Round 9 Wrap vs Penrith

1st Grade UTS North Sydney vs Penrith at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 291 (B Bryant 86, G Lavelle 55*, T Reynolds 38, T Jagot 37, M Alexander 33) def by Penrith 2/346 (M Jenkins 1/41, M Alexander 1/79)

After finishing 2019 with a courageous win against Fairfield-Liverpool in extreme temperatures, UTS North Sydney took on 2018-19 finalists, Penrith, on our home turf in the first match of the new year. The re-match of last season’s semi-final was played in cool conditions under overcast skies, with the white background making it difficult to pick up the white ball in the field.

While the smoke from Sydney bushfires halted play for several hours in the Fairfield game, it was the opening batsman for Penrith that were on fire for several hours on a very flat North Sydney pitch. Opener, and NSW Blues contracted player, Ryan Gibson, put on a master class, hitting the ball hard into gaps with precision. He was well supported by fellow rookie-contracted player Ryan Hackney, who punched singles to give his partner the strike.

Opening quicks James Campbell and Will Graham hit the pitch hard, accumulating dots, but were unable to stem the steady flow of boundaries. If anything, the batsman seamed to enjoy the ball coming onto the bat. After 6 overs it was no wicket for 30. Leading NSW Premier Cricket wicket taker Matt Alexander was introduced in the 8th over and, to his credit, he laid 14 dots on the openers in his three over spell. Unfortunately, anything slightly loose was put away with Gibson landing a six in the gutter of the O’Reilly Stand, requiring a new white ball. Gibson hit an even bigger six over the O’Reilly Stand in Matt’s next over. First change bowler Olly Knight bowled four tidy overs to be 0/14 from his first spell. With the score at 0/69 after 13 overs, young left arm spinner Mac Jenkins (pictured) was given a crack. He also bowled tidily to record figures of 0/18 from his 4 over spell. Robbie Aiken joined Jenkins in the 19th over with only one run off his first. However, still no wickets and 102 runs on the board after 21 overs.

It is a credit to the Bears fielding effort that the scoring rate was kept in check. Youngster Jack James made several impressive saves in the gully diving left and right, as did Ben Bryant and Tim Reynolds making some sliding saves on the boundary. Will Graham and Mac Jenkins were also busy in the field stopping a number of firmly struck shots.

Round 9 cover

After 25 overs with the score at 0/123, the two set batsman looked to lift the run rate. Gibson brought up his 100 off 90 balls and his 150 off 120 balls. There were a couple of run out opportunities, but it was really a matter of waiting for a mistake. Gibson made his intentions clear taking three consecutive sixes off Aiken in the 38th over to progress the score to 0/245. Finally, a mistake in the 41st over, as Gibson hit a ball off Mac Jenkins (1/41) high into the outfield. Ben Bryant came in off the rope and with the ball holding up had to dive forward to catch the ball low down. It was a brilliant catch and one that had to be taken. Gibson was out for 188 after a partnership of 268 for the first wicket. At the completion of the over Penrith were 1/274 with 9 overs remaining and Hackney on 73. Hackney smashed another 54 runs to finish 131 not out. Matt Alexander (1/79) grabbed the wicket of Liddiard in the 49th, with the Penrith innings coming to a close at 2/346 from their 50 overs.

The run chase got off to a positive start with openers Ben Bryant (86) and Tom Jagot (37) reaching 75 after 14 overs. Jagot started quickly hitting several boundaries, while Bryant took his time. It was tough trying to find the boundary once the field had spread and Tom perished, caught at deep square leg attempting to go over the rope. The loss of Jagot brought Jack James (12) to the crease, James supported Bryant with several singles and twos before mishitting a pull shot off the same bowler, also to deep square. A quickfire 73 run partnership between Bryant and Tim Reynolds (38) moved the score to 2/177 in the 31st over. Tim rode his luck, but slotted two shots to the boundary and two over the boundary in his brief innings.
At this stage the Bears were on track for what would have been a remarkable victory. All that was required was a lazy 170 runs from 19 overs. However, disaster struck in the 32nd over with the second spell of opening bowler, Collins. Ben went after a bouncy delivery and only succeeding in skying an easy catch close to the pitch. Two balls later, Olly Knight gloved one for another easy catch by the keeper from his first ball faced. In the first ball of the next over, Tim missed one to be bowled by the spinner, Williams. 

The Bears were reduced to 5/181, with two new batsman, George Lavelle and Robbie Aiken at the crease. The next four overs only netted 10 runs and with run rate pressure building George hit his first of three sixes to progress the score to 5/198 from 36. When Aiken was caught at backward point it was 6/209 from 39. From here the Bears needed more than 12 runs per over. Lavelle was joined by Matt Alexander (33) with the pair putting on 59 runs off 41 balls and the score 7/267. However, to win the game we needed 80 from 30 balls or 16 runs an over. It was not to be as Lavelle batted with intent, clearing the rope three times to compile his second fifty of the Australian summer and his maiden 1st Grade fifty for North Sydney. George brought up his fifty with a six. James Campbell (17) also hit some long balls before he was caught in the last over. Will Graham followed the next ball and we were all out 291. A good score, but not good enough.

It is on to Manly in another one dayer to face our local rivals in a must win game as the pack has crept up behind us on the ladder. 

2nd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Penrith at Howell Oval

UTS North Sydney 8/173 (N Naguleswaran 50, AA Shaikh 43*) def Penrith 108 (J Aitken 4/16, N Naguleswaran 2/7, S Alexander 2/7, F May 2/40)

After a pleasant drive out to Howell Oval, the Second Grade Seagulls arrived full of momentum after the Christmas break. 

A classic game of 5 on 4 ensued, and Sam ‘Shaun Johnson’ Alexander was again the star, with 3 try assists and a four-pointer for himself. Thanking Cam New’s lack of mobility. 

The deck was green and skipper Glenn was keen to bowl. Enter Alexander and Papworth. The seasoned veterans - part of an unofficial ‘leadership group’ - got in the skipper’s ear and let him know the wicket will surely crumble in the afternoon. 

Glenn proceeded to win the toss (his 85th win in a row) and elected to bat. 

At 4/30 we were both looking extremely sheepish. Thank god for Niranjan (50) and Ali (43 not out). These two weapons came together in an 88-run stand that showcased unfathomable skill. Niranjan, however, was guilty of chewing up a few dots which the opposition were quick to point out. At 7-70 the big fella really should’ve looked to clear the front foot. Hit out or get out I say. 

The Seagulls finished on 8/173 with the two lower-order bats getting us into the contest and giving us something to defend. Thanking them greatly. 

With the wicket flattening out and no sign of crumble in sight, Penrith blew out to 0-50 off 10. Pappy and your faithful scribe, still extremely sheepish, held our faith. 

That faith was well-placed with James Aitken absolute rissoling the Penrith top order. The bloke bowled an unbelievable spell that could only be described as a masterclass. The spell was not without controversy however. 

As the Penrith no.3 strode to the crease, full of swagger with the rig to match, he was accosted by none other than half-century maker Niranjan Naguleswaran. Turns out their no.3 had a few choice words for Niranjan as he made his way to 50, and like an elephant, Naguleswaran doesn’t forget. 

A polite exchange of views ensued, with Naguleswaran on top early, landing hefty blow after hefty blow. The crowd was stunned. Their no.3 didn’t know what hit him. Left, right, left, uppercut, the bloke still dazed as his off peg was ripped out of the ground. Naguleswaran sealing the hammer blow one final riposte. Good god it was beautiful. 

Remarkably, the passionate back-and forth continued into the drinks huddle, however it only served to poke the Bears.  The cerebral and considered dialogue clearly destablised the whole Penrith side, however, as they lost 8/55, crumbling to 108 all out. 

Shoutouts must be given to Fletch and Niranjan who bowled beautifully to support James Aitken in a team effort that had to be seen to be believed. Notable mention to Alexander who took his touch form into the middle, pitching one a metre outside leg and clipping the top of off after building pressure with a few accurate dots, followed by a one handed catch to Broc Hardy in a partnership that stirred memories of Warne and Boon.

The song was sung loud and proud as we look to take all the aggression and momentum back to North Sydney next week, coming up against Manly-Warringah. 

Thanking all, but mostly GA’s double-sided coin. 

3rd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Penrith at Bon Andrews

UTS North Sydney 235 (J Hardy 81, C Spratt 50, J Vilensky 30) def  Penrith 131 (A Amir 5/25, JD Graham 2/7, I Merlehan 2/40)AA

Third Grade achieved an outstanding bonus point win against 4th placed Penrith, with the win moving them into 9th place and into finals contention with more of the same. 

Norths lost the toss and were sent in by their opposition. Openers Chris Spratt and Dhruva Thorat put on 34 for the first wicket. Spratt was joined by Jordan Vilensky, (30) for a 54 run partnership, before Spratt fell for an even 50 off 51 balls. Another solid partnership between Vilensky and Jake Hardy ensued to take the score to 143 after 27 overs. Three quick wickets saw the team reduced to 5/155 before a 40 odd run partnership between Hardy and Jacob Graham moved the score to 196. Wickets then fell regularly with Jake finishing last man out on 81.  It is a welcome return to form with the 81 being his first fifty since October in a PGs game.

Third grade debutant Fraser Noack (1/23) got the team off to a dream start with a wicket in his first over. Penrith steadied to reach 40 before two quick wickets to Jacob Graham (2/7) put us right on top at 3/42. Ahmer Amir (pictured) was introduced into the attack in the 23rd over having immediate success with a wicket in his first over. Amir (5/25) bowled unchanged with Izaak Merlehan (2/40) to decimate the Penrith batting line up and in the process took five poles. It is his maiden 5fa in grade cricket. In the end Penrith were dismissed for 131 – and the Bears walked away with a  valuable bonus point.

4th Grade UTS North Sydney vs Penrith at Bill Ball Oval

UTS North Sydney 132 (F Nixon-Tomko 41) def by Penrith 5/137

4s won the toss and chose to bat hoping to create some scoreboard pressure. The Penrith opening attack bowled well with UTS North Sydney limping along. When new opener Tim Robson departed for 10, it began a flurry of wickets with numbers 3, 4 and 5 all registering ducks and we were very much on the ropes at 4/21. Finn Nixon-Tomko batted through scoring 40 with some lovely pull shots and for a period of time in combination with young Hamish Reynolds (20 odd) we started to find our feet. The pair put together a 50 run stand for the 5th wicket. However, as is the case routinely instead of pushing the opposition hard with low risk options we lose wickets in clumps and in the end we finished with 132 with a few single figure scores and 24 from Lachlan Stewart pushing us beyond the 100 mark.

In reply we started well with Jack Thomas (1/17 off 10) and Tim Robson (1/21 off 9) both taking an early wicket to have Penrith 2/7, but consistency with the ball would only bear fruit if the Penrith team batted recklessly, which they didn’t. Their captain Brent Newman waited for the overpitched ball dispatching it to the boundary and pushed quick singles, showing the UTS North Sydney top order how it should be done.

Another disappointing loss for the Bears and one we need to bounce back from big time, to help the Bears secure Club Championship points.

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

UTS North Sydney 8/187 (B Fisher 50, A Rana 26) def  Penrith 179 (P Lindsey 2/9, A Wright 2/34, S Balbi 2/39, A Rana 2/47)

5s returned to Tunks to take on ladder leaders Penrith in a top of the table clash. With post-Christmas unavailabilities biting, an inexperienced team was named, including two debutants.

The Bears won the toss and elected to bat and got off to a strong start via Green Shielders Olly Jennings and Ben Fisher (on debut). The youngsters put on a mature opening stand of 67 before Jennings was dismissed for 21.  Luke Smith and Fisher moved the score to 96, however after the dismissal of Fisher for 50 with the score on 107, the wheels fell off and the Bears collapsed to be 7/127. With the team in a bit of bother the second of the young debutants, Aki Rana (26) and Ben Revai (24) counterpunched brilliantly advancing the score to 8/187 at the close  to provide a competitive total.

Penrith got off to a flyer, attacking the bowling and quickly moved the score to 59 before Lindsay (2/9 off 10) trapped the opener for the first wicket. Sol Balbi took a difficult outfield catch off the bowling of Rana (2/47 off 10) to dismiss the aggressive opener and the Bears sensed they could get some control back.  The Bears kept chipping away, with Archie Wright (2-34 off 10) bowling particularly well, as we slowly built pressure and took our chances. Nevertheless, Penrith took it deep needing an achievable 32 off 4 with 2 wickets in hand. Ben Revai (1/45 off 10) bowled a terrific 47th over going for only 2 runs, which put us in front and Sol Balbi (2/39 off 9.5) took the last two wickets in the 48th and 50th overs. The wickets were shared around, but Patrick Lindsey was the pick of the bowlers with 10 overs 5 maidens 2/9.

It was a gutsy win in a high pressure game. A really pleasing result considering the age and experience of the team!  We now sit atop of the ladder and move on to Manly next week.

Women's 3rd Grade UTS North Sydney v St George-Sutherland at Gifford Park

Sutherland 3/141 (L Warren 1/29) def UTS North Sydney 6/90 (G O’Brien 37*)


In the first game of the Women’s Third Grade T20 competition UTS North Sydney drew St George Sutherland, who were the winners of the 40 overs per side competition that was completed in December. It was always going to be a tough assignment against a quality team – but we knew we were in for some great cricket!

The Bears won the toss and decided to bowl.  The field was a little rough around the edges, but there was a relaxed vibe in the air. There was a comment by the opposition that our team was ‘half their age’, and as we were to see, there was certainly some cricket experience in the Sutherland team!

Lucy Warren (1/29) and Leela Uthappa (0/15) opened the bowling for Norths, with the batters showing their intent, hitting a six from the 2nd ball.  Sutherland already had 25 runs on the board when Lucy beautifully clean bowled one of their openers in the third over.  From there it settled a bit, and Sutherland steadily ticked over the runs punctuated by a few more fours before two of their players were retired not out after reaching 31 and 33 respectively. The Bears took two more wickets in the last two overs of the game - both run-outs. The first was created by some more than handy fielding from Ani Uthappa and the second, was a brilliant direct hit from Tilly Kingsmill. UTS North Sydney needed a score of 141 in 20 overs to knock off the St George Sutherland total.


Captain Genevieve O'Brien (pictured) and Amelia Sim in her first game back from injury, opened the batting and steadily built a partnership while respecting the bowling experience from the opposition.  In the spirit of the game, Sutherland commented that our batters were hitting 'proper cricket', referring to the range of shots our girls were playing and the clear calling between the batters.  Both players were getting in their groove when Amelia was bowled for 14 in the 7th over with the score at 31. Lucy Warren (14) joined Genevieve in the middle with the pair adding a further 24 runs to the total. Both players cleared the rope, and for Lucy it was her first ever 6!!  Unfortunately, she was run out in the 11th over with the score on 55. Wicket Keeper Grace Keating joined Genevieve at the crease and offered great support until Genevieve was retired not out on 37 in the 14th over. Oops! bad scorers, players are supposed to be retired at 30....the last two hits were fours, so not a bad result - would have been nice to see her stay out there a bit longer. In quick succession we lost our next two batters, the Uthappa sisters, Leela and Ani without scoring. Edwina (Eddy) Chappel (6) was next in, but just as she and Grace were starting to form a great partnership, Eddy was run out in the 19th over.  In the last over of the game the Bears lost Tilly Kingsmill LBW. This gave Maisie Mills, from the UK, who was making her Aussie debut an opportunity with the willow. Maisie (1) and Grace (14) finished the 20 overs not out. 

After 20 overs we had 6/90 - a great effort with some new players and also some returning after being away from the game for a while.  We batted out our 20 overs against a much more experienced side and did ourselves proud!  Come on next week - Manly.

Go Bears!

AW Green Shield vs Gordon at Killara Oval, Parramatta at Merrylands Oval and Blacktown Mounties at Joe MacAleer Oval

Round 4: UTS North Sydney 5/250 (cc) (A Nigul 82, O Jennings 52*) def by Gordon 8/251 (L Opacic 2/51, O Jennings 1/33, A Rana 1/38, C Smith 1/41)

Round 5: UTS North Sydney 149 (A Gotsis 43) def by Parramatta 232 (A Clark 3/49, L Opacic 2/25, T Laybutt 2/32)

Round 6: UTS North Sydney 106 (H Davis 29) def by Blacktown  6/109 (L Opacic 3/16)

UTS North Sydney came up against Gordon at Killara Oval in Round 4 of the AW Green Shield competition played on Sunday 5 January.

Captain Harry Davis won his 6th toss in a row and elected to bat. A bright start got us to 45 before the first wicket fell in the 7th over when the sometimes unpredictable bounce of the wicket claimed it’s first victim, Hamish Reynolds for 11. Zac Keogh (13) and Aditya Nigul then continued with Zac also falling victim to bounce. Ben Fisher (24) and Aditya then compiled a 74 run partnership featuring some excellent stroke play by Aditya in particular, before he fell trying to keep the run rate going, for a game high 82 runs. The pair moved the score along to 155. Unfortunately, Ben departed soon after with the score on 157. Oliver Jennings and Akshit Rana (22) came together in the 33rd over, putting on a further 58 runs for the 5th wicket, before Aki lost his stumps trying to force the run rate in the closing overs. His demise brought Harry Davis to the crease, who scored a quick fire 14 runs from 7 balls to finish off the innings at 5 for 250. The innings of Oliver Jennings deserves special mention. Oliver finished on 52 not out from 46 balls - a great knock featuring some patience at the start and some power hitting to help us post a competitive total. Apart from the variable bounce at times, there was not a lot of sideways movement off the pitch, and it was a fast outfield with a short boundary on one side. Our batsmen had done well, but our bowlers would need to be disciplined to secure a win.

Country quick Callum Smith (1/41) was back and opened up with Toby Laybutt (0/39). There was a nick in the first over that was missed by our slips and went for 4 and Callum went close to taking a caught and bowled. However, it was not until Luke Opacic came on and hit the right length to take advantage of the variable bounce, that wickets started to fall, with Luke cleaning up both openers in his opening spell.  Our spinners took over in the middle overs with Oliver Jennings (1/33) getting a smart stumping from a batter that was keen to advance off a wide, with a good effort from Harry Davis behind the stumps. Aaki Rana tied them down and got his reward with a smart catch from Zac Keogh giving him tidy figures of 1 for 38.  With the score moving to 4/167 at the end of the 35th over, Callum Smith and Toby Laybutt were re-introduced into the attack. Callum looked to have Gordon’s key batter out caught behind – the celebrations had already started ….except the umpire was unmoved – not out. Callum then removed his partner in his next over - caught behind and we were still in it. A further wicket courtesy of a Toby Laybutt run-out left Gordon at 6/195 with 8 overs to go. After a not so good first spell, Hamish Reynolds came back on to bowl the 42nd over. He restricted the batters scoring, forcing them to take a risky single, with Charlie Sharp pulling off a direct hit run out to finally dismiss Gordon’s key man and turn things back in our direction again reducing Gordon to 7/196. The boys squeezed hard, but unfortunately a cameo from the Gordon number 8 who hit 38 from 30 got them across the line with just two balls remaining. It was a fabulous effort, but heartbreaking to fall so agonisingly close to our first win.

It was a great game, the boys should be super proud of the effort they put in against one of the better teams in the competition. I agreed with the manager of the opposition who said he thought we were the better team on the day and just a bit unlucky. Oh so close!

Images and recordings courtesy of David James, Tony Johnson, Jacqui Eyles, Chris O'Brien and team captains