Week 11 Wrap vs Penrith, Bankstown, Sydney, Illawarra and Easts

1st Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney vs Penrith at Howell Oval

UTS North Sydney 7d/368 (J Greenslade 114, T Reynolds 70, M Jenkins 69, R Aitken 41*, B Atherton 33) def Penrith 318 (O Knight 3/51, S Alexander 2/47, F May 2/52)

Another round, another hard-fought win for our undefeated First Grade team, who sit proudly in second place on the ladder. The margin of 50 runs looks more comfortable than it felt at times, but in the end a team performance with the ball and several superb catches secured the result for the Bears.

The Bears resumed on 324 and elected to bat on for a few overs, which was later proven to be a wise decision. Justin Avendano remained absent due to injury, but an unbroken partnership of 31 off 26 balls between Robbie Aitken and James Campbell was exactly what we needed, taking the score to 7/368 off 102 when Mac Jenkins called them in. This left 88 overs to bowl the Panthers out to claim the points.

Like Brent Atherton at the start of our innings, Ryan Gibson went off like a train, racing to 18 including 12 off an over. But the first of the day’s superb catches, from James Rew diving across the slips off Olly Knight’s first ball, sent the Adelaide Strikers man back to the sheds. The wicket slowed the run rate considerably, and the Bears secured two more wickets either side of lunch to have Penrith 3/68 in the 20th – a brilliant reflex grab out of the air by James Campbell at mid-wicket off Fletcher May and a more regulation catch behind by Rew off Knight.

With their keeper-bat Tyran Liddard, absent injured after spraining his ankle in warm-up and the top three back in the sheds, the onus was on the Panthers’ middle order if the game was to be a contest, and numbers 4 to 6 responded in style through two excellent partnerships. At the centre of both was Brent Williams, and until he fell for an impressive 138, the game could have gone either way. Williams added 79 with Jordan Browne before Browne skied a catch to the bowler, Sam Alexander, and tea was taken shortly later at 4/164. This left 205 to be scored in the final session or five wickets to take, but 41 overs were still to be bowled – all results firmly on the table.

Williams and Henry Railz rode their luck after tea with a direct hit and a couple of nearly-catches that didn’t quite go to hand, but halved the deficit in the 18 overs bowled before the final drinks break to have a few of the UTS North Sydney faithful more than slightly concerned. But the boys in the middle knew one wicket would open everything up, and so it proved – a leading edge from Williams caught by Mac Jenkins off May got Bears tails right up, and Penrith’s last hope disappeared when May caught Railz in the deep off Matt Alexander. This was 6/310, and the last three wickets (given the absence of Liddiard) only added a further 8 runs – another great catch by Campbell, a stumping to Rew and, fittingly, the last wicket a clean bowled to Olly Knight, who’d started the ball rolling by dismissing Gibson.

A very contented squad enjoyed a beer on the outfield before the journey home, reflecting on a job very well done in the early season two-dayers. We move now into the mid-season white-ball phase, with four successive 50-over matches straddling the Christmas break, starting with Sutherland at North Sydney Oval next Saturday.

2nd Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 4/181 (A Cavenor 52, S Gumbs 44, J Aitken 26*) def Penrith 91 (H May 3/20, J Aitken 3/24, J Hedges 2/11, J Rodgie 2/16) & 9/189 (H May 4/32, J Hedges 3/31)

With the points already secured on day one, second grade eagerly arrived at Tunks International Sports Park looking for four more.

Captain Stewart declaring straight away, looking to make use of the combination of a new Kookaburra and a fresh Tunks wicket.

Unfortunately they were met with some resistance, the Penrith opening pair taking their time, grinding out the new ball, before Hedges struck to remove the opener. Rodgie then removed the number 3 cheaply, and with the day still young, ten points was very much on the cards.

The Panthers continued to resist however, with a steady stream of starts, stemming the quick flow of wickets, the visitors aim here was to suck as much time out of the game as possible, and they were succeeding.

The big horse Harry May caught fire late in the day but too much time had passed, and ultimately it will be a missed opportunity for the Bears, having some chances go down through the course of the day.

Nonetheless, six points, a song and second place on the ladder are what the upstarts gained over the course of the last two weeks. They hope to continue their form next week as they head to Glenn McGrath Oval to take on a winless Sutherland in a one day fixture.

3rd Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Bill Ball Oval

UTS North Sydney 9/185 (B Kumar 73, H Reynolds 39) (82.3 overs) def by Penrith 6/214 (N Whyte 2/37, B Kumar 2/39)

3s were back to Bill Ball Oval for Day 2 of our clash with Penrith.

The decision was made to bat on and Baran Kumar and Brad Wilson quickly added 17 runs to our overnight total resulting in the Panthers requiring 203 for victory from 75 overs.

Nuwan Whyte got the Bears off to a perfect start dismissing an opener in the 1st over caught behind. His opening partner Brad Wilson had the number 3 out cheaply, also caught behind, with the score on 2/18.

The other Penrith opener chanced his arm and the Bears were a little sloppy in the field - not capitalising on half chances. Skipper Lindsay turned to Baran Kumar (2/39 off 12) who removed the #4 caught and bowled off a beautiful slower ball. A few overs later he got the crucial wicket of the opener caught in the covers and at 4/88 the game was in the balance.

From here the Penrith skipper took control as he steered his side to victory. Again the Bears missed some half chances, with Nuwan Whyte (2/37 off 15) the pick of the bowlers. Nuwan have absolutely everything in his 2nd spell and deserved more success.

Penrith ultimately passed the Bears total 6 down however then their skipper, who had batted marvellously, proceeded to make a mockery of cricket etiquette by batting on for reasons that can best be described as daft. This did allow keeper John Nevell a chance to roll the arm over and alas a sky ball was dropped off his bowling, ruining Nevs chances of a maiden grade wicket.

With only one win from 6, it’s desperate times for 3s who host Sutherland at Bon Andrews in Round 7.

Women's 3rd Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Bankstown at O’Neill Park

UTS North Sydney 6/125 (A Gibbons 32*, E Aitken 20) def Bankstown 3/110 (N Bhavan 2/20, E McKay 1/35)

The Women’s Third Grade Bears took on Bankstown in a T20 this week, hoping to replicate our success against them two weekends ago. We lost the toss and were sent into the field. Our opening bowlers, Anjali D’Cunha (0/11 off 4) and Nanthana Bhavan (2/20 off 4) did well to keep Bankstown’s runs down in the beginning. However, wickets weren’t coming easily, with Bankstown’s openers both retiring on the mandatory 30 runs. More tidy overs came from Emily Aitken (0/21) and Bernie Robson (0/22). We reached a breakthrough with our first wicket coming from Evy McKay (1/35) against a dangerous number three batter who started to speed up the run rate. Nanthana then took two quick wickets in the last over to keep their total down, finishing on 110 runs.

Bernie Robson (18) and Evy McKay (16) opened the batting with some quick boundaries that set us up nicely. Our run rate started to slow, but Emily Aitken (20) came to the crease determined to score plenty of quick singles. Reaching a crucial point in the chase and in need of some quick runs, we sent Amy Gibbons and Kayla Robson in. Kayla (15 off 11 deliveries) scored speedily, as did Amy (32* off 16), leading to her retirement. At this point, we needed just a handful of runs to win, which Hetti Blackburn (5* off 2) and Anjali d’Cunha (5* off 7) quickly scored.

4th Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 9/310d (86 overs) (A Thomas 106*, A Nigul 51, A Amir 32, R Adabala 32, R Broom 26) def Penrith 201 (H Charles 4/62, J Thomas 3/29)

Only one thing was on the mind of the North Sydney Fourth Grade side arriving to Bon Andrews on Saturday, and that was converting their fabulous first day performance into six points.

Aiden Thomas led the charge, as Perry decided to bat on to put the pressure on the visitors. Aiden continued where he left off last week, with some glorious stroke play. He brought up his maiden grade 100 in style, with a sleek cover drive to the fence. A moment the young man will never forget – despite trying to down play it when he came off “it doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved anything”, we may need to invest in some media training for next season…

Aiden finished on 106*, with Henry Charles and Vrushab Kumar adding some lusty blows to leave Penrith a mammoth chase of 311 to win off 72 overs.

Penrith came out all guns blazing, knowing they needed to make the most of the new ball, going at almost a run a ball for the first 6 overs, led by one of the openers. In stepped the man in form, Henry ‘King’ Charles, on fourth grade debut, removing the dangerous batsmen, caught stunningly by Robin Broom at mid off.

As a result of this, the run rate began to slow and the Bears could settle into their brand of cricket, ‘squeezing’ the batsmen. Charles and Jack Thomas continued to produce one of the better combinations of swing bowling seen at fourth grade level. Both bowled with control and accuracy, frustrating the Penrith batsmen.

Jack decided to test if the other open could play the short ball, which we found out he could not, caught by Karan at square leg. Charles continued his assault, removing the number three caught at first slip sharply by Aiden Thomas. Another wicket, leg before, to Jack saw the visitors reeling heading into tea having lost 4/23.

Post tea it was more of the same from Charles and Thomas. Charles having the ball on a string, getting it to go both ways, picking up a well set up leg before and caught behind, whilst Thomas removed the dangerous number 5 taking his off peg.

The bears were met with some resistance from the Penrith captain, who patiently built his innings. Vrushab Kumar injected himself into the game, taking two crucial wickets pre and post the final drinks break. The Bears had Penrith 9/133, however the game was not dead as a final wicket partnership threatened to derail the Bears picnic. Ravi Adabala and Ahmer Amir had other ideas, combining for the final wicket, Amir taking a one hander at short cover to finish the Panthers off, all out 201.

A huge day, which belonged to Aiden, Henry and Jack, all putting their hands up and carrying the team to victory. Next up, a trip to Sutherland Oval to face the Sharks and a potential match up with former Australian Test Cricketer, Stuart Clark.

5th Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Rance Oval

UTS North Sydney 234 (C Lloyd 59, O Jennings 50, D Singh 45, N Desai 27) def Penrith 129 (Nihal Desai 7/35)

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

So said William Shakespeare over 400 years ago. I don’t know if he was watching down upon Rance Oval on Saturday, but if he was then he saw Nihal Desai. Born great, with the ability to land leg spinners and googlies with ease. Having greatness thrust upon him, with 20.2 overs in the heat of a sunny Werrington afternoon. Achieving greatness, with figures of 7/35 on a wicket where scoring runs was hard, but taking them was even harder.

The day began innocuously enough. The Bears returned to Rance with runs on the board and conditions largely unchanged from a week ago. Ordinarily, this would be a day of hard, grinding cricket, but clearly Nihal doesn’t do ordinary. Good pressure from the openers saw only 3 runs from the first 9 overs of the day before Tom Cole (8-3-13-1) finally forced an error, the opener skying a pull shot that was well caught by Andrew Spring in the outfield. Soon after, Desai began his masterclass, first having the other opener bowled without offering a shot then deceiving the number 4 with a ball that did all sorts to snick off to a grateful skipper at 1st slip. At the other end Divesh Thakur (11-1-39-1) got reward for a good spell, claiming the Penrith number 3 caught at short cover with another sharp chance to Spring. Desai returned just before the tea break to rip one past the outside edge of Penrith’s number 5 to allow a good stumping from Krishna Vanapamula. Penrith sat 5/115 at the tea break.

It was after tea that Desai really put the foot down. Ably supported by Henry Riseborough, who bowled 13 overs in the innings including an impressive 10 maidens, Desai first spun a wrong’un through the gate of the opposing skipper before a quicker one trapped Penrith’s last recognised batsman on the crease. From here, it was a procession. A carrom ball thudded into the pads of an unsuspecting batsman before he had finished his backswing before Riseborough (13-10-11-1) got in on the act with a well-deserved pole, knocking back leg stump. Another wrong’un and a chop on from the Penrith lower order to Desai saw the game wrapped up. He finished 20.2-5-35-7 and led the team off the field to a standing ovation from the crowd. A song, 6 points and other results meant that 5th grade now sit 7 point clear atop the table after 6 rounds. Greatness awaits.

Poidevin-Gray Shield Round 6: UTS North Sydney vs Sydney at Drummoyne Oval

UTS North Sydney 8/115cc (20 overs) (J Rew 51) def Sydney 109 (19.5 overs) (E Oxenham 4/19, H Lee Young 2/15)

A shot at running the table awaited the PGs Bears on a fine December Sunday morning at the glorious Drummoyne Oval. The flawless side was ready to close out the regular season the way they played all year, with a win.

Captain Jenkins won the toss and elected to bat on what seemed to be a straight forward Drummoyne wicket. However, the constant flow of wickets early made it difficult for the side to get into the rhythm of their innings. One constant for the year has been English superstar James Rew, and the young lad putting his class on full display today, being the back bone of the innings. Rew conjured a majestic run a ball 50, with 3 of the 13 4s hit all day, and two monster bombs. He received ample support from fellow UK compatriot Oscar Jago Lewis, the rockstar hitting some much needed boundaries at the end of the innings to bump the score up to what seemed to be a defendable 115 at the completion of the 20 overs.

With an undefeated regular slate of games on the line, the Bears came out full of life in the field, intent on making every run a challenge for the opposing Tigers batsmen. Youngster Everett Oxenham opened the game up early with a couple of wickets to put the Bears on top, but the Bears were met with resistance from the middle order of Sydney, moving at a run a ball through the middle overs. However, after numbers 3, 4 and 5 were dismissed by Lee Young, Brunker and Oxenham, the Bears had a sniff, and with their foot on the throat rolled through the second half of the Tigers batting line up to secure a hard fought 6 run victory.

The side seemed to always be in control of the game despite it going down to the wire. Stars of the day go to Rew and Oxenham for their stand out performances in their own discipline. Next up, Semi Finals, where a rematch with local rivals Gordon beckons on Sunday the 18th of December at the ever picturesque Bon Andrews Oval.

Kingsgrove T20 Cup Round 5: UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Bon Andrews Oval/h2>

UTS North Sydney 8/164cc (20 overs) (B Atherton 43, T Reynolds 40) def by Eastern Suburbs 4/165 (20 overs) (M Alexander 2/28)

Just as we’ve made a habit of winning close First Grade matches, we seem also to have made a habit of losing tight T20s, with both games on this extended weekend being tight encounters with the wrong result.

Easts were our guests on Thursday afternoon at Bon Andrews, with free scoring and lost balls anticipated, and the Bears’ 164 after winning the toss felt slightly below par. The innings was highlighted by 43 off 27 off the top by Brent Atherton and a partnership of 53 between Tim Reynolds (40 off 26) and Jimmy Greenslade (27 off 22). The young pair, who’d combined so effectively the previous Saturday in the two-day format, perhaps didn’t find the boundary as much as we’d hoped, but they ran brilliantly between the wickets and faced only nine dot balls between them.

We finished the 18th over on 4/147, but four wickets in the following eight balls hampered our attempts to capitalise, Reynolds managing a six and a four as he lost partners at the other end.

164 felt a long way away when Matt Alexander removed Nick Taylor and Olly Cox in quick succession in an inspired first spell, captains Jenkins justified in his decision to keep him on for a third over. Easts were 2/25 off 5 and Alexander had 2/10. A strong partnership built for the third wicket, but the run rate climbed, with 75 required from the final 7 overs. Sam Alexander (1/28) removed Angus Robson in the 14th to have the Dolphins 3/91, and then 42 were required from the final three overs. But it was a lesson in the power of wickets in hand, with Easts taking 12 and 18 from the 18th and 19th, leaving 12 required off the last. At 4 off 2, a wide call proved decisive, then Easts scraped through for a single off the final ball as the Bears can heartbreakingly close to a run out that would have forced a super over.

Kingsgrove T20 Cup Round 6: UTS North Sydney vs Sydney at Drummoyne Oval

UTS North Sydney 2/161cc (20 overs) (M Jenkins 73, J Rew 66*) def by Sydney 4/178cc (20 overs)

We came close to ending this season’s T20 campaign on a high, giving a very challenging run chase a red hot go.

The afternoon began with Jamieson Hedges receiving First Grade cap number 685, deserved reward for 20 wickets already this season for the talented 17-year-old.

Hedges shared the new ball with Olly Knight, and Knight (1/25) struck in his second over to remove Sydney’s overseas import, Jacob Bethell, caught behind by Rew, his former England under-19 team-mate. Harri Lee-Young and Mac Jenkins followed up with wickets of their own to leave the Bears on top after the early exchanges, Sydney 3/40 off 7. What followed was an impressive display from Beau McClintock (61* off 36), Harry Manenti (46 off 33) and Alex Glendenning (33 off 14) against a relatively inexperienced Bears attack, to post a further 139 off 13 to finish their 20 overs on 3/179.

The Bears did not lie down in response, and were ahead of Sydney’s tally at the same point right up until the 16th over. Brent Atherton was bowled for a run-a-ball 16, brining James Rew to the crease to join Jenkins. Rew signalled his intent with a six off his third ball, which seemed to galvanise Jenkins into taking 18 off the ninth over. The highlight of the innings was Rew hitting two bombs off Bethell in the 14th to ensure he won the battle of the Poms, and at this stage we needed 64 off 36 balls. Game on.

But a couple of overs followed when we couldn’t quite find the boundary, and Manenti retuned to the attack for the 18th over with the score on 144. It needed to be a big one, but Manenti conceded only six, and 36 off two was a step too far. With 24 required in the final over, Manenti produced the goods again, Jenkins was dismissed for 73, and the game concluded with Olly Knight and Rew taking a single each off the last two balls.

The 18-run margin doesn’t do justice to the Bears’ chase which was just a couple of boundaries or one big over away from being successful against perennially strong opposition.

That brings the 2022-23 Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup season to a close for the Bears, with just one win out of six matches, but having been well “in” four of the remaining five games. It allows the players to focus now on the longer formats, and this correspondent not to have to write three match reports in a week again for many more months!

Brewer Shield Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Illawarra at Tunks International Sport Park

UTS North Sydney 1/158 (K Robson 69*, S Julien 69) def Illawarra 8/27 (S Julien 3/1, G MacDonald 2/3)

A glorious summers day greeted our Brewer Bears at Tunks Park for their clash with the girls from the ‘Gong (aka Illawarra CC). Capitalising on winning the toss our openers Shiloh Julien & Kayla Robson put on a batting display (the likes of which has) never been seen before from the Brewer Bears. Striking the ball with fierce severity & running aggressively between wickets the Illawarra team had few answers to our excellent opening partnership of 144. The skilful Sam Kuncham joined Kayla after the fall of the first wicket to help set the imposing target of 1/158.

In response Illawarra were never really in the hunt as the Brewer Bears were buzzing with energy & enthusiasm (and fully rested) after witnessing such a fantastic batting display from their teammates. Illawarra lost regular wickets from the start & (once again) all the Brewer bowlers bowled with great accuracy & skill to put Illawarra on the back foot. Skipper Shiloh Julien led the way with 3/1 and was more than adequately supported by Georgia MacDonald 2/3, Sam Kuncham 1/ 2, Charlotte Moss 1/7 & Emily Aitken 1/8. Eventually the Illawarra innings finished on 8/27 from 20 overs for a fantastic win to the Brewer Bears!

Once again, a fine performance from a very talented group of young cricketers. However, perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the day was the grace & humility with which our Brewer girls treated their opposition. Although they may have been thoroughly victorious, our girls were humble, welcoming & generous with praise in their treatment of the Illawarra team. From a parent's perspective it is a pleasure to say that our Brewer Bears & Team management were thorough credit to the UTS North Sydney CC both on & off the field.


Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, Malcolm Trees, Jeff Williamson, Greg Buckley Adam Cavenor and UTS North Sydney members.