Round 15 Wrap vs Blacktown Mounties

1st Grade UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at North Sydney Oval

Blacktown Mounties 231 (M Jenkins 4/35, J Campbell 2/33, O Knight 2/74) drew with UTS North Sydney

Despite the intervention of persistent rain that eventually led to the game being abandoned, the UTS North Sydney first grade side has secured a place in the 2020 NSW Premier Cricket finals for a second successive year. The Bears will face off against 1st placed Randwick Petersham next weekend. [Stop the press – would have if all cricket had not been cancelled.]

The Bears got off to a poor start in their round 15 clash with Blacktown with opener Waqas Tareen hitting two fours and a six in the first six and half overs of the innings as Blacktown raced along at a run a ball. Matt Alexander slowed the momentum momentarily to bowl Tareen for 28 and have the Mounties 1/38, but big-hitting Ben Sammut carried on where Tareen left off. James Campbell removed the ever-reliable Jordan Gauci with the score on 91, thanks to a catch behind the stumps by Max Papworth. Olly Knight then fought back in his second spell to claim the third wicket of the day (Sammut for 52 off 45) at 110 with a straightforward catch to Justin Avendano. However, the Mounties once again got away.

Robbie Aitken was introduced to the attack in the 16th over and bowled very tightly from one end and when former Bear, James Newton, hit a full toss from Mac Jenkins to Captain Avendano, it was 4/176 in the 33rd over.  Aitken then claimed the 5th Blacktown wicket in the next over with a confident LBW shout – well-deserved reward for an outstanding spell that gave nothing away. The game then turned in the Bears’ favour. Campbell picked up his second pole with a nice catch at mid on by Aitken and Blacktown were 6/207 in the 40th over. Toby Flynn-Duncombe played well for his 60 and had just deposited Olly Knight over the fence before attempting a straight six that was spectacularly caught by James Campbell with a diving effort. With the tail exposed, left arm spinner Jenkins (4/35) ripped through numbers 8, 10 and 11 in quick time.

Blacktown were dismissed for 231 in the 45th over, leaving the Bears what appeared a relatively straightforward chase. However, unfortunately rain started to fall during the interval. We did not get back on and had to wait nervously as Campbelltown Camden and Northern District played on in shortened games. Both were defeated, which meant that the Bears held on to 6th position.

2nd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at Joe McAleer Oval

Blacktown Mounties 9/213 (H May 3/38, S Alexander 3/48) def UTS North Sydney 9/101 (target 110) (C New 24, G Aitken 20)

The second grade team packed their bags and made the long trek out to Joe McAleer Oval in the hope of securing a victory and finishing in the top 6 on the ladder.

On a very green wicket, North Sydney won the toss and elected to bowl. Things started well with solid opening spells from the opening quicks Harrison May (3/38 off 8) and Will Graham. (1/44 off 9) Harrison “I am the big Horse” May trapped their opening batsman LBW for four runs. However, the deck proved better than it looked and our line and length was not good enough and the Mounties consolidated. The ever-dependable James Aitken (1/20 off 10) bowled another brilliant spell to control the innings. He was unlucky to not have more wickets with a lot of half chances and extremely close LBW calls. He was supported by a cheeky spell of bowling from Ray “Samoz’ cousin” Alexander. He finished with figures of 1/29 off 4 overs and also had their top run scorer out caught and bowled off a no ball. 

Sam Alexander (3/48 off 10) produced another fine spell of bowling. His aggression and craft inspired the team and tore through the middle order. He was ably supported by Ben Knox (0/33 off 6) on debut, who showed great signs and bowled well.  

Rain interrupted the innings at the 47th over leaving Blacktown on 9/213. Rain fell throughout the remainder of the day and it seemed likely that play would not resume. 

Thanks to the support of Blacktown and their captain Matthew Day, and hard work on the covers and supersoppers by the second grade team, we managed to get back on. The game was scheduled to commence at 6pm with 15 overs to play, and Duckworth Lewis gave the surprising large target of 110. With a soaked slow outfield and fading ligh,t it was always going to be a tough chase.

Things started off well, with both openers Cameron New (24) and James Leary (18) striking the ball cleanly to all areas of the ground. The Bears were tracking well and were well ahead of the run rate. Calm heads were required. However, when Cameron was dismissed this led to a series of 5 dismissals that put us on the back foot. A typical controlled and disciplined innings from the skipper Glenn Aitken (20) gave the team hope. However, a tight LBW decision and the fall of his wicket made it even closer. Things looked unlikely, however, you can never count out the “Big Horse” and Harrison (10) struck the ball well. He took it right to the wire!

Unfortunately, the chase fell an agonising 9 runs short, ending the game and hopes of finishing in the top 6. The loss of wickets, too many big shots and dot balls cost us in the chase. It was a good chase and a great season. Unfortunately, things did not fall our way. The team can be very proud of their efforts.

3rd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 220 (D Thorat 55, A Cavenor 48, N Whyte 28, F May 27, FJ Noack 26*) drew with Blacktown Mounties

With no finals to play for, the final round of the year for the Bears in 3s presented us with a great opportunity to go out and express ourselves. With the weather lurking around in the background there was a underlying feeling that we might only get to have half a game and, as such, all eyes were on the toss hoping and praying that we got the opportunity to bat.

Toss was made and we lost, but we won being sent into bat. Smiles all round. 

Ahmer and Dhruva walked out as a newfound partnership, Ahmer being afforded the opportunity to start at the top. Unfortunately an early one got the better of him and within a blink of an eye we were two down as Merlehan inside-edged onto leg stump.  This brought Adam Cavenor to the crease and, for the better part of the next hour, Dhruva and he batted the momentum in our favour, picking up runs for fun and finding the boundary with relative ease. 

At drinks we were 2/70 and still had an eye on 200 as a very strong par score. Unfortunately, as the drinks break always does, a wicket fell shortly after in a somewhat controversial way. Cavenor adjudged to have been bowled after the keeper claimed to have maybe bumped the stumps himself. A well-made 48 came to a close, but still only 3 down, and with plenty of hitting in the sheds, there was plenty of runs left in us. A 30 run partnership Between skipper Graham and Thorat began to threaten to explode into something bigger before Graham’s innings of 13 ended with a ball popping off the surface, a simple catch finding his counterpart at square leg. The next 4 partnerships could only muster an additional 27 runs to the score as Blacktown's off-spinner ran rampant through our middle order, Dhruva finally succumbing attempting to lift the scoring rate for a well made 55, but there was still plenty of hope, as we still knew we had the greatest tail yet to come. 

Enter Fletcher May, enter Fraser Noack. 

Together they combined for a partnership full of bombs and boundaries adding 40 to the score in quick time before Fletcher was undone. The Blacktown teams excitement at the propsect of an early close of innings however quickly dimmed as a swashbuckling Nuwan Whyte strode to the crease and proceeded to hammer back-foot, lofted cover drives for four, and simply battering all bowlers to all parts. Fraser, certainly not to be outdone, continued to be measured in his approach, whilst hammering anything that was in his slot. He ended up 26* as Nuwan fell on the penultimate ball of the innings. Their partnership adding 50 to the good guys as our innings came to a close.

Unfortunately that’s all she wrote. With the covers on over the lunch break the rain finally made its presence felt. And it’s presence was certainly felt. Both captains coming to the agreement that the field was now unsafe for play and the prospect of waiting for a clearing in the downpour would now be in vain.

The Bears finished their year all out for 220 but showed plenty of fight in getting there.

4th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at Whalan Oval

Blacktown Mounties 127 (S Vohra 3/32, KS Allison 2/35) drew with UTS North Sydney 0/20

Fourth grade headed to Whalan Oval with some late season points on their collective mind. Captain Keith Lawrence called correctly and the Bears decided to insert Blacktown.

Sol Balbi and grade debutant Kobe Allison (who’s played PGs cricket for us this season) took the new ball and caused the Mounties top order significant issues. Kobe claimed the first wicket, caught behind in his second over, while Sol continued to apply the pressure from the other end. Jarrad Ninness replaced Kobe and claimed the remaining opener. Sol concluded his fine opening spell having had no luck, but having collected the parsimonious figures of eight overs, 0/8.

Shivam Vohra entered the attack and claimed the next two wickets, both stumped by Lachlan Stewart. Kobe returned to the attack and he and Shiv traded the next three wickets to finish with three apiece from their respective 10 overs (Kobe 3/35, Shiv 3/32). Skipper Lawrence and Baran Kumar claimed the last two wickets to dismiss Blacktown for a below-par 127.

Luke Smith and Baran Kumar opened for the Bears and they took the score along to 0/20 without much fuss. Alas, with the game seemingly in hand, the rain intervened and there was no further play to be had. It was a great shame not to be able to capitalise on a fine bowling effort.

5th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at Tunks International Sports Park

Blacktown Mounties 8/154 (C Savage 4/34, LA Hodge 1/6, F Nixon-Tomko 1/10)

The Bears 5th Grade side were back at Tunks Park to take on 19th placed Blacktown in the final round of the season.

The toss was lost and we were asked to field first. Unfortunately, constant light drizzle meant the ground held some surface water, which affected the condition of the ball. This neutralised our attack somewhat and Blacktown were able to score relatively freely. 

Chris Savage (4/34) again bowled well. However, it was the part time spin of Finn Nixon Tomko (1/10) and Liam Hodge (1/6) - and the full time spinners, Ollie Jennings (1/24) and Patrick Lindsay (1/25) - who negotiated the very wet ball to dry up the runs and restrict Blacktown to 8/154 off 49 overs (reduced due to rain delays).

Over the lunch break the rain got heavier and more constant. After hearing that Penrith (2nd place - 6 points behind) vs Wests game was abandoned, stumps were called and the Bears’ 5th Grade team had secured the Minor Premiership.

Congrats to the squad of 34 players who have represented the team over the past 15 rounds. We were scheduled to play Manly at North Sydney Oval this weekend in the Quarter Finals, but have instead been crowed as Premiers.

Images courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James and Sarah Berman. Pictured - Volunteer Chris Higgs, committee-member, volunteer and canteen manager, Kathy Campbell, and training co-ordinator, Todd Harper watch on intently.

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