Week 14 Wrap vs Fairfield-Liverpool and Universities

1st Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Fairfield- Liverpool at Rosedale Oval

UTS North Sydney 5/189 (cc) (J Avendano 86*, M Jenkins 62) def by Fairfield-Liverpool 7/191 (48.4 overs) (J Campbell 2/23, M Alexander 2/41)

The Bears’ First Grade squad took the Hume Highway out to Warwick Farm to take on the Lions of Fairfield-Liverpool at a lush Rosedale Oval. Making his First Grade debut was Lachlan Stewart, who would take over the keeping duties with Aiden Bariol resting a hand injury but playing as a bat, and Robbie Aitken missing after splitting his webbing in the previous game.

With the season on the line and a win required to stay in touch with the top six, captain Tom Jagot won the toss and decided to have a bat. It was a brave call with overcast skies overhead and rain having fallen in the previous 24 hours. The opposition seemed pleased with the decision.

The batting innings did not start well with opener Brent Atherton back in the pavilion after just one ball. In form batsman Justin Avendano then joined Tom Jagot and the pair struggled on a pitch that was offering a bit to the bowlers. Despite getting off the mark, Jagot (1) was not able to add to his score and was dismissed at the end of the sixthover with the Bears in some trouble at 2/8. Aiden Bariol (15) clipped a nice 3 to start his innings and showed some good intent but with the score on 33 he was the third wicket to fall – 3/33 after 14.2 overs. Jack James (15) also struck some nice shots including a lovely sweep for four, the second of the innings, but he was undone with the return of Josh Baraba for his second spell (after four straight maidens in his first) and the Bears were 4/57 at the end of the 22nd over.

The next partnership between Avendano and Mac Jenkins was crucial to the team’s chances. Mac ran well between wickets and mixed up his shot selection, but Justin was not his usual fluent self and so the Fairfield spinners, who did the lion’s share of the bowling, kept the brakes on the scoring. The team hundred came up in the 37th over and the drinks break shortly after that.

Avendano continued to hit singles, playing conventional shots and bringing up his fifty in the 42nd over, while Jenkins hit sweeps, ramps and reverse sweeps to pick up a few rare boundaries. The pair lifted the run rate to close to four an over taking 14 off the 44th over with Jenkins bringing up his fifty. Avendano hit the only six of the innings in the 46th over, but the partnership that netted 127 runs came to an end with eight balls remaining and the team score 5/184. 75 runs had been scored in the preceding eight and a half overs. Olly Knight (1*) joined Avendano with a further five runs being added and Avendano finished not out 86 from 141 balls.

5/189 appeared a modest total that most First Grade teams should be able to chase down, but the Lions were sitting in the bottom half of the table and have a tendency for late batting collapses so there was some hope.

It took 4.4 overs for the Bears to grab their first pole and reduce the Lions to 1/6. It was a searing delivery from James Campbell that pitched and left the batsman, giving Lachlan Stewart his maiden First Grade scalp behind the stumps. With his tail up, Campbell charged in and bowled a beautiful follow up delivery that struck the new batsman Arjun Nair on the pads and had every player and Bears supporter in the ground with their hands up. Despite, the enthusiastic appeal the umpire did not raise his finger leaving the bowler and his teammates puzzled by the decision. It was a pivotal moment as Nair went on to make 43 valuable runs.

After 12 overs, Fairfield had moved to 1/46, well ahead of our 2/24 at the same stage, and appeared well in control with the pitch flattening out and the new ball offering less danger to the batsmen. In was time for spin, and after conceding a couple of singles, Mac Jenkins removed the other opener to have the Lions 2/49 at the end of the 13th and bring the Bears back into the game.

Another partnership developed before Matt Alexander removed Nair who was this time given out lbw by the umpire. 3/94 at the start of the 27th became 4/102 in the 29th as Alexander jagged another wicket with an outstanding grab in the slips by Justin Avendano. Some tight bowling from Jack James and Alexander kept the Bears in the hunt with Fairfield moving to 4/125 after 34 overs. The Lions were still well ahead of the Bears having been 4/90 at the same point in the game.

However, with only 65 runs needed, Campbell was brought back into the attack. Campbell bowled particularly well all day and was a constant threat, and was rewarded with the Bears’ fifth wicket with the catch taken by Tom Jagot. Campbell then bowled out with figures of 10 overs 2/23. Mac Jenkins bowled his remaining overs from the other end to finish with 1/34. This left the Lions 5/143 in the 41st over and 47 runs required from 54 balls.

Despite being hit for a boundary, Olly Knight came back to remove Raveesh Srivastava lbw and with Jack James taking out Jarod Burke lbw in the following over the Bears’ hopes were up for a famous victory (after two epic wins against the same opposition in the two previous seasons). At 7/153, the Lions required 37 runs from the remaining 42 balls with three wickets in hand.

James and Alexander built pressure on the Lions and, with 24 balls remaining, the run rate lifted above 6 for the first time, with 25 runs needed. After looking all at sea, Harmon Sandhu skied a ball from James in the 47th over that was unfortunately put down in the field. Sandhu made the Bears pay taking his chance and hitting a six off Alexander in the following over and a six off James in the 49th to finish the game and present the Bears with an agonising loss. The defeat all but ends the Bears’ season with the team slipping to 11th and 12 points adrift of sixth place.

The team is a mathematical chance, but with wet weather predicted all week we will need to get on and then beat Parramatta in our next round.

2nd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Fairfield-Liverpool at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 235 (44.1 overs) (JD Vilensky 76, RD Alexander 64, J Greenslade 30) def by Fairfield-Liverpool 7/269(cc) (RD Alexander 2/41, S Alexander 2/47)

On Saturday the 18th of February, the UTS North Sydney Second Grade side was set to face Fairfield Liverpool at Bon Andrews. Overcast conditions encouraged skipper Glenn Aitken to bowl first as he won the toss.

After a solid start of 69 from the Fairfield openers, UTS North Sydney hit back with three quick-fire wickets, including a brilliant direct hit run out from Baran Kumar and a stunning catch at slip from Glenn Aitken. However, a flurry of missed chances saw Fairfield build some handy partnerships in the middle overs, and as is the case at Bon Andrews they began to pile on the runs in the latter overs with wickets in hand. Sam Alexander and Ray Alexander were the stand0outs with the ball, taking two wickets each.

The Bears’ run chase of 270 did not get off to the best of starts with both openers falling early. However, Vilensky and Greenslade consolidated and put the pressure back on the Fairfield bowlers as they raced to a 74 run partnership before an lbw saw Greenslade back in the sheds. Vilensky continued to tear apart the Fairfield attack, hitting boundaries to all areas of the ground including two big straight sixes (one of which brought up his first fifty of the season).

As Vilenksy departed for 76 off just 61 balls, UTS North Sydney struggled to build the partnerships needed to secure victory. Ray Alexander provided hope as he crunched 64 off 65 balls and played a lone hand in the back end of the innings. The target would be too much for the Second Grade Bears, who nevertheless took a lot of confidence from the attacking style of cricket played.

Women's 2nd Grade Round 12: Gordon / UTS North Sydney v BYE

3rd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Fairfield- Liverpool at Fairfield Oval

UTS North Sydney 4/148 (46 Overs) (HP Lee-Young 64*, JD Graham 46) def Fairfield- Liverpool 8/147 (cc) (B Wilson 2/15, FJ Noack 2/28)

The Third Grade Bears headed to Fairfield Park seeking redemption after two convincing defeats.

A heavy outfield and tacky wicket greeted the Bears who were thrilled when stand-in skipper Pat Lindsay lost the toss but was asked to field first - which is what the Bears would have chosen to do if successful at the toss.

The Bears ripped into their work early with Brad Wilson claiming an early scalp. The Lions then put on a little partnership before Hamish Reynolds (1/8 off 6) removed the #3 LBW. Noack (2/28) and Lindsay (1/25 and a run out) then struck to reduce the Lions to 6/63. At the final drinks break, the Lions were 6/70 and the Bears smelt blood.

However, Fairfield started the final session with renewed energy and the Bears were caught a bit flat footed. Ultimately the Lions put on 80 for the 7th wicket and helped bring them back to a competitive total of 8/147 noting the very heavy outfield. Brad Wilson (2/15 off 9) and Harri Lee-Young (1/22) bowled very well at the death.

The chase started shakily with the Bears slumping to 2/5 off the back of some disciplined Fairfield bowling. John Nevell (20) steadied the ship, but when he fell the Bears weren’t out of the woods by any stretch at 3/36. Enter Harri Lee-Young. Harri took the game to the Lions, riding his luck to a degree, but showing intent to score and move the game along. He ran hard between the wickets and played some aggressive shots against the spinners. When Jacob Graham (46) was dismissed the job was largely done at 4/134. Yak batted calmly and maturely and was the perfect foil for Lee-Young who finished 64*.

All in all, a good day for 3s, who stay in the finals hunt. But to make finals (and be a force in them) the team will need to improve further in all facets.

Women's 3rd Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney v Universities at Tunks International Sports Park 2

UTS North Sydney 6/159 (cc) (A Gibbons 48, H Blackburn 38) def Universities 84 (27 overs) (A d’Cunha 3/13, A Williams 2/12, MR Singh 2/12)

Great win!

Another rainy, cloudy, windy day and another lost toss brought memories of the previous week rushing back. But when Universities chose to field first, with only five players at the ground, we felt better. And when we all joined in for the reconciliation ceremony, led by our captain Hetti, we were pumped up and ready to go!

At the start of play we noticed that Universities still only had seven players, so we did the sporting thing and offered to lend a couple of fielders to help out. Their other players arrived over the next five overs or so, and Anjali and Urzana were applauded for their efforts. The spirit of cricket lives on!

Evy McKay (18) and Emily Aitken (8) struggled initially, facing very loopy slow bowling which was difficult to get away. Evy found power first and managed 4 fours before being caught and bowled. Sarah Gibbons (2) and Emily then struggled further with the bowling, with runs drying up before Sarah caught a top edge... 2/35.

Amy Gibbons had other plans and set fire to the game, dispatching boundaries with awesome timing and power, to race to 48 off only 38 balls including 8 fours and the only six of the match before feathering one to the keeper, just two runs short of her third 50 for the season. Hetti Blackburn and Emily continued on, with Emily rotating strike and Hetti continuing her good form, playing an excellent innings of 38, including 7 fours.

At the drinks break we had a chat to Emily about letting other players have a go. We're a social bunch in Third Grade and try as much as we can to give everyone a bat if we can - we had plenty of batting to come so Emily graciously retired. In her debut for Third Grade, Mayher Singh (8) batted beautifully with a mix of power and good running between wickets. Urzana spent about an hour really focused and concentrating intensely on her batting before heading out to the centre, only to receive a pearler of a first ball. Her team-mates' hearts all felt the crush - really sorry Urzana, cricket is such a tough game sometimes.

Anna Lucas (8*) batted the best I've seen her bat all season, with increasing confidence and power coming into her game, combined with excellent running between the wickets. Anna Peterson finished on 1* as our team batted through all 40 overs, finishing on 6/159.

As we watched Universities warm up, we noticed a very talented opener imported from Brewers - definitely one to watch carefully. But it takes more than just one player, as our team showed fantastically, dismissing their numbers 2 to 6 for a combined 1 run! Anali d'Cunha (0/13 off 3) bowled great line and length, as did her fellow opener, Abby Williams (2/21 off 4). And just as impressive were the first change partners bowling in great tandem: Emily (1/11 off 5) drying up all the runs on the one side, while Mayher's (4-2/12) exceptional leggies beautifully drew out Universities' dangerous opener for a brilliant stumping by Evy McKay. When she departed for 45 (more than half her team's runs), we felt the win was clearly in the bag. Tilly bowled a really tidy 3 overs for just 6 runs, Urzana did likewise with 2 overs for just 5 runs, and Anna Lucas, Anna Peterson and Evy all had an over or two before Anjali cleaned up the last wicket with Universities on 84.

A very solid win, great performances from many players and a real team victory - well done Bears!

4th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Fairfield-Liverpool at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 129 (41.4 overs) (J Thomas 35, O Jennings 33) def by Fairfield-Liverpool 7/198 (cc) (N Whyte 3/30, S Vohra 2/33, J Edwards 2/47)

After a positive display in wet conditions against Sutherland, the Fourth Grade team was looking to enter the top 8 for the first time in the season with a win against a low-lying Fairfield Liverpool team. Losing the toss, the Bears were sent into the field. Nuwan Whyte and James Edwards opened up and tested both batsmen early with some strong lines outside off stump. The Bears were unable to capitalise, however, with multiple catches going down early, much to the dismay of Edwards whose first spell was impressive. Eventually, he found the breakthrough, trapping one opening batsman in front, whilst Whyte backed him up from the other end with a quick wicket to mount the fightback. The remaining Fairfield opener had other ideas, playing aggressively and continuing to push the run rate. Shiv Vohra was introduced one over before drinks, and proved to be a match-changer, dismissing the in-form batsman with the score at 3/53 after 17.

After a drink, the Bears looked to control the middle session as Thomas (10 overs 0/26) and Vohra continued. Vohra found a second wicket thanks to a sharp catch by Dhruva Thorat, and the Bears has wrestled back control at 4/55. However, some sloppy fielding alongside an aggressive batting approach meant that Fairfield continued to work their way through the innings. Henry Riseborough (6 overs 0/27) and Dylan Johnson (6 overs 0/31) both showed control but were unable to finish off their spells. Edwards was re-introduced at the death and finally broke the partnership, but the damage had been done as a fifth wicket stand of 100 took the score to 5/155. A further batting push from Fairfield took the score to 198 at the end of their 50 overs, despite two late wickets from Whyte (10 overs 3/30). The Bears had fought hard but would lament some sloppy fielding and dropped catches. Edwards was the pick of the bowlers with his two wickets, however with a better fielding display backing him up, he could easily have had a big bag.

After the lunch break, Dilraj Singh and Oliver Jennings opened up, showing a similar positively which opened the game the previous week. After 13 overs, Singh had worked himself to 23, whilst Jennings at the other end was ticking along well for 33. In the last balls before the first drinks break, disaster struck as Singh mistimed a short ball to mid-wicket to depart. This would prove a pivotal moment in the game. After the drinks break, a lethargic Bears top and middle order would lose 7/30, as the score moved from 0/50 in the 13th to 7/80 in the 25th, which included an even more damning run of 6/15.

The skipper, Jack Thomas, looked comfortable at the crease, but with few wickets remaining and an increasing run rate required, the game was all but lost. Digging in at the other end was Riseborough, who found singles and ran hard in a strong effort as the pair looked to avoid the bonus point. Another two quick wickets fell with the score at 103, and Thomas was joined by Edwards for the last wicket. Edwards worked hard with his skipper, showing better resilience than those that came before him as the pair put on 26 for the final wicket (the second highest partnership of the innings). Thomas would finish with 35 as the game ended with the Bears only scoring 129.

With just three rounds left, the Fourth Grade team must compete better in all aspects of the game to be even a chance of a finals berth. The lack of concentration and discipline with the bat, as well as the poor performance in the field, was extremely disappointing, but gives a huge opportunity for improvement throughout the end of the season.

5th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Fairfield-Liverpool at Don Dawson Oval

UTS North Sydney 3/137 (46 overs) (A Perry 67*, K Dhawan 33) def by Fairfield-Liverpool 9/136 (cc) (C Fursman 3/50, V Kumar 2/15)

Fifth Grade were greeted by the toll of bellbirds at Don Dawson Oval and were pleasantly surprised by the hard pitch and largely dry outfield. Captain Perry wisely lost the toss, placing the Lions skipper in a quandary, and thus got the first opportunity to bowl and make use of the green pitch.

The resurgent Sol Balbi and the pacy Callum Fursman took the new ball and immediately made inroads, reducing Fairfield-Liverpool to 2 for 3 – including a sharp catch to debutant, Kishna Dhawan. A semblance of a partnership then formed before Perry and Charles applied the pressure, forcing a run-out. New Bear Vrushab Kumar then came on to bowl and he and Perry squeezed the life out of the Lions’ middle order.

Vrushab’s first wicket was an absolute pearler, lulling Fairfield-Liverpool’s second drop into his trap with a series of straight balls before releasing the big turning offie, the hapless Lion skittled without offering a shot. Vrushab’s eventual figures of 2/15 from 10 overs only somewhat reflected the control he exercised over his opponents.

Perry was almost as parsimonious, conceding only 19 from his full allocation before Rob Lavery took over to finish off the innings from that end. While slightly more expensive than his orthodox-spinning counterparts at 0/28 from 10, he and Fursman (3/50) finished off the innings nicely. The Bears’ fielding was patchy in the final 10 overs but was punctuated by two more run-outs courtesy of Charlie Rose and Lavery.

The Lions’ total of 136 looked below par as the new Bears’ opening partnership of Chris Lloyd and Alex MacGill took to the crease. A hobbled Lloyd fell early but new opener MacGill did admirably, taking the shine off the new ball and playing some thumping pulls in the process.

After Alex fell, Kishna Dhawan and Alex Perry set about whittling away at the total. The Lions bowled and fielded with discipline and boundaries were hard to come by on the slow outfield. Nonetheless, both Bears played some scything shots, including a terrific pulled six by Perry.

Dhawan compiled a composed 33 before falling with 32 runs still to get. While fatigued from a massive day of work, Perry saw his team home, with Charlie Rose looking assured as his partner. Perry’s undefeated 67 was a clear match-winning effort and was almost double the next highest total on the day.

It was a welcome return to the winners’ circle for 5s and the song was sung in the centre of Don Dawson with gusto.

U18 Brewer Shield Round 12: UTS North Sydney v BYE

Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman, Adam Cavenor, Malcolm Trees, Evy McKay, Gordon Women's Cricket Club and team captains.