Todd Harper, Rob Lavery and the Norths players.

1st Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at North Sydney Oval

Easts 284 ( J Aitken 4/81, M Alexander 2/49, O Knight 1/36, J N James 1/37, J Campbell 1/72) v UTS North Sydney 0/8 (JN James 5*, G Lavelle 3*)

UTS North Sydney returned home to the familiar surrounds of North Sydney Oval in Round 14 to take on Eastern Suburbs in a vital clash for both clubs in terms of playing finals. Easts sit in 3rd position, 6 points clear of Norths in 6th position. A loss could open the door for any of the teams ranked 7th to 10th, while a win would provide an opportunity to move as high as 3rd.

Prior to the start of play the team and coaches gathered on the field to acknowledge and congratulate club stalwart James Aitken on his 300th first grade career game.

Easts won the toss and did what we would have done –bat. New ball pair James Campbell (1/61) and Matt Alexander (2/49 - pictured below) bowled a fiery first spell placing plenty of pressure on the openers, with Campbell the beneficiary and Alexander taking the catch on the square leg boundary to have Easts 1/9 early.

First change bowler Olly Knight (1/36) replaced Alexander, starting with a maiden and then claiming the dangerous Angus Robson in his second over to reduce the Dolphins to 2/22 after 14. Knight’s first spell made excellent reading at 5 overs, 2 maidens, 1/7. Campbell was equally impressive with 1/17 in his opening 9 over spell.

James Aitken (4/81) was introduced into the attack in the 19th over and it didn’t take long for him to get in on the action, claiming the first of his four dismissals for the day in the 21st over. Significantly, Aitken’s second wicket came from the last ball before lunch, taking out highly rated Baxter Holt LBW and placing the Bears well on top at 4/67.

Campbell was unlucky not to have a second wicket, with a catch going down in the slips on the second ball after lunch. The batsman, Tim Armstrong, was on 26 at the time. In the next over, Harry Byrnes Howe edged a ball just out of reach of the keeper for four to get off the mark. Armstrong (69) and Byrnes Howe (46) then dominated the middle session putting together a partnership of 75 from around 100 balls.

The partnership was broken when Jack James caught Armstrong jogging a second run and pounced with a direct hit run-out. The ball had been hit past the inner ring with Tim Reynolds running around to pick up the ball and throw it in from the boundary. The powerful, but slightly wayward throw landed mid pitch with James in perfect position to throw down the stumps.

Alexander returned for his third spell to smash the stumps out of the ground of the new batsman and Easts were suddenly 6/150. New man Atallah then combined with Byrnes Howe to take Easts to Tea at 6/188.

IMG_6448 (2)

In the first ball after tea, Jack James (1/37) deceived Byrnes Howe creating a mishit that was caught by Campbell and Easts were 7/188. In a testament to the depth of the opposition batting line up, Atallah (63) and Remond (42) put together a 72 run partnership for the 8th wicket. However, it was the milestone man Aitken (4/81) who broke the partnership with a caught and bowled. With the new ball taken, Alexander claimed the 9th Easts wicket with the batsman not offering a shot as the ball crashed into the stumps. It was fitting that Aitken was given an opportunity with the new ball,  9 overs after it was taken, and he only needed one ball. Aitken 23.1 overs 4 maidens 4/81 and Easts all out 284 in the 89th over. Norths would have to survive five overs before the close.

Jack James (5*) and George Lavelle (3*) did a good job of blunting the opening bowlers to reach 8 without loss.  Next week the batsman will need 277 runs, without the services of George Lavelle, who leaves Australia on Monday for pre-season training with Lancashire. The 3 runs mean that George finished the season with 200 runs at an average of 50. He also took 26 catches and 5 stumpings in his 12 appearances in 1st Grade. Jack is also getting on a plane, heading to Adelaide for the National Premier Cricket T20 championships with his NT side the Desert Blaze.

2nd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Waverley Oval

UTS North Sydney 102 (N Naguleswaran 37, J Leary 26)  V Easts 8/217 (S Alexander 3/29, W Graham 2/45)

The second grade side travelled across the Harbour Bridge to the beachside Waverley Oval, to face Eastern Suburbs. The Round 14 clash between the fifth placed North Sydney Bears and the second placed Eastern Suburbs Dolphins was always going to be a difficult contest. 

North Sydney won the toss and elected to bat on a good wicket, looking to take advantage of the favourable conditions and the change in personnel for the second week, with Max Papworth heading up to keep wicket in first grade. Unfortunately, the morning session did not go according to plan. The top order was not disciplined in our batting, with the batsmen playing too many shots without enough focus on defence. This approach left the Bears reeling at 5/17 after 7 overs. James Leary (26) showed resistance at the start of the innings. However, it was the ever reliable Niranjan Naguleswaran who showed the greatest defiance in light of the game situation. He showed his class with a heroic 37. William Graham’s 15 off 62 deliveries also helped the Bears fight into the middle session and manage a small total of 102.

The boys had a massive challenge ahead of them as they headed out to field mid way through the first day. However, they entered the field with the knowledge that they had been in other tough positions this season. The Bears showed great passion and skill in the field. Attacking the Eastern Suburbs batting line up. Strong spells from Will Graham (2/45 off 12 overs) and Harrison “Big Horse” May (1/36 off 9 overs) gave us the possibility of an unlikely result. However, the 50/50 calls did not go our way and the opposition showed great resolve in the circumstances. The Bears made Easts struggle and fight for every run with a contest on every ball. Unfortunately, Easts passed the total 3 wickets down.

The boys did not give up at any stage and fought hard for the rest of the afternoon. Great spells of spin bowling from Mac Jenkins (1/59 off 14 overs) and Niranjan Naguleswaran (1/45 off 10 overs) continued to apply pressure. Sam Alexander’s (3/29 off 7 overs) bowling was particularly noteworthy as he controlled the run rate and took wickets as Easts tried to push further past our total. 

The second grade side left the field after a difficult day, with many moments to be proud of. They should be especially proud by the way they came together and continued to fight hard throughout the day. They will need to take this attitude into next week and do something special if they hope to come away with any points for this match. It is unlikely, but there is always hope.

3rd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Bon Andrews Oval

Easts 7/297 (dec) (N Whyte 2/42, F May 2/65) V UTS North Sydney 1/29 (C Spratt 22*)

It is an interesting ladder in third grade with 6th playing 7th and 8th playing 9th. For the our boys to make finals they firstly have to beat Easts.  They need Sydney to be beaten this round as Sydney play 2nd placed Mosman in R15 and a consecutive loss would open the door for Norths or Penrith.

3s table

On arrival at Bon Andrews, Norths were presented with a lush green pitch, which made the decision to bowl an easy one after we won the toss. After a few overs, it was clear that the pitch would play a part if we used it well. Unfortunately, the bowlers could not hit the right lengths consistently enough and Easts got off to a safe start scoring 23 runs from the first 7 overs. Fletcher May (2/65) then took 2 wickets in 3 balls to have the Dolphins 2/25 after 8. Fletcher has now taken 20 wickets in 10 appearances in 3rd Grade this season.

The third wicket proved elusive until a debut third grade bouncer resulted in a debut third grade wicket to Hamish Reynolds (1/20) and Easts were 3/69. A 60 run partnership ensued, mainly due our inability to hold our catches, and as such we were unable to take wickets in clumps.  Nuwan Whyte (2/42) bowled the remaining opener just prior to tea and the game was in the balance at 4-140.

After tea, Easts put their foot down, and in doing so presented Fraser Noack (1/44) with a wicket.  However, once again some poor fielding let us down with the Dolphins’ 6th wicket partnership worth eighty in a very short space of time. Izaak Merlehan (1/54) broke this partnership, purchasing the wicket on the 4th ball of his 10th over, with the preceding 3 balls all disappearing for 6.

When the 7th wicket fell to Whyte, some 60 quick runs later, Easts called time with 297 runs on the board.

Norths were required to bat for 10 overs and did well to finish the day 1-29 with Dhruva Thorat the man out. Chris Spratt remained unbeaten on 22 and looked fluent with Merlehan solid at the other end.

4th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Trumper Park

UTS North Sydney 186 (AA Shaikh 38, CC Madala 34, D Sellers 29) V Easts 1/4  (W Abbott 1/0)

The Bears were sent into bat on a wicket that looked like it would have a bit of life. The Easts team were focused on trying to take 10 points from this match to ensure they play semi final cricket... and against an inexperienced team they rated their chances.

Despite losing a wicket early, Drew Sellers (29) and Abdullah Shaikh (38) put on 50 for the second wicket, Abdullah watchful as Drew played shots all around the ground. Chaitanya Madala (34) combined with Abdullah and both played within themselves following the captain’s advise to occupy the crease and frustrate the Easts attack. At tea we were 3 for 103 and were in a good position against a good quality bowling attack. Unfortunately, after tea things fell away, and we found ourselves bowled out for 186.

We must make mention of new lad Oliver Jennings (24) who occupied the crease for two hours facing over 100 balls defying a testing attack. Shiv Vohra (24) and Luke Opacic (17) also combined for a useful partnership late in the innings. Both Shiv and Luke need to learn from their innings... with application they both could occupy batting roles. Overall, the batting performance was a vast improvement from previous weeks and bodes well for the future of the club

With two overs to be bowled at the end of the day, a great delivery from Will Abbott took the edge of the Easts opener’s bat and into our wicketkeeper Lachlan Stewart’s gloves. It was a glorious way to finish the day and at 1 for 4, on what we anticipate will be a wicket with variable bounce, if the 4s bowlers show patience and the fielders are alert we are a great chance to secure 6 points.

5th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Tunks International Sports Park

Easts 98 (C Savage 5/38, N Stokes 3/23) v UTS North Sydney 8/140 (M Lloyd 62, L Smith 24)

5s were back at their spiritual home of Tunks International Sports Park to take on the Easts Dolphins in Round 14. 

The Easts skipper called correctly at the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on what looked like a typical Bernie belter.  The Bears were going to bowl first anyway, so both skippers were happy. 

Chris Savage got the Bears underway with a wicket in the 4th over. Wickets fell relatively regularly, however some average slip catching didn’t help the cause, the skipper being one culprit, and he is currently trying to ensure footage of the ‘effort’ is destroyed!  

Savage was the pick of the bowlers with 5/38 off 18 overs. He bowled with good pace and extracted some nice bounce out of the wicket. He was a class (or two) above on the day. Savage has been a stand out performer over recent weeks taking his wicket tally to 24 at an average of 12.9 in this grade. He has moved to 7th on the bowlers list for 5th grade with his average on par with his captain Pat Lindsay who leads the bowling aggregates with 35 poles. Nathaniel Stokes (3/23 ), who now has 17 season wickets, also chipped in with 3 important middle order wickets. 

A special shout out to keeper Liam Hodge who dislocated his finger catching a Chris Savage thunderbolt. Hodgey battled on manfully for a couple of overs, catching a few more balls, before leaving the field and then holding aloft, frankly a gruesome sight. He then fielded fine leg to fine leg (finger still out of place) until the innings ended in the 51st over with the score on 98. This was a seriously gritty performance from Hodgey. 

The Bears were intent on getting the runs in the remaining 27 overs, noting the grim looking weather forecast for the week ahead. We lost Heffernan early (0), however Finn Nixon-Tomko (8) and Michael Lloyd (62) steadied the ship before Lloyd and Luke Smith (24) put on 58 to get the Bears in sight of victory.  Lloyd played particularly well, punishing anything over pitched powerfully.  

Norths passed the total in the 19th over and ended the day 8/140 - a lead of 42. Next week we will look to push on for an outright to solidify top spot on the ladder. 

Women’s 3rd Grade Bankstown v UTS North Sydney at O’Neill Park

UTS North Sydney 4/72 (E Buckley 26, A Dongre 11) def by Bankstown 6/87 7/51 (A Dongre 2/9, E Buckley 2/15, G Keating 1/16)

A view from stand-in skipper, Sarah Berman

With a few regular players away, I volunteered the Bears side for the last women’s match of the season, away at Bankstown, my first competitive game of cricket for nearly four years and a far cry from my usual habitat of the scorers’ room at North Sydney Oval (with thanks to David James for taking care of that role on my absence). Reassuringly, I was one of three debutants for the game, with two UTS students Anushka Dongre and Donna Gonsalves joining us just days after registering at O-Day!


Turning up 5 minutes before the start of play due to traffic on the M5 was a less than ideal start to my return from retirement. I was greeted by team manager and scorer, Alan, with “We won the toss and are batting first...” Well thank goodness for that because I need to change and ideally eat some lunch. “… the top four are sorted, I’m going over there to score, you’re captain for the rest of the day.” WHAT?! Forget four years, more like fourteen since I last did that, so this might be “interesting”!

Liz Buckley and Mridula Thirupathy opened the batting for the Bears and made a solid start, before Mridula was dismissed for 5 in the fifth over, bringing Anushka Dongre to the crease on her Bears debut. Liz and Anushka took the score to 41 before Liz was run out attempting a second run that was there, but only without the slight hesitation which was present. Liz made 26, comfortably her highest score for the Bears. After her dismissal the run rate slowed a little, but Grace Keating saw us through to 4/72 off 20 overs.

Placed second on the ladder, Bankstown were keen for maximum bonus points (achieved when scoring 100 more than the opposition) so informed us they would be batting on if and when they passed our score. It soon became apparent they’d underestimated our bowling prowess! The first wicket fell caught behind by Mridula off Liz with the score on 7, and Grace chipped in the following over forcing the other opener to sky the ball high in the air and down into the safe hands of Eddie Chappel. Anushka Dongre was introduced to the attack and had immediate success with a clean bowled on her third ball and then a catch to Liz the following over. Bankstown were reeling at 4/20, and 73 looked a long way off, let alone 173.

Bankstown began to build a partnership, but we kept our foot on the throttle, rotating our three main bowlers in a quest to bowl them out. Liz was rewarded in her second spell with her second wicket, thanks to Mridula behind the stumps taking a brilliant diving catch at the second attempt. A sixth wicket came two overs when an ill-advised run was taken to Sarah Gibbons who effected the run out with the help of the ubiquitous Liz. And as if Liz hadn’t done enough work for the day, she then dashed off to pad up as wicketkeeper to allow Mridula to come on and bowl three tight overs (0/7).

With plenty of overs in the bank, Bankstown’s seventh wicket partnership was able to knuckle down and grind out the runs, and they passed our score in the 17th over, batted on and finished just 15 ahead after Sarah Gibbons’ final over went for just four. One more wicket and we could well have had them, but we were all proud of the performance with the ball and in the field – everyone gave everything chasing the ball, backing up and working together, no catches were dropped (other than the one caught on the rebound!) and remarkably we conceded only one boundary all innings.

I left the game wishing I could clone myself on a Saturday so I could play regularly with this fabulous group of girls and women without giving up scoring. Despite my initial hesitation, it was an honour to be skipper for the day and I hope for another guest appearance next season – and to win next time!

Images and video courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman, Greg Savage, Greg Buckley, Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club and team captains