Week 1 Wrap vs Western Suburbs

1st Grade Round 1: UTS North Sydney v Western Suburbs at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 4/336 (cc) (JN James 101 J Avendano 69, TA Jagot 64, A Bariol 47, TL Reynolds 29*) def Western Suburbs 9/279 (R Aitken 5/42, M Jenkins 2/42)

November 6, the official start date for the 2021/22 NSW Premier Cricket competition, and what a cracker of a day. Beautiful blue skies and warm conditions greeted players and a sprinkling of locals at the scenic Bon Andrews Oval. The Oval looked hard, flat and very fast, with signs of a walking track trampled into the areas surrounding the boundary.

To get things underway there was a special ceremony recognising Keith Rodgie, a North Sydney legend and Alan Davidson, a Western Suburbs legend, with both men having passed away recently. Keith played for the club for over 30 years, held positions on the committee, coached at our junior club, and was a long-time supporter, especially when his son, David, and grandsons, Scott and Justin, represented the Bears. It was fitting to mark his passing with a moment’s silence.

The toss was won by the visitors, and they had no hesitation in sending the Bears in to take advantage of any moisture in the pitch from the previous night’s rain.

Despite the odd ball sticking in the wicket, it was business as usual for openers Tom Jagot and Jack James, who took control of the game from the outset with a combination of singles, boundaries, and solid defensive shots to frustrate the Magpies’ opening bowlers and force the opposition captain into a defensive mindset in the field. Jagot was in great touch, smashing seven boundaries on his way to fifty and with the partnership passing 100 it was looking like a repeat of the pain these two batsmen dished out to Wests at Pratten Park last season (177 runs* before rain and lightning stopped play).

Unfortunately, Tom missed out, dismissed for a well-made 64 from 75 balls, including eight fours in a partnership of 115. Jack was then joined by Justin Avendano, who wasted no time getting stuck into the bowlers. His first scoring shot was a six off the opening bowler. He then hit twenty runs from the second over he faced and quickly raced to 28 off 14. Jack brought up his fifty shortly after with a free hit six over the bowler’s head and then contributed with three boundaries in the 30th over, an over that went for 21 runs and moved Justin to 49. Justin took a single in the next over to reach fifty from just 25 balls. The Wests bowlers did a good job to peg our boys back a little with Justin being bowled for 69 from 44 rocks when the team score was 2/222 in the 37th over. A feature of Justin’s innings was the five towering sixes – one hit onto the freeway and perhaps hitting a car and several others putting the park patrons in danger.

Aiden Bariol joined Jack in the middle, who had moved to 77. By the 40th over, UTS North Sydney had compiled 233 runs and it was time to put the foot down with 46 runs scored from the next five overs and Jack moving to 99. Aiden scored most of those runs, despatching the spinners who were operating in tandem for four boundaries and two sixes. In the 46th over, Jack bought up his second First Grade ton from 127 balls with 11 fours and one six. Aiden cracked a four from the next ball before being bowled for 47 from just 30 balls and by the end of the 46th over the Bears were 3/294. Jack fell at the start of the 47th finishing with 101, leaving Tim Reynolds and Brent Atherton to bring it home. Tim (29*) and Brent (12*) did not disappoint, piling on another 41 runs to move the total to 4/336.

The wicket had flattened out and, despite an excellent total, it was going to be hard work to dislodge the Wests batsmen. James Campbell, Matt Alexander and Olly Knight all had a dip at the openers, bowling plenty of dots but it was tough to contain the boundaries as Wests moved to 67 without loss from the first 10 overs.

Spin was introduced in the 12th over with immediate success as Mac Jenkins took a low down caught and bowled to grab the first wicket for the home team and have the Magpies 1/75. The wicket slowed the momentum a little with Wests moving past 100 by the 19th over. Jack James (0/26 off 5) was giving an opportunity from the Cammeray end and, despite keeping things relatively tight, he could not add to the wicket tally. After 27 overs and 149 on the board, it was time for the Bears’ strike bowler, James Campbell to return. Campbell (1/51 from 10) was hit for 7 runs from the first over of his new spell but followed up a maiden by Mac with a wicket maiden of his own to dismiss the dangerous Josh Clarke with a confident lbw shout and reduce Wests to 2/156 at the end of the 30th.

Despite two wickets down, the Wests batsmen picked up the pace and moved the score past 200 in the 36th over. Robbie Aitken started his spell quite late in the piece, but after two relatively quiet overs he turned the game on its head with consecutive wickets in the 37th over. The first was a sharp stumping by Aiden Bariol and the second an lbw, and Robbie was suddenly on a hat-trick. Matt Alexander (1/52 from 8) then returned from the City end to claim the fifth wicket courtesy of a brilliant driving catch at cover by Tim Reynolds, and Wests were 5/208 in the 38th.

With 10 overs remaining, Wests needed close to 12 an over to win the game, and with the batsmen coming after him, Robbie spun his magic. He took a further three wickets, the first a miscued slog sweep straight to Mac and the second an excellent catch by Bariol behind the stumps. The final wicket was taken on the boundary by Campbell and Robbie (5/42 off 9) had added a 14th First Grade five wicket haul to his resume, his eighth for the Bears. Mac Jenkins (2/42 off 10) completed a great day for the spinners, clean bowling the no.9. Wests finished up 9 down for 279, 57 runs short of the Bears’ total.

It was a magnificent way to start the season, a convincing victory, a hundred, two fifties and a five-fa with all players contributing towards a great team effort.

2nd Grade Round 1: UTS North Sydney v Western Suburbs at Pratten Park

UTS North Sydney 140 (F May 33, JD Graham 28) def by Western Suburbs 8/226 (cc) (KS Allison 3/54, J Aitken 2/28, S Alexander 2/52)

In a disappointing day on Saturday, Second Grade slumped to an 86-run loss to Western Suburbs side that simply played better cricket than us.

Bowling first, a great platform was laid early through the bowling of James Aitken (2/28) and Brad Wilson (0/29), with Kobe Allison (3/54), Fletcher May (1/43) and Sam Alexander (2/52) supporting with fair performances but struggling for consistency at times. Two wickets each to JA and Kobe had the opposition 4/70 after 20, giving us a great opportunity to go on with the job. However, Wests doubled their score to 5/137 before Fletch grabbed the next wicket. Two more wickets fell at 182 and 183, the first to Samoz and a third to Kobe. Sam took the 8th Magpies wicket in the final over with the target of 226 looking to be well within our reach.

The bowling was however let down by our performance in the field, with our side gifting Western Suburbs somewhere between 30-50 runs. Skipper Glenn described us as still having ‘rust’ from pre-season, which was evident in the lack of match awareness, intensity and execution of basic skills. All the while, Wests capitalised and showed us how to bat – with intent, rotation of strike, utilising gaps and the small boundary and sticking to a simple game plan.

With the bat Jacob Graham (28) and Fletcher May (33) got starts with four other players reaching double figures. At 3/100 in the 29th, we were well placed, but regular wickets from there and the loss of 4/7 at the end saw us all out for 140 with 10 overs remaining.

There was nothing particularly special about Wests’ batting and bowling, we were our own worst enemy – we let them out of jail in the field, we let them bowl to us, we let them dominate us and this was reflected in the score line.

There were some positives to take out of the game with Brad Wilson’s impressive debut, the ever-consistent James Aitken showing his class again and the odd nice moment in the field. However, the biggest thing we can take away from the game is the lesson learnt in how to play one-day cricket.


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