Round 14 Week 2 Wrap vs Eastern Suburbs

Poidevin Gray Shield – Preliminary Final vs Gordon at Chatswood Oval

Gordon 8/160 (B Knox 2/19, F May 2/24, M Jenkins 2/39) def by UTS North Sydney 2/162 (JN James 52*, J Hardy 51*, J Leary 28)

The baby Bears turned up to Chatswood Oval full of energy and keen to get on the field, while it appeared that their opposition were hoping for more rain. The ground looked wet and the covers had accumulated plenty of water from overnight showers. This led to a delay in the start of proceedings. With the covers finally removed, the pitch looked hard and dry, but light rain threatened to derail our campaign and the covers were returned. Once the rain finally stopped (again), the umpires reduced the game to 44 overs per side and scheduled the start of play for 12:15. Gordon won the toss and elected to bat.

Chris Savage opened the bowling from the housing commission end with five dots before being hit for six from the final ball of his over by Jamie Bekis. Fletcher May was given the new ball from the city end. Bekis was also looking for a boundary from the final ball of May’s over, hitting the ball hard over the head of mid-wicket. Enter Ben Knox who leaped full stretch and plucked a one handed speculator out of the sky atto send Bekis on his way for 7 and Gordon were 1/9 off two. It was an outstanding catch and was luckily captured on camera and video for all to enjoy over and over again. It also set the tone for the rest of the lads in the field.

If the field wasn’t buzzing before, it was now, with every half chance for a run being cut off by committed fielding. Knox, Leerdam, James and even Reynolds threw themselves around, sliding and diving to cut off runs. It was the most switched on the PGs team had been all season in the field and it put significant pressure on the batting side. The first six overs went for 18 runs, and although overs 7 and 8 went for 14 runs, the newly appointed captain, Mac Jenkins, stuck strong with his opening quicks and kept them going unchanged. This led to the second wicket for Fletcher May (2/24) in the 12th over of the game, with a nice catch to new keeper James Leary and Gordon were 2/39.

The quicks had done their job and it was now time to turn the screws with our quality spin attack. Jack James bowled in tandem with Mac Jenkins (2/39). Five overs into their respective spells, James had 1/9, taking out the dangerous Barnsley (31) and Jenkins 1/14, knocking over another ex Randy Pete in Josh Claridge thanks to a sharp stumping from Leary. Gordon had slumped to 4/66 from 23 overs. James bowled out, finishing with two maidens 1/24 from his 9 overs, while Jenkins had 1/20 from 7 overs.

Ben Knox and Nuwan Whyte were then introduced into the attack. Knox kept it tight as usual and in his 3rd over claimed the wicket of Nathan Doyle (34), who had played the anchor role of the innings. Although Nuwan (1/18) was hit for a couple of fours, he had the last laugh, claiming a wicket in his fourth over. Knox (2/19) picked up a second wicket with the new batsman holing out to deep mid off and a safe catch by Jack James.

Jenkins returned to take his second wicket in the 41st over with the catch taken by Jordan Vilensky and at 8/133 it looked like the Bears would keep their opposition under 150. However, a misfield and two consecutive sixes promoted the Stags score to 8/160 at the close of their innings. shot with scoreboard

The batting innings started positively with a four in the first over to James Leary. The bowling by the opposition was accurate and kept the scoring to a minimum at times. However, there was no panic as iceman Jack James and his partner in crime James Leary blocked the good balls and punished the bad balls to move the total to 0/38 after 13 overs. After hitting the first six of the innings in the 11th over, in the 16th, Leary (28) took Ryan Meppem for a two and then a four before being stumped, having a crack at another boundary.  With the score on 1/47, James was joined by Daniel Leerdam, who had answered the SOS to come up to Sydney to help out with both George Lavelle and Broc Hardy absent for the preliminary final. Leerdam (15) took a few balls to get going, but, when he did, he launched two fours off opposition captain Nathan Doyle to pick up the run rate. James also contributed to the rate increase, launching a bomb onto the roof of the stand and effectively taking Meppem out of the attack, much to the delight of the vocal crowd of supporters. Leerdam was eventually caught on the fence in the 23rd over and the Bears were 2/76. Jake Hardy was next man in and he immediately got to work knocking the ball around for ones and twos. The pair upped the ante reaching an unbeaten fifty run partnership off 53 balls. James moved into the forties with a second six (that almost took out the Gordon scorer) and a four off Doyle, while Hardy hit fours off all bowlers. Jack’s 50 came up in the 31st over with a delicate dab through the vacant slips. The team 150 came up after 212 balls and with 10 overs left the Bears needed a further 16 runs. It took just 5 more legitimate balls (the bowler bowled 5 no balls and a wide) to win the game with 9 overs to spare with Jake (51*) reaching fifty off just 44 balls in the process thanks an unbeaten 86 run partnership achieved for the 3rd wicket.

The camaraderie and dedication to the team was evident throughout with every player playing their role. The team were well supported by Kobe Allison and Dhruva Thorat – 12th and 13th man respectively. The effort in the field was legendary with every player hunting in or chasing hard to cut off runs. The victory was comprehensive. The bowlers bowled good balls and the batsmen executed. The club is extremely excited to see this fine group of young men progress to the final and we wish them every success as they take on a highly credentialed Fairfield-Liverpool side in the Grand Final at North Sydney Oval this coming Sunday.

It would be remiss not to give a shout out to the strong contingent of UTS North Sydney supporters who showed up to cheer on the boys. The banter and encouragement of the team throughout the match was amazing and inspired the boys to work even harder for one another. We hope to see you all again next week to support the boys.

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) drew UTS North Sydney 9/264 (JN James 61, O Knight 55, T Jagot 38)

Intermittent rainfall during the week looked like putting a dampener on the Bears’ run chase in week 2 of the their clash with Easts. Although the skies were overcast for most of the day, there was no moisture about, and the pitch looked pretty good for batting.

With George Lavelle heading back to the old dart for Lancashire pre- season training the team welcomed back Max Papworth as his replacement. Max was thrown straight into the action facing the first ball at the start of play. Papworth did a fabulous job of seeing off the new ball in combination with Jack James. Jack and Max put together a partnership of 51 runs for the first wicket with Max scoring 22 runs before having his stumps rattled by opening bowler, Henry Thornton.

Captain Justin Avendano joined James in the middle to progress the score to 83. He dominated the strike to reach 20 runs before he was caught at first slip. Tom Jagot then combined with James for the largest partnership of the day. Tom was watchful early, but managed two big sixes off both spinners to reach 38 from 86 balls. James and Jagot looked in control of the run chase, managing the run rate as they put on 59 runs to have the Bears half way to the target at 2/142, until Jagot skied a slower ball down the throat of mid on.

The loss of Jagot brought Tim Reynolds to the crease. A few overs into his innings Reynolds hit two lofted fours, but was bowled attempting a third in the same over. With only an over to the tea break, Ray Alexander, who had only just got off the mark, mis-read a googly from Jack Preddey and  was be stumped. What was a strong position had disappeared with the loss of three quick wickets and the Bears were 5/162.

Things did not improve for the home side after the tea break, with James, who had been the backbone of the innings, being caught in the gully on the second grab for 61. It was a mature innings and the fifth time James had passed fifty in his debut season with the Bears. However, a slight drop in concentration was all it took for Thornton to grab his second wicket of the day. When Robbie Aitken fell cheaply to the same bowler, a few overs later, the Bears had slumped to 7/169.

With 116 runs required from the remaining 31 overs, the Dolphins set attacking fields in search for the win. Olly Knight (55) and James Aitken (18) had other ideas as they combined defence with some power hitting to knock off 54 of the runs and keep the hope of a win alive. Knight hit two huge sixes, one onto the roof of the Bill O’Reilly stand and the other onto the footpath.

With the demise of Aitken, Knight and Matt Alexander (18) continued strived for the win taking the score to 9/254. Olly enjoys playing Eastern Suburbs, after taking them apart in the T20 earlier in the season, but this was a very different innings – alongside his trademark power hitting he showed resolute defence and a determination to take the game deep. However, when Olly was dismissed to a good yorker for 55, the Bears were down to their last wicket and still 31 adrift of the victory target. With five overs remaining it was decided to shut up shop and play for the draw in light of the closeness of the ladder. James Campbell did a great job, seeing off a few balls, but it was Alexander who took most of the strike, displaying his outstanding defence to stave off the threatening Easts attack. There were nervous moments when a confident appeal for LBW with two balls to go was thankfully turned down. The two opening bowlers left the field happy in the knowledge that with bat in hand they had secured one valuable point for the draw.

The result leaves the Bears in 6th position on 46 points and provides a two point break to Northern Districts and Camden on 44. Put simply, a win against Blacktown in the final round will allow the team to play finals and a loss will open the door for the aforementioned sides.  At best, the team could finish 5th should Easts lose to Sydney University.

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

UTS North Sydney 102 (N Naguleswaran 37, J Leary 26) and 184 (G Aitken 60, J Hardy 47, J Leary 36) def by Easts 8/217 (S Alexander 3/29, W Graham 2/45) and 5/72 (W Graham 3/35, H May 2/37)


Second grade returned to Waverley Oval on week 2 trailing by 115 on the first innings and facing an uphill battle.

Easts declared on their overnight total and the Bears set about improving their position. After losing Cam New early, the batsmen looked to absorb time and apply pressure to the Dolphins. James Leary (37) and Jake Hardy (47) formed a lengthy partnership after Jordan Vilensky had taken important time out of the game.

Skipper Glenn Aitken provided substance to the second half of the innings, top scoring with 60. GA was well supported by Ahmer Amir and Will Graham, both of whom occupied the crease to help Glenn extend the innings. When the side was all out for 184, East were left with just 11 overs to score 70 for outright victory.

Will Graham struck in the first over, bowling opener Taylor for a duck. Harrison May and Will then traded wickets in the second, third, fourth and fifth overs to reduce Easts to 5/30 after five. At the start of the 10th over, Easts still required 19 runs however Brewer and Mehta were now established at the crease. A maximum from the first ball of the penultimate over gave Easts the edge and they secured the outright with a ball to spare, despite a valiant effort from the Bears in the second dig.

Second grade enter the last round as one of four teams locked on 49 points that occupy positions 5 to 8 on the table. A strong showing against Blacktown Mounties will be crucial to earning a finals berth.

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

Easts 7/297 (dec) (N Whyte 2/42, F May 2/65) def  UTS North Sydney 164 (C Spratt 46)

A flat grassless deck greeted the lads as they prepared to chase down the 296 runs required on the second day of their clash with Eastern Suburbs, resuming 1/29.

Chris Spratt started back where he left off at the end of week 1 punishing anything within his reach on his way to an at times restrained yet very entertaining 46.

Unfortunately, Izaak Merlehan wasn’t able to join him, playing on in the fourth over of the morning with the score at 2/37. Spratt hit two balls over the fence for six in the next few overs, but was dismissed hitting a high ball soon after, and the Bears were reeling at 3/60 early in the day.

Finn Nixon-Tomko ground out a start, scoring 14 valuable runs in combination with Baran Kumar, who also reached 14. However, just as the partnership began to bear fruit with both players finding more and more singles, Baran snicked off and Tomko was caught. With the end of this promising partnership there was a fat lady somewhere warming up the vocal cords.

As wickets continued to fall it was left to the tail to add some respectability to the total. Keeper, Jake Holmes batted with the tail hitting his way into the 20s before falling himself with the score 7/126. The tail continued to wag as the Bears progressed to 164 runs in 66.1 overs. However, North Sydney finished well short of the target and the follow on total, but hands were shaken after the innings concluded.

Unfortunately, this loss puts us out of contention for finals cricket, but it has been a good second half to the season. In this game it was a lack of partnerships in the top and middle order that let us down when we needed them most. Hard lessons to learn, but we will be better for the experience. There are 7 points up for grabs against Blacktown next week at home to finish the season on a high and, with the club championship ladder still so tight, there’s still everything to play for.

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

UTS North Sydney 186 (AA Shaikh 38, C Madala 34, D Sellers 29) def by Easts 214 (T Laybutt 5/57, S Vohra 3/30)

IMG_0634Fourth grade entered week 2 with their tails up, having left Easts 1/4 chasing a solid total of 187 to win. Toby Laybutt struck in the second over of the morning, removing the Dolphins’ keeper for a single. When Toby collected another four overs later, the wind was well and truly in the Bears’ sails.

Easts’ pairing of Maxwell and Coles then dug in, taking the score from 16 to 80 before Toby dismissed Maxwell in the first over of his second spell. He then claimed his fourth of the afternoon in the fourth over of the spell and the game was in the balance with Easts 5/109.

It soon became clear that Easts’ skipper Coles was playing a lone hand as the lower order dug in to support their captain. The sixth wicket partnership took the score to 143 before Toby completed his five-for in the first over of his third spell. Shiv Vohra then claimed Hooke and Easts were 7/158, needing 29 runs with three wickets in hand.

Sol Balbi took a wicket immediately upon returning to the attack and Easts needed 20, eight down. Unfortunately, skipper Coles proved the thorn in the Bears’ side, taking the Dolphins past the Bears total in a remarkable, undefeated innings of 149. Shiv claimed the final two wickets after Easts had claimed 6 points but ultimately the Bears fell to a superb innings by Coles that represented almost 70% of his side’s total.

The Bears’ Green Shield spearhead, Toby Laybutt (pictured), finished with the excellent figures of 5/57, claiming his first five wicket haul for the club and underlining his immense potential.

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

Easts 98 (C Savage 5/38, N Stokes 3/23) and 126 (P Lindsay 7/33) def by UTS North Sydney 8/140 (dec) (M Lloyd 62, L Smith 24) and 4/89 (M Lloyd 29, C Rose 28*)

The Bears finished day one 8/140, 42 runs ahead of Easts all out 98. 


Skipper Lindsay (pictured) had no hesitation in declaring and Easts were sent into bat on a dry surface with a very heavy outfield, noting the ~ 60mm rain on Wednesday and Thursday.  Huge credit to groundsman Bernie Vince for getting the ground up and ready for play on time!

The Bears started ok with Easts perhaps getting the better of the early exchanges, until Savage induced a leave from the Easts opener which result in another cartwheeling stump, this time the middle one.  

Lindsay picked up the next two wickets, before a one handed, horizontal Jack Thomas screamer removed the opener off the bowling of Jarrad Ninness on his return to Bears action. 

Lindsay then removed another two and at tea Easts were 6-97 - a lead of 55, noting they survived a testing final over before the interval, bowled by regular keeper Hodge. 

After the break the Bears fielded poorly, dropping some regulation chances off Savage that allowed the Dolphins off the hook somewhat. Eventually the innings was closed at 126 with Lindsay finishing with 7/33 off 21.5 overs, his 13th 5-wicket haul for the Bears and third of seven or more.

The Bears needed 85 off 25 for the 10 points and started in the worst possible fashion. Stokes was runout for a diamond duck off the first ball of the innings and then Heffernan was bowled off the 2nd ball. Bears 2/0 off 2 balls! 

Lloyd and Smith steadied the ship somewhat until Smith (13) spooned a catch to mid-off with the score on 20. There were some nervous Bears in the rooms particularly as Hodge (dislocated finger from week one) and Thomas (badly bruised, potentially broken thumb) were not likely to be able to bat.

Rose (28*) joined Lloyd (29) and they took the game beyond Easts. Charlie looked especially comfortable driving crisply and running well between the wickets. When Lloyd fell with the score on 56 the mood in the camp was far calmer. This was for good reason as Goddard (16*) joined Rose and knocked off the runs quickly in the 19th over.

It was the first outright of the season after a couple of near misses vs Fairfield and Sutherland, and extended the Bears’ lead at the top of the table to 6 points with the last game of the season vs 19th placed Blacktown next week at Fortress Tunks.


Video and images courtesy of Sarah Berman, Tony Johnson, David James and team captains. 

Pictured - Gemma, Jeff, Sarah and Lachlan, a sleuth of Bears' scorers (not pictured - David, as he was manning the book)