Week 16 Wrap vs Fairfield Liverpool, Gordon and Bankstown

1st Grade Round 11: UTS North Sydney vs Fairfield Liverpool at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 9/300 dec (TA Jagot 94, BS Atherton 60, J Aitken 36, R Aitken 28, A Bariol 27) def Fairfield Liverpool 290 (J Campbell 3/55, J Aitken 2/48, JN James 2/50)

There is something about a clash with Fairfield-Liverpool that brings out the extreme and the unpredictable or is it the predictable. Last season it was a Tom Jagot 150, a new smoke rule that took players from the field and a batting collapse with Fairfield on the brink of victory.

In 2021 the drama continued – a two day fixture on a Saturday/ Sunday with high 30s temps and an early start on Sunday mandated by Cricket NSW, (warning spoiler alert) a big score from Jagot and a Fairfield batting collapse when on the brink of victory. There was also the Aitken factor with the clan back together for the second time this season with Glenn replacing the injured Max Papworth.

The game started with Fairfield winning the toss and inserting the home side. The Bears lost their first wicket in the first over with Jack James copping a rock that spat off the surface and collected the inside edge high on the bat and travelled leg side into the keeper;s gloves. Tom Jagot copped one on the finger from the same bowler but survived. The pitch settled down quickly and allowed Jagot and Brent Atherton to get on with the job of building a competitive total. Both players took their chances with a miscued pull dropping between two fielders and a couple of tough chances being dropped to keep things moving at around three an over to the lunch break with the Bears 1/94.

After lunch, Jagot and then Atherton celebrated fifties, with the partnership netting 138 runs before Atherton was bowled by Jarrad Burke for 60. Brent hit 4 fours and a six in his innings. In-form batsman, Aiden Bariol (27), joined his captain with the pair putting on a 48 run partnership to take the score to 3/186 in the 57th over. Jagot had moved into the nineties and the safe bet was on another hundred to the Bears captain. Unfortunately, he fell for 94 from 179 balls with 11 fours and a six to leave the Bears 4/188 at the start of the 61st over. New batsmen Tim Reynolds and Glenn Aitken worked together to re-build, moving the score to 210 by the start of the 71st over before Reynolds was dismissed. From here it was an all Aitken batting line–up with Glenn and Robbie and then Robbie and James batting together. Progress was a little slow from the loss of the fourth wicket and when Robbie was dismissed for 28 in the 87th over it was 7/262. Mac Jenkins joined James Aitken (36*) and, despite the pair taking 11 runs from the 91st over, Jenkins was dismissed with the score 283 and five overs left in the day. Matt Alexander didn’t trouble the scorers, but James Campbell (10) hit two fours in the final two overs of the day and we finished the day 9/300 from our allotted 96 overs.

To be fair, 300 was a little under par, but could be defended with a disciplined bowling and fielding display. And so it was.

The next day the players turned up an hour earlier. UTS North Sydney had declared on their overnight score and Fairfield would require 301 runs at a tick over three per over. It would be a challenge for the Fairfield batsmen who had managed a number of scores in the mid 200s this season, but nothing over 300.

Despite losing Glenn Aitken to a finger injury after he was hit while batting (replaced by Olly Knight), the day started well for the home side. A wicket to James Campbell in the third over, with the catch taken low down and to his right by Jack James at third slip, had the Lions 1/8. After 11 overs, Fairfield had progressed to 1/43 and appeared to be gaining control of the game, so it was time for a bowling change and the spin of Mac Jenkins just prior to the first drinks break. After drinks, James Aitken was given the ball from the old scoreboard end. It was over 13 and proved to be unlucky for the former NSW contracted player Param Uppal (who had already survived several big appeals) as he prodded forward to a ball that moved slightly off the seam, took the edge and was caught by Aiden Bariol diving in front of first slip. Fairfield 2/45.

Jenkins and Aitken bowled in tandem before Campbell replaced Jenkins for a quick two over burst without success. Jenkins then returned with him and Aitken building pressure with plenty of dot balls. So when Jenkins provided the young Lions #4 batsman with a low full toss, he took on the square boundary and lost. James Campbell took an excellent catch just inside the rope and all of a sudden Fairfield were 3/62. The fall of the wicket brought the dangerous Luke Ohrynowsky to the crease. Ohrynowsky and opener Simmons, who had been difficult to dislodge, took the visitors to lunch at 3/82 and based on the Bears 1/94 from the previous day at the same stage we were slightly ahead.

After lunch Jack James and Robbie Aitken were given an opportunity with the ball with James removing Simmons in the 36th over with a ball that slid through the batsman’s defences rattling the stumps. At 4/115 the Bears were on top, but still needed six more wickets to gain the points. However, Ohrynowsky, who was given a life with a dropped catch, and new partner Ravi Srivastava had other ideas, and despite the toil of several bowlers, the Fairfield pair moved the score to 4/213 by tea. In a see-sawing match Fairfield had gained the upper hand with only 88 runs needed in the final session for the win.

The final session started well for the Fairfield batsmen - Ohrynowsky passed one hundred in the 65th over and the Lions were 4/242 needing just 59 more runs. However, a maiden by Matt Alexander and then a wicket to James Aitken in the 67th, removing Srivastava with a ball that nipped back in, gave the Bears some hope at 5/242. New man Jarrad Burke combined with the set Ohrynowsky for a 30 run partnership to edge the Lions to within 29 runs of victory and five wickets in the sheds. This is where it all changed.

Jack James (2/50) produced a ripping ball that turned sharply back into the stumps of Ohrynowsky to open the door at 6/272. James Campbell followed up in the next over by taking the edge of Burke’s bat as he attempted to drive the ball through the field, only succeeding in finding the safe hands of James Aitken. 7/272 and with only the tail remaining it was game on! The following over James kept the #7 scoreless with his first five balls before he punched one through the covers. A great stop and throw by Robbie Aitken that landed at the base of the stumps was collected on the half-volley by James who broke the stumps with the batsman just short of his ground attempting the third run. 7/272 became 8/274 and, despite only 27 runs needed, the Bears were firming as the new favourites with only two wickets left. In a further twist the # 9 and 10 steadied the ship moving the score to 8/290 despite the new ball being taken. Hopes were high but fingernails were getting shorter - It would be 11 runs or two wickets. Not to be denied, James Campbell (3/55) was too good for the young #9 producing a ball that smashed into his pads in front of middle stump for an easy decision for the umpire. Matt Alexander (1/66) needed just one ball in the next over to find the edge of the #10, fittingly into the safe hands of the captain, at first slip. Jagot made no mistake and was chased around the field as the boys celebrated a famous victory.

The Bears had taken 5/18 from 30 balls in an amazing victory. The team took the last 6 wickets for 48 runs, and to put it in context we took 6/40 in the corresponding game last year when the Lions were 4/245.

The win moves the Bears up one spot to 9th but only one point behind the 6th placed Randwick Petersham. With four rounds remaining, a win over the next two weekends away against Hawkesbury at Bensons Lane is a must to keep the finals dream alive.

2nd Grade Round 11: UTS North Sydney vs Fairfield Liverpool at Rosedale Oval

UTS North Sydney 183 (O Knight 59, F May 42, W Graham 27) def by Fairfield Liverpool 9/184 (O Knight 3/51, F Noack 2/33, W Graham 2/36)

On a warm Saturday, the Bears made the trek out to Rosedale Oval against the Lions of Fairfield, who were poised four spots behind us on the ladder. On debut, we welcomed Finn Nixon-Tomko, Lachie Stewart and Luke Smith to 2s this week, and farewelled 'Dad' Aitken who went up to first grade.

I luckily had the pleasure of being in the car with Will ‘Willow’ Graham and Sam Alexander, to the hear Sammos discuss a new concept of 'Polaroiding' (which you can quiz him about, I'm sure he'll be happy to tell the story 12+ times).

The Rosedale deck was solid and grass-covered and was complemented with a lush outfield. We won the toss and had no hesitation batting. We lost Jordan ‘JV’ Vilensky and Adam ‘Cav Sav’ Cavenor early with Finn trying to solidify. The intent and execution was not there for the Bears, coupled with some good seeds, which unfortunately saw us lose a further three top order wickets to be 6/68 in the 23rd over. This brought Olly 'Jon' Knight and Fletcher ‘Mayday’ May to the crease.

Olly 'Jon' was clever with his batting, using the arc to his advantage when he saw it. He hit 59 off 75 with 4 nice bombs, including one to reach his 50. Mayday provided great assistance solidifying his talent with the bat to give the Bears a sniff with a well-made and patient 42 including a couple of Jon Bombsmen. Will ‘Willy G’ Graham impressed with some late power hitting, absolutely fluting a couple of lovely shots off shorter bowling to give him two sixes and 27 well-made runs – his highest grade total with the bat for the Bears. Despite the heroics from the tail, the total was an under par 183 and we didn't bat the full 50. However, the Bears did not give up without a fight as they headed back out for the bowling innings.

Going out to bowl, Fraser ‘FJ Novak’ Noack and Willow gave us a great start by not giving away anything. Willow got us cracking, rewarded with his consistency getting the opener caught at slip by bucket hands Jordan Vilensky. Olly K was able to extract a tickle to Lachie Stewart for his maiden 2s catch. Lachie kept really well behind the stumps and was super clean the whole innings.

Fletch (1/37 off 8) gave us our next, again showing consistency and diligent bowling before Olly struck again. This had the Lions at 4/43 with the Bears continuing to ask questions and apply pressure with good bowling partnerships. The lions did have some resistance from O'Connor belting some lofted drives and a massive bomb to the straight boundary.

FJ (2/33 off 10) came back with control to pick up Wilcoxon before finding another through a stealthy catch taken by Luke Smith running back to take an overhead speccy to remove the dangerous O'Connor. 6/95. Come on boys.

Olly (3/31 off 10) and Willow (2/36 off 10) gave JV his 2nd and 3rd catches for the match. He does catch well, JV. Sam Alexander came into the mix to get a deserved stumping to put the game at 9/134. At this point 50 runs were needed with two young lads at the crease. Surely the huge amount of weight and pressure at their feet would bring them undone.

To this point I think the boys thought it was ours and that it would come easily. Without making excuses we didn't put enough pressure on the # 10 &11 – we expected them crumble from the situation. They were very scratchy at times, hitting 8 or 10 aerial balls to no man's land or just wide of a fielder. However, credit to them, they did grind it out right until the final over. With 6 runs needed off the last 6 balls, we had a catch put down with the Lions needing 2 to win. They made it over the line.

We knew we needed to bat 50 overs, fight harder for our wickets and keep continual pressure in the field...on to Benson's Lane for an absolute must win for any flames to stay lit in hope of finals.

3rd Grade Round 11: UTS North Sydney vs Fairfield Liverpool at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 8/183 (B Van der Merwe 60*, KS Allison 36, C Spratt 35) def Fairfield Liverpool 182 (KS Allison 3/43, JD Graham 2/17, B Wilson 2/28)

A strong warmup of vortex touch footy was followed by the coin toss, the Bears being given their orders by the Fairfield skip to bowl first on a pitch looking as spicy as a glass of milk. A few changes from recent weeks had the team invigorated and full of promise as a couple of 3rd grade debutants, Brad Wilson and John Nevell, put on the creams and donned the Bears cap for the first time in the main grade.

Harry May was the first to break through caught behind low to his left to the debutant Nevell taking the gloves for the first time at Bon. The next partnership put on a crucial 50 runs through some good pressured bowling from Brad and Harry, before the introduction of Izaak Merlehan found the Bears their second. The skipper, Jacob Graham, brought himself on at the other end, and due to some tight bowling at the top end from Merlo two wickets tumbled, one caught behind of their expansive number 3 and also the dangerous number 4. Both wickets were to Graham but few chances were being created at the other end as well.

With an essentially brand new pair in at the crease, Kobe Allison was brought into the attack. An absolute X-Factor for the bears. His first over was hit to all parts but every over following in his 3 over spell was devastating. 3 more wickets fell at his hands before the drinks break. All 3 coming in his following 2 overs. He was straight back on after the drinks break and continued to apply some pressure as Benny Knox started to work some magic at the other end. Reward for Benny was followed by reward to Brad Wilson, who took two deserved wickets to round off what was a rather tidy day for the Bears with the ball.

Chris Spratt and James Leary were the new opening partnership for the Bears and got off to a flier, so much so that the bonus point became an option. Spratty was unlucky to find the man at deep cover on the short boundary and Kobe Allison was sent out to keep the momentum going. He too found the middle of the bat from ball one and the bears could feel a big victory brewing.

Leary kept on nudging it around and Kobe was finding the boundary with ease, but both were finally undone as their off spinner (whose action we won’t make any comments on) ripped one past Kobe’s forward defence out LBW, and through Leary’s attempt at a reverse sweep. After the double wicket, the Bears were still in control, but now at 3/93. Chris Lloyd didn’t last long and the score was now at 4/101, the spinner again making the breakthrough. This brought together a beautiful 50 run partnership between John Nevell and Ben Van der Merwe. Unfortunately, Johnny fell to a pull shot and very next ball skipper Jacob Graham found himself stranded halfway down the wicket run out... the Bears’ chances of a bonus point win drifting away with still 30 runs needed from about 5 overs (for the bonus point win).

Those two wickets in two balls left us at 6/150 and completely changed the complexion of the game. Fairfield were suddenly up and about. The bowlers were suddenly bowling better. The fielders were getting horizontal and stopping everything. And runs were just hard to come by.

Merlehan became the 4th victim of the office, and Brad Wilson was the 5th on the last ball of his spell.... the bears losing 4-15 in a short 4 over period of time. And there were still 19 runs required. However, Ben Van der Merwe (BVDM) was still at the crease and was looking as solid as a rock, and he was joined by Ben Knox. Now every match and at every training, Benny Knox reminds us that he’s always the least dismissed batsmen in our team, today we were hoping he’d keep that trend up. The overs ticked by, most of them with only one run scored off them. The opposition captain had everyone spread when BVDM was on strike and had fielders completely surrounding and choking down on BK. The tension was palpable. And boy oh boy we were nervous as you can be.

Every delivery blocked or left had us jumping in our seat. Every single had us cheering and hollering on like we were in the World Cup final. But still the partnership kept on keeping on.

BVDM was looking not one bit troubled, and BK was a rock. Nothing was getting through. And some 10 overs after they came together. They finally brought the score required to 8-174. Only 9 runs to win.

3 overs later and we needed 5. BK, mind you, had still not scored a run. Each and every one of the 14 runs scored had been from the blade of his partner at the other end.

Enter the return at last of the opening bowler. Ben Knox on strike.

1st ball: full, wide, left (no wide call, we all groan).

2nd: full straight, defended.

3rd: full wide, again left alone (but all the fielders behind the stumps had hands on heads... must have been close to off).

4th ball: full straight, whipped off the pads by Benny, straight to mid-wicket. We’re all out of our seats, anything left or right would have been 4 and scores level.

5th ball: short. Chest high. Straight. Ben Knox rocks back and minces his 47th ball faced straight to the square leg boundary.

In chaotic scenes on the sideline 8 20-something year old men start losing their minds, hooting and hollering. What a play, what a player. What a rock. (BK would later spend the next half hour after the game asking everyone else in the team if they were able to get off the mark with a boundary. Very Alpha) In an extraordinary moment that seemingly happened out of nowhere, the scores were level.

The last ball was a dot but with scores now level, 2 wickets in hand and BVDM on strike the result was now inevitable.

The opposition skipper brought himself on to bowl and brought everyone up. He proceeded to bowl one nice and short. And way down leg to which BDVM helped it around the corner to a vacant fine leg to pick up the winning run.

A tough gritty win to the Bears will be holding us in good stead for the rounds to come. 6 points to the good guys.

4th Grade Round 11: UTS North Sydney vs Fairfield Liverpool at Fairfield Oval

UTS North Sydney 141 (B Kumar 36) def by Fairfield Liverpool 7/239cc (C Savage 4/38, J Thomas 2/31)

After a strong win vs Manly, 4s travelled to Fairfield Park to take on the Fairfield Lions with a view to solidifying their spot in the top 6 against a team currently running 18th.

A hard flat pitch greeted both sides and unfortunately Skipper Lindsay called incorrectly and the Bears would field first in the sweltering heat of Western Sydney.

Jack Thomas (2/31) got the Bears off to a decent start reducing Fairfield to 2/36, however he was not backed up by the rest of the bowlers and Fairfield were able to build momentum.

Unfortunately, the Bears wilted somewhat in the heat and Fairfield found the conditions more to their liking, capitalising on some wayward bowling to post a strong 7/239. Chris Savage (4/34) picked up some wickets at the death and Luke Opacic and Dhruva Thorat fielded with commitment.

The Bears were never in the hunt with the bat as Fairfield built pressure with some tidy bowling. Only Baran Kumar (36) and Shiv Vohra (23) batted with any fluency and the Bears were bundled out for 141 in the 41st over.

Fours host Hawkesbury next week in a must win match to save our season.

5th Grade Round 11: UTS North Sydney vs Fairfield Liverpool at Tunks International Sports Park

Fairfield Liverpool 117 (A Bennett 41, D Singh 33*, C Rose 29) def by UTS North Sydney 2/120 (B Revai 2/13, A McGill 2/19, S Balbi 2/20, J Hedges 2/20, A Perry 2/21)

After a quick stop off at Ritual in Northbridge for the pre game coffee and banana bread, the 5th grade Bears muscled off the covers at Tunks International Sports Park and sprang into their vortex grid iron warm up. Top of the agenda on the day was gaining 6 points against the Fairfield Liverpool Lions.

The toss came and went, the Lions winning the toss and electing to bat on a relatively flat deck, looking to post a big target for the Bears to chase. Sol Balbi (2/20) had other ideas, as the young quick dismissed the opener and number 3 both caught in the cordon by Aden Clark and Joe Connell respectively, in short succession to have the Lions two down early doors. Extras were the enemy for the Bears early, helping Fairfield feel somewhat more comfortable with their precarious start. Alex MacGill (2/19) and Ben Revai continued the assault on the Fairfield top order, with MacGill jagging two wickets, the first taken by keeper Connell and the second lbw before drinks to have the Lions four down at the first interval.

First ball after drinks, Revai nicked the captain off with a juicy half volley outside off stump that was taken by Clark at slip, placing Fairfield in a spot of bother, five down and only 37 runs on the board. Resistance came swiftly as their number 6 sent a few deliveries to and over the boundary. Enter Jamieson Hedges, who got the crucial breakthrough, dismissing the bombsman aided by a spectacular catch by Dilraj Singh at mid off. This put Fairfield back on the ropes at 6/84 in the 24th over.

After bowling only three overs thus far this season, Alex Perry was faced with being the first choice spinner due to unavailability. The part timer managed to complete 10 overs whilst snaring two wickets for 21 runs. Revai and Hedges took the remaining two poles gracefully, outplaying the batsmen and Fairfield all out 117.

It was a magnificent team effort across the board, with sublime catching and energy despite the high temperatures. Joe Connell with his handy glovework, took three catches, while Aden Clark with his two catches in the slips lead the way for the team.

The Bears were confident going into the batting innings chasing a total of 117 on a flat wicket in the heat of the day. With one eye on the bonus point, Perry chanced his arm to open the batting innings and promoted all rounder Aiden Bennett to open alongside green shield opener Singh. This proved to be a decisive move, as Bennett made a blistering 41 off 23 balls, hitting the Lions openers to all parts of Tunks. Singh played skillfully and picked his moments in support, turning the strike over and capitalising on short balls. When Bennett fell the Bears were 1/57 off 6, with the bonus point well in sight.

Charlie Rose came to the crease at 3, looking for some time in the middle and he got it, doing all the hard work along with Singh to get the Bears within 10 of the target before chopping on for 29. It was a commanding partnership that all but sealed the game. Singh finished on 33* whilst Nick Hay came in and hit the winning runs, passing the Lions in the 22nd over thus securing yet another bonus point victory.

It was a clinical win across the board from the Bears, and after last weeks collapse, there was no better way to silence the critics than an all round team performance like this.

The first two-day fixture of the season against Hawkesbury at the infamous Bensons Lane looms next week, with the Bears hungry for another win...

Brewer Shield Round 12: UTS North Sydney v Gordon at Killara Park

Gordon 3/119cc (A Uthappa 2/18, L Warren 1/17) def UTS North Sydney 8/90 ( G Keating 20, E Buckley 17)

This week saw us equal Nasser Hussain's Test record of 10 consecutive lost tosses and, with the record safely tucked in the back pocket, we headed out to play cricket. As per usual Gordon elected to bat first, but this week saw a change to the opening bowlers with Charlotte Moss getting the game off to a great start bowling 3 overs for 15. Despite Anni Uthappa (3 overs 2/18) also taking two wickets in her first two overs, the first 10 overs were rocks and diamonds. There was some great bowling and a few expensive overs combined with a couple of missed opportunities that cost us. Gordon finished the first 10 overs at 2/66, leaving us a little behind on the scoreboard.

A wicket in the 12th over to Lucy Warren and some tight line and length bowling from Mabel Oxenham and Tuvuni Jayakody at the back end of the innings put us back into the contest with Gordon finishing with 3/119. This was the lowest target we have had in any of the T20 matches this season and we had given ourselves a good chance at a win. After a slow over rate in the 1st innings the umpires only allowed 15 minutes for the changeover to start the second innings which left the openers no time for throw-downs.

Zoey Ridgway and Liz Buckley headed out to open the innings and got off to a good start with Zoey hitting one huge six of a free hit before being run out pushing for a second by a direct hit from the boundary. Liz then combined with Grace Keating to put together a good partnership that got us back on track before Liz got struck on the pads and, as with most 50/50 calls this year, it went against us and she was out for 17. Grace pushed on with the other batsmen leaving the Bears a little behind at the half way point at 3/55.

Unfortunately, Grace, looking to push the run rate, holed out at mid on for 20 in the 12th over. The remaining girls fought on bravely, with Caity Thomas adding 13, but the required run rate put pressure on the tail and we fell short finishing at 8/90 and Gordon won by 29 runs. This week's match saw us fall 29 runs short, in effect we were one good innings away from a win with three of our batsmen getting starts but being unable to push on for a match winning 40 or 50 the team required.

Women’s 3rd Grade Limited Overs Round 2: UTS North Sydney v Gordon at Tunks International Sports Park

Gordon 5/186cc (A Dongre 2/37) def UTS North Sydney 66 (E Buckley 46, G Keating 31)

Another beautiful warm Sydney day with a sea breeze through Tunks Park and an opposition we really do enjoy playing against - Gordon are always friendly and helpful, playing cricket in the true spirit that it should be played and even going as far as giving our newer players some tips. Makes you proud to be associated with the sport.

One year ago at Tunks Park, our Third Grade team had their first match against Gordon - we were in our very beginnings as a team and could actually only field 8 players, and Gordon made 168 in 20 overs. One year on, how things have changed. We had a full team of 12 players, all in correct uniform, organised and ready to play. Gordon were amazed and full of compliments at how far we've come in such a short time.

We lost the toss (again!) and fielded first. In this 40-over match, would Gordon double their 168 from a year ago? Anjali d'Cunha (0/17 off 6) and Anushka Dongre (2/37 off 8) took the new ball and immediately Gordon knew they were in a different match, scoring only 5 runs off Anjiai's first 3 overs, with Anushka picking up an early wicket and then Sherrie Elliott (1/36 off 5) grabbing another to leave Gordon wondering at 2/27. This wasn't going to be as easy as they thought.

Lucy Warren (0/19 off 6) kept things tight with excellent full-length bowling, but really good batting for the 3rd and 4th wicket saw Gordon climb to 2/82 from 20 overs ... less than half of their 20-over score last year. Bella Bursill (1/15 off 6) bowled "the best I've ever bowled in my life", getting their opener caught behind by Amy Gibbons, before Anushka Dongre picked up yet another run out from her deadly arm. Abby Williams (0/10 off 2) bowled a couple of tidy overs at the end, keeping the runs down as Gordon finished on 5/186 after 40 overs, not much more than their 20-over haul a year ago. Brilliant improvement!

Unfortunately it didn't continue as well in our batting, but there were still highlights. Tilly Kingsmill, Evelyn McKay and Sherrie Elliott started really well, absorbing 55 deliveries of pressure up front and setting up our middle order to push the score along. Evelyn's highlight was her first 4 at this level - great stuff Evy! Anushka Dongre fell to the first of two "miracle catches", a well struck pull into deep mid-wicket saw a running catch taken low and a fielder as pleased as she was surprised. Hetti Blackburn was plumb lbw, graciously offering no complaints, before Amy Gibbons - playing one of her most sensible and patient innings ever - fell to the second miracle catch. It was a very powerful drive that had "one-bounce four" written all over it until cover put up her left arm and couldn't believe that it stuck. Lucy Warren was our 3rd player in a row to fall on a score of 9 runs before Sarah Gibbons played some fantastic shots off the back foot and into gaps, showing that it's not only the youngsters who can run between the wickets. Bella Bursill had a peach of a delivery first up, Lara Eastman scored her first run ever at this level and Abby Williams ended up not out at the end with our total on 66 from only 25 overs.

While Gordon played well and deserved their victory, we felt very happy with our performance, especially in our bowling and fielding, and left wondering how a little more luck might have seen the game push a lot tighter than the scorecard suggested. And a welcome drink or two supplied by Sherrie Elliott saw a few of us chatting until well after the game, thanks VC! Another very good day of cricket showing that it's not all about the scoreboard - cricket is a wonderfully complex game that can be enjoyed on many different levels.

AW Green Shield Round 7: UTS North Sydney vs Bankstown at Kelso Park North

UTS North Sydney 9/169cc (J Hedges 58*, B Rogers 29) def Bankstown 112 (A Rana 3/24, J Dhanoa 2/13, EJ Oxenham 2/17)

We arrived at Kelso Park North for our final match looking to win and fingers crossed (based on other results) to qualify for the finals. Hamish Reynolds won the toss and chose to bat on a pitch that has a reputation for keeping low.

After a bright start by our openers the Bankstown spinners came on and Jayden Botfield was out for 20 (1/52). Billy Rogers was again doing well keeping the score ticking along when he holed out for 29 (2/59). With the ball keeping low at times, spinners came on from both ends and ripped out our middle order with five wickets falling for just 17 runs leaving us at 7/84. Jamieson Hedges and Aki Rana went about rebuilding the innings and played sensibly to get us to 116 before Aki got done by a ball that practically rolled, having hit a previous delivery from around about the same length for 4 - not fair! Jamieson was finding his range by now and started to attack the bowlers with the spinners having been bowled out. Javieer Dhanoa departed, leaving the Bears at 9/128, but it was Jamieson’s day and he put on a show hitting about 40 runs off the last 4 overs with Everett Oxenham doing well to hold up his end and rotate the strike. Jamieson finished with a match defining 58* to give us what we felt was an above par score of 9/169 from our 50 overs.

Hamish opened the bowling with a good tight first over featuring a fantastic bit of fielding from Jamieson who stopped a cover drive, picked up the ball and got the ball back to Ben Champion behind the stumps to run out one of the openers. The boys were already pretty chirpy at the start, but the run out added fuel to the fire and they were really getting behind each other at every opportunity. Declan Fitzpatrick opened from the other end and was getting the ball to swing in, but Bankstown’s dangerous top order were up to the task. Hamish, who was battling some sort of stomach bug all day, faded fast and Jaiveer was brought on early. Jaiveer was outstanding, accumulating dot balls and clean bowling their gun No. 3 batter to have the opposition 2-35 and keep the positive energy flowing in the field.

Everett was brought on to replace Declan, and since spin was so effective for the opposition it was the right move to make. Everett struck immediately after drinks getting their top scoring opener out for 32 LBW. After a super tight spell from Jaiveer, Aki came on from the other end and proceeded to rip out the Bankstown middle order. Everett also chimed in with another LBW finishing with superb figures of 2/17 from 10 overs. By the time Aki had finished, the opposition were 7/82 and he had figures of 3/24 from his 10 overs, another superb effort. With spin doing all the damage, Jayden was thrown the ball and struck in his second over. Finally Jamieson took the ball from his preferred end and came around the wicket to target the area that was keeping low and it only took two balls to get one under the batsmen’s guard. Jaiveer took the last wicket with a simple catch to Aki and the job was done Bankstown all out for 112. Jaiveer finished with the best pace bowling figures for the day - 7.2 overs 2 for 13, which was absolutely outstanding on a wicket that seemed to favour the spinners.

A fantastic effort in the field with all the boys really staying up for the whole fielding innings. Special mention to Jamieson with his 58no, a run-out and a wicket. It was a great way for the boys to finish the season.

Although we ended up with 4 wins from 7 games, we missed the finals with 2 of the 3 results we needed not going our way in other games. Having been with the team for the two previous seasons in which we only won one game from seven, I am super proud of how well our boys did. I was not sure how we would go when we selected the team, but I felt we had a good group of boys and during the pre-season they seemed to gel well together, and coach Jason put in the work to create a positive team vibe. I sensed we could see a much-improved performance from our team this year. Unfortunately, four wins was just short of finals. Even in the games we lost we were not disgraced. If a few things had of gone our way or just been done better in some cases we could have won at least one of those games and been in the finals, but rather than be overly disappointed I am thrilled with the level of ability I see in this group and am excited to see how far the boys can go with their cricket. With this sort of talent around the future is


Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman, Greg Buckley, Lachlan Reynolds and team captains.