Week 1 Wrap vs Eastern Suburbs

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

UTS North Sydney 6/247 (B Atherton 73* J James 69, J Avendano 48, T Reynolds 25) def by Eastern Suburbs 9/248 (O Knight 2/37, J Campbell 2/46, M Alexander 2/50)

Before play on the first day of the new season against Eastern Suburbs at Waverley Oval, new Bears Brent Atherton and Aiden Bariol were presented with their First Grade baggy caps, numbers 675 and 676 respectively.

After being sent in, new opening pair Jack James and Tom Jagot got the batting innings underway - and survived a run out scare on the very first ball!. In the fifth over with 17 on the board, Tom departed, bringing captain Justin Avendano to the crease. Jack and Justin then put together a 107 run partnership for the 2nd wicket with Jack falling for a well made 69 which included 6 fours. Justin was joined by new recruit Brent Atherton, with the pair progressing the score to 3/140 from 35 overs before Justin (48) fell just shy of fifty. Brent then combined with Tim Reynolds (25 off 23) for a 56 run stand off just 53 balls, providing some much-needed momentum pushing the score to 196 in the 43rd over. Olly Knight (8) hit one bomb before being stumped. At the close, both Mac Jenkins (5) and Brent remained not out with the team compiling a slightly under par 6/247. Brent’s run-a-ball 73 included 5 fours and a six which was tipped over the fence by the cow corner fielder.

In the chase, the Dolphins top order made a strong start scoring an even 50 from the first 10 overs. Olly Knight (2/37) claimed the Bears’ first wicket of the innings in over 13, a maiden catch for the club for Aiden Bariol, to have Easts 1/59. With Mac Jenkins keeping things tight from the other end, Olly struck again with a caught and bowled, and by the end of his spell he had figures of 2/14 from five overs. At 2/77 from 20 overs the Bears were back in the hunt, but further wickets were needed to defend the total set. The experienced Robbie Aitken was introduced with the hope of drawing powerful opener Tim Armstrong into a false stroke. Unfortunately, rather than losing wickets Easts, progressed the score to 2/142 from 30 overs and were well placed to cruise to victory.

Strike bowler Campbell was brought back to remove Armstrong, but it was Jack James (1/33) who did the job in his second over, taking Armstrong out for 95 caught at cover by Olly, and giving the Bears a sniff. Overs 32 to 40 saw another 53 runs added by Holt and Byrnes-Howe and once again the Dolphins looked set to swim away with it. Things then got interesting after Mac removed Byrnes-Howe in the 41st and then there was a brilliant team run-out with a throw from James Campbell to Olly, who underarmed to Aidan Bariol to remove the stumps. This left Easts 5/218 needing a further 30 runs from 6 overs. The key wicket of Holt caught behind by Bariol off Matt Alexander for 63 in the 45th was followed by another to Campbell in the 46th, and the following ball a tight single was attempted after the ball ricocheted off the stumps. Campbell fielded off his own bowling and pulled out the stump, certain he had his man, but the umpire was unmoved. Alexander (2/50) cleaned up Henry Thornton in the 47th, whichplaced UTS North Sydney slightly ahead at 8/230 and Easts needing 18 from three overs. The game continued to ebb and flow with a decisive six in the 49th over, which flew barely above the deep mid wicket fielder’s hands, turning the game back in the favour of the home side. Campbell (2/46) bowled the 50th over with the Bears needing two wickets and the Dolphins two runs for victory. A single off the first ball drew the scores level. A sharp catch behind by Bariol on the third ball brought the last pair together and kept the tie alive. On the fourth ball, the number 11 made contact and ran, completing a single to sink the Bears by one wicket.

It was an exciting game, but a disappointing loss, in a very similar fashion to the Bankstown game on the opening day of last season. The boys will need to regroup as they take on Parramatta in a two-day game next week.

2nd Grade UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Bon Andrews

Eastern Suburbs  228 (J Aitken 3/34, B Knox 3/37, W Graham 3/47) def by UTS North Sydney 2/229 (M Papworth 65, J Vilensky 56, G Aitken 54*, R Alexander 47*)

Through the eyes of Sam Alexander

The Second Grade Seahawks turned up to Bon Andrews still high on last week’s trial match win over a hardened Randwick-Petersham side, a side that some would say showed resolve beyond their years.

Whipping out his trusty two-sided coin, GA proceeded to win his 87th toss in a row - a remarkable achievement that blew us all away.

Sending the Dolphins, in we knew the deck was destined to have a little bit in it early. Our assumption proved gospel with James Aitken and Will Graham skittling both openers in their respective first overs of the season.

They were a far cry from the first over last season with Jarrad Ninness bowling one into his own foot and bringing the game into disrepute.

With Ninness fresh in our minds our bowling started to resemble his cricket career, a shining light filled with promise, only to deteriorate as time went on.

Enter Niranjan Naguleswaran.

Niranjan’s loop and guile had the opposition in all sorts, and this built the platform for us to attack.

Benny Knox, warm up son, you’re on.

Knoxy seemed to be nervous in his first over or two, dragging the odd one down and giving himself a serve, but what none of us knew is that it’s all part of an elaborate plan.

Knoxy sucked in the opposition, they became complacent, they thought they were better than our right-arm leggie.

How wrong they were.

Knoxy capitalised, ripping through the Easts top order to take three quick wickets.

Child’s play.

With the set batsman removed and spin taking the pace out of the game, the Bears rolled last-years runners-up Easts for a paltry 228, well short of their projected 300.

New opening pairing Max Papworth and Jordan Vilensky didn’t look out of place as they set about chasing down the total.

Runs came at an ease with beautiful strokeplay, and big bombs courtesy of JV’s huge, girthy levers. Cheers big fella.

With Pappy just out for a run-a-ball 65, but Jordan set with the score at 1-114, level-headed Ray Alexander strides to the crease.

He approaches Vilensky.

“Hey mate, we’ve just lost a set batsman, you’re in and we only need to go at 3s. Let’s walk this in.”

“No worries, mate,” Vilensky quips with a smile.

First ball. Six.

Vilensky goes the distance, and the crowd goes wild.

“Hey mate, nice shot, but head down we can’t afford to lose you just yet.”

Vilensky nods.

The next ball is bowled.

Vilensky clears the front leg.

The ground goes silent. Cars stop in the street. GA; a vein popping out of his head.

Vilensky takes on the big boundary, 80 km/h winds blowing in his direction.

No challenge is too large for the big fella.

Vilensky strikes.

Vilensky connects.

Vilensky’s out.

A hush echoes around the ground. GA; his silence betrays his inner anger.

Vilensky departs the field for a well-made 56…but only one bomb.

Easts are back in the game.

Or so they thought.

In what pundits are describing as a “masterclass in batting”, Ray Alexander, who also happens to be my older, more talented brother, comes together with GA, still fuming with Vilensky’s ignorance but knowing his time will come.

GA and Ray take us from 2-126 all the way to 2-229. For you mathematicians out there, that’s a match-winning unbroken partnership of 103, with 4.3 overs to spare.

In layman’s terms; they absolute pieced them up. 

The boys hit the sheds and are led by one of the most enthusiastic versions of the club song ever seen, courtesy of young Ben Knox. Rumour has it he’s still banging away on that bin, screaming at the top of his lungs. Good for you son.

With 6 points in the bag we head to Old Kings bristling with momentum, our head in the clouds but our feet still firmly on the ground.

Over to you, Parra.

Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Jeff Vilensky, Sarah Berman and Easts Cricket.