Week 18 Wrap vs Hawkesbury, Gordon and Parramatta

1st Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney vs Hawkesbury at Owen Earle Oval

Hawkesbury 172 (73.3 overs) (J Aitken 3/20, W Graham 3/30, J Campbell 2/43) drew UTS North Sydney 6/110 (29.3 overs) (JN James 59)

As a result of no play being possible on the first day, day two was to be a maximum of 120 overs with an early start, meaning an early night for all players considering the hour journey out to Hawkesbury.

With the weather app suggesting a 70% chance of rain, there was significant doubt as to whether the match would in fact proceed. The good news was that, despite a couple of rain interruptions, 104 overs were to be bowled in the day giving both teams an opportunity of a result.

After winning the toss, captain Tom Jagot sent the opposition in on their home pitch hoping to make use of the conditions. Will Graham was promoted after some good returns in second grade, to join James Campbell to take the new ball, with Matt Alexander absent through injury. The Hawkesbury openers were resilient and staunch in their defence early and it wasn’t until the 7th over that Campbell struck with a good catch at second slip by Olly Knight to have the Hawks 1/13. Knight replaced Graham after a four over stint with Campbell continuing from the other end. Knight (1/38) was successful on the first ball of his 4th over courtesy of a brilliant one-handed catch in the slips by Jack James and Hawkesbury were 2/44 after 16.

James Aitken had replaced Campbell and he kept the momentum going for the Bears with a third wicket in the 17th over with a sharp catch to keeper Aiden Bariol from an edge as the set batsman looked to hit across the line. Spinners Mac Jenkins and then Jack James (0/13) were then given an opportunity from one end with the quicks rotating from the other. Despite keeping the runs to a minimum there was no breakthrough as the #4 Baldwin and # 5 Mizzi set themselves for a long stay at the crease. It was Will Graham in his excellent second spell who finally broke the partnership of 41 runs off 22 overs with a perfectly executed yorker that rattled Mizzi’s stumps. It took Hawkesbury 45 overs to pass 100 runs as they continued at around 2 runs per over, struggling to get the tight Bears bowling away.

Mac Jenkins (1/16) claimed the fifth Hawks wicket with the score at 121 with the catch taken by Bariol behind the stumps. James Aitken returned for his second spell to remove Baldwin, who had been the mainstay for the Hawks with 59, courtesy of an excellent catch taken by Tim Reynolds at short cover. At 6/131 after 58 overs there were only 46 overs left in the game and one would have expected the Hawkesbury batsman to play a few shots to set up a result. This appeared to be the case with the #8 Shinwari lofting James Aitken over the leg side for six and then on the next ball trying to repeat the dose on the off side only to find Olly Knight at deep cover point – Hawks 7/137 with 44 overs left in the day, and the Bears hungry. Aitken was at his parsimonious best, giving the batsmen no leeway and giving away only 20 runs off 16 overs while picking up three wickets including the two top-scorers.

James Campbell (2/43) collected his second wicket in the 64th over with a faint edge through to Bariol with the score 8/148. After six frustrating overs the Hawks crawled to 160 before Will Graham picked up his second wicket with a catch to Olly Knight at cover, his third grab of the game. Surely, Hawkesbury had enough runs to set up a result with 34 overs left in the day. The declaration did not come, but four overs later Graham (3/20) was rewarded with a third wicket and Bariol a fourth catch with Hawkesbury all out 172.

This left the Bears 30 overs to chase down the runs at just under 6 per over on a difficult wicket and a slow outfield after spending 73 overs in the field under humid conditions. The weather was brighter than it had been all day, but it was not going to be easy!

Jack James opened up with Brent Atherton with James taking 6 runs off the first over. Unfortunately, he lost his partner in the next over to the left armer, bringing the captain Tom Jagot to the middle. The pair put together a solid 56-run partnership off 88 balls to move the score to 62 by the start of the 17th over and set a platform from which the Bears could go through the gears and push for the win. Jagot had reached 22 runs when he was dismissed leaving a further 111 runs for victory from the final 13 overs.

The momentum then shifted in the Bears’ favour with James and new batsman Aiden Bariol taking 10, 10 and 11 off the next three overs including a six over cow corner by James to progress the score to 97 with 10 overs remaining. The equation was improved to 76 runs from 60 balls and a strong possibility if the power hitting continued. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be the case with James (59 runs off 60 balls) losing his wicket in the 21st over with the score at 3/101. His wicket triggered a mini-collapse with Tim Reynolds, Bariol and Olly Knight all dismissed for the addition of 5 runs – Bariol to a catch of the season contender from his counterpart Ryan Mizzi behind the stumps. Robbie and James Aitken then batted out the remaining 5.3 overs to secure the draw, with the Bears finishing at 6/110 when the teams shook hands with three balls remaining available.

In a milestone moment, not only did Jack reach fifty for the third time this season, he also passed 1,000 runs in NSW Premier Cricket for UTS North Sydney during his innings in only his second season of 1st grade.

In spite of the draw, the team has moved up four positions to sixth on the ladder, which is heavily congested, so the one point may yet prove vital. The Bears take on fifth placed Northern District (44 points) in the next two-day game at North Sydney Oval. NDs are 10 points clear of sixth and will not want to slip up with UTS North Sydney, Randwick Petersham, Bankstown and Easts all on 34 points. The Bears also need to keep winning with the above-mentioned teams and St George (33); Gordon (32) and Wests (32) ready to take our spot.

2nd Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney vs Hawkesbury at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 149 (A Cavenor 33, L Stewart 31) def by Hawkesbury 4/155 (F May 3/67)

Defending just over 110 and hunting 8 wickets for victory, the Bears would have to bowl well and be disciplined on yet another rain-affected day at North Sydney Oval. Energy was high, and after a slightly delayed start the Bears bowlers were into their work. A strong opening stint from the May brothers and an early wicket to Fletch got the ball rolling with the Hawks at 3/38 and the win seemed well and truly within our grasp.

The momentum was not to last, however, as constant patches of rain interrupted play for the next two sessions, often playing entire periods without a break in the drizzle. This made it very difficult for the bowlers to get back into their rhythm and had a detrimental impact on the ball negating any potential movement. An early lunch and tea were taken due to the consistent rain. After the tea break, we had the first full hour of play for the day and finally made it to a drinks break. The bowlers continued to toil away with Fletch and ‘Samos’ Alexander keeping it tight, creating a few half chances, as the batters proved defiant in tough conditions. The Hawks were able to chip away at the total with a big fourth wicket partnership taking them to within 15 of the target. A late wicket to Harry was a small consolation before the Hawks passed the total 4 wickets down.

A tough day in the office for the Bears, with a few things not going our way making it difficult to defend a small total. Our bowlers all bowled well as a unit and showed class in executing their skills. With a few more runs on the board and a bit more luck with the weather we could have given it a real crack. We have a big round against NDs next week and I feel there are plenty of positives to take out of this week to take into a key clash.

3rd Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney vs Hawkesbury at Bensons Lane 2

UTS North Sydney 9/114 (L Smith 49) drew Hawkesbury 164 (KS Allison 3/26, N Whyte 3/41, B Wilson 2/39)

Saturday started a little earlier for the Bears this week, as a day one wash-out equated to a 120-over day two. This meant the 47km journey to Hawkesbury began at around 7:15am for most.

Rain hit the windshields at 100km/hr on the M2 and with the weatherman predicting storms, many thought the travel would all be in vain. Fortunately enough though, the big man upstairs decided not to open the heavens and we were granted 108 overs of play.

With visions of skittling the Hawks early, Captain Yak won the toss and sent them in with an early wicket to Brad Wilson verifying the decision.

For what seemed to be an eternity, the Hawks went about their business at about two runs an over until Brad Wilson struck again in the 23rd. He bowled unchanged for essentially the whole first session and ended the innings with 2/39 off 18. That’s only possible if you are an out and out athlete that treats your body with the utmost respect. Well done Brad; good little player.

Our fielding innings was quite fiery from both sides, as there were even chirps coming from the Hawkesbury crowd. This played directly into North Sydney’s hands, as we sorta thrive on that. With that being said, the batting display was all but fiery, as the Hawks played few shots for roughly 40 overs. Every bowler had very tidy figures, with Nuwan Whyte being the stand out with 3/41 off 19, including two wickets in an over to start their collapse, and his 100th pole for the Bears. Kobe Allison snagged 3/24 off 11.1 with the fourth of his beamers rattling the batsmen enough to allow James Leary to take his second career grade wicket. Ben Knox took the remaining wicket, meaning a total of 165 required from 36 overs for the Bears to take the points.

Chris Spratt started as he usually does, with a couple of fine cut shots over point and gully to get the innings underway. Three quick wickets saw the Bears in need of a rebuild. That was made into reality by Luke Smith (49) and John Nevell (15) doing a great job. Kobe Allison (17) scored quickly and put the Bears in a position to steal a win, but with a couple of 50/50 decisions favouring the Hawks, the Bears were once again in trouble.

The Hawkesbury spinners bowled in tandem and were bowling some extremely good deliveries that put them right back in the box seat with 6 overs remaining and only needing the one wicket for victory.

Enter Brad Wilson and Ben Knox. Little did the Hawks know, we reversed the batting order and these two legends of the game dead-batted the remaining overs (much to Wilso’s glee) and happily left the City of Hawkesbury with one very important point.

4th Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney vs Hawkesbury at Bon Andrews

UTS North Sydney 193 (C New 97, M Lloyd 25) def Hawkesbury 172 (C Savage 5/68, P Lindsay 3/33)

Grey skies and drizzle greeted the Bears at Bon Andrews to complete Day 2 of Round 12 vs Hawkesbury.

Despite the outlook, the drizzle abated for play to commence on time, and 4s set about building their total and seeing Cam New to three figures. Alas, Cam got a jaffa to be dismissed for 97. However the tail wagged somewhat to push the total onto a competitive 193.

After taking an early tea and losing three overs due to rain, the bowling innings got off to the best possible start with Chris Savage uprooting former Bear Mo Singh’s off stump off the first ball of the innings.

The Bears were able to reduce the Hawks to 9/104 and had victory in their sights. Savage (5/68) was the pick of the bowlers, moving the ball off the seam at good pace. Savage has been most impressive taking 12 wickets in the past three games since returning from injury. It was his second career 5-fa, following his first in fifth grade last season.

However, a combination of dropped catches and the ball finally succumbing to the wet outfield, reducing it to the proverbial cake of soap, allowed the Hawks’ 10th wicket partnership to gain some momentum.

Luckily, late in the day, the sun poked out from the clouds and dried the outfield (and the ball) allowing Pat Lindsay (3/33) to grab a top edge that was caught by Jack Thomas for his astounding 14th catch this season. The Bears prevailed by 21 runs with 3.2 overs remaining.

4s can be proud of their efforts as the conditions were generally not in their favour, but a victory was obtained thanks to Cam New’s terrific knock on day 1 and Chris Savage’s long spells on day 2. Special mention again to Dhruva Thorat and Drew Sellers whose energy in the field was first class.

5th Grade Round 12: UTS North Sydney vs Hawkesbury at Bensons Lane 3

Hawkesbury 140 (S Balbi 3/8, A Perry 3/24, AC MacGill 2/5) def UTS North Sydney 130 (J Hedges 33, NC Hay 27)

After copious amounts of rain for the first weekend of the matchup, the first two-day match of the season would ironically be played over one day, with 120 overs to be bowled.

Embarking on a long journey out to the famed Bensons Lane, the 5th grade Bears were welcomed with spitting showers and an unsurprisingly green deck. The ominous forecast also indicated storms in the afternoon.

Needing a result to keep pace with the top six, Perry and the team knew that bowling first was the only option. And after winning the toss, that is indeed what the Bears would do.

After a 15 minute delay, the players were out onto the lush outfield and raring to go. Sol Balbi and Alex MacGill took the new ball, instantly putting pressure on the opening pair for Hawkesbury. When MacGill tried to knock off one of the openers’ helmets, he attempted to pull the ball, without much success, popping it straight up in the air into the waiting hands of Alex Perry at midwicket for one of the easiest catches of his cricketing career. The unrelenting pressure from Balbi and MacGill continued, with Balbi sending the other opener’s off stump cartwheeling, and MacGill trapping their number 3 in front. With their foot on the throat, Perry took another catch at slip off Balbi to remove the Hawks number 4 batsmen and have the team in disarray at 4/11.

Ben Revai, Aidan Bennett and Jamieson Hedges all entered the attack to continue the onslaught, however the fightback had begun for Hawkesbury. Their captain and number 6 got countless lives from missed opportunities and the Hawks battled their way to 77 before Hedges chimed in removing the skipper with the 3rd last ball before lunch, caught at point by Balbi.

There were some light showers during the lunch break, softening up the deck and wetting the outfield, making for an interesting afternoon of cricket.

Resuming 5 down and some whispers of a declaration with the impending weather, the Bears began to push for the last 5 wickets with spinners Shiv Vohra and Alex Perry trying to make the most of the conditions.

Perry struck first, removing the number 6 for 56 after his 9 lives ran out, caught by Vohra at backward square. This triggered a minor collapse, with Perry bowling the Hawks keeper and Vohra picking up one caught by Hedges at slip. Revai took a screamer off Perry to have the Hawks 9 down. Some resistance was brought about in the last partnership, and Balbi finally brought an end to the Hawks innings with a leg before wicket dismissal.

Hawkesbury all out 140 with 54 overs left in the day and plenty of rain to come...or so was thought...

Singh and Bennett fresh off their electric opening stand against Fairfield strode out to the middle confidently. They were greeted with a swinging ball, and Bennett fell early after he miss timed one to mid off. Singh fell shortly after, with the ball holding up in the soft wicket and flicking one to square leg.

Nick Hay and Charlie Rose fought through the new ball, however the conditions were favourable to the bowling side, plenty of cloud, no top level water on the outfield, and a seemingly untouched ball still moving around as if it were new. Rose, after looking solid for 13 chopped on, bringing Perry to the crease at 3/28, making 140 look a long way off.

Hay and Perry took the score to 55 shortly after tea before a big swinging yorker got through Perry's defenses, sending the captain on his way, and putting a big question mark on the outcome of this game. With the game in the balance, and fresh off NSW Metro U16 selection, Hedges calmly walked out to the middle to join Hay, the pair determined to see the chase home.

As the sun came out, Hay and Hedges were pulling closer to the total, however after a spirited innings of 27, Hay fell caught behind. So often in cricket one wicket brings about a second, and Revai was unfortunately on his way for nought after a spectacular catch by the Hawks keeper.

Connell walked in at number 8 for the Bears with the game on a knife’s edge. Hedges and Connell took the fight to the Hawks and had turned the game on its head. With 9 overs remaining the score was at 6/120, with just 21 runs required.

A rush of blood from the youngster saw Hedges run out by a hair after attempting a quick single to mid off, bringing his outstanding fight of an innings to a close at 33. From there the lower order collapsed to be all out 130, ending a nail-biting day of cricket, and leaving the Bears gutted and with plenty to work on mid week.

Despite the loss, results around the grounds were kind, and the Bears are still within striking distance of a finals berth with three rounds remaining. Next round sees the Bears take on Northern District, a grudge match for many at the club. Hungry for a bounce-back statement win, the Bears will prepare rigorously for this two-day encounter commencing next week at Tunks International Sports Park.

Brewer Shield Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Parramatta at Bon Andrews Oval

Parramatta 114 (G Keating 2/14) def UTS North Sydney 52

Sunday was a perfect day for cricket, with Bon Andrews at its picturesque best and a nice cool breeze coming in from the east. This week saw Grace Keating taking over the reins playing her first game as captain. We got off to a perfect start winning the toss, deciding to have a bowl and a diamond duck courtesy of some indecision from the openers and an excellent throw over the stumps from Caity Thomas, with Bianca Lozell quickly whipping off the bails.

This was supported by some excellent bowling from our openers Charlotte Moss and Tuvini Jayakody who applied plenty of pressure on the batsmen by restricting the run rate, with the batsmen now looking to push the run rate which played perfectly into the hands of Caity who nailed her second run-out of the day. Grace then brought herself on to bowl and picked up an LBW leaving Parramatta at 3/53, Chloe Day claimed her first wicket of the season with the perfect ball taking the top of off stump. The Keating sisters then combined to remove Parramatta's remaining opener caught India bowled Grace (5/87).

This saw us into the tail, and Zoe Ridgeway followed up clean bowling the next batsmen (6/88). Unfortunately for Parramatta, they again made the mistake of running on Caity's arm and another direct hit (an extraordinary third run-out to Caity in the game) saw the score at 7/89. The Parra girls then started to put together a partnership which was looking threatening when Liz Buckley got the ball with a simple message: bowl fast. Liz picked up the next wicket with another catch from India Keating (8/112). Grace, relishing the captain's role, then closed out the innings with an LBW 9/114 and a run-out with Parramatta all out for 114 after 37.2 overs.

The girls went out to bat brimming with confidence, eyeing off potentially their second win of the season. Despite an early wicket they got off to a solid start until Liz (12) was adjudged LBW. This was quickly followed by two more LBW decisions that might have gone another way on another day, and a catch at first slip that may or may not have carried, decimating our top order. As she has all season, Grace (23*) dug in and was up for the fight; however, for the second week in a row, whilst being in a good position the team’s batting collapsed – this time to our lowest total of the season, all out for 52.

The overwhelming message is that we just need to believe in ourselves with the bat, fight hard to stay out in the middle and hopefully at some point we will get a few of the 50/50 calls to fall our way.

Women’s 3rd Grade Limited Overs Round 4: UTS North Sydney v Gordon at Forsyth Park

Gordon 161 (A d’Cunha 5/14, A Dongre 2/17, T Kingsmill 2/19) def UTS North Sydney 9/136cc (A Dongre 44, A Gibbons 31)

We surprised Gordon two weeks ago and did the same today with the opposition graciously commenting that we were a team to watch; later adding that we now showed the talent to beat any team in the league!

In stark contrast to the gorgeous sunshine on the last occasion we met, most of this game was played in the rain. The Bears won the toss (for a change!), choosing to bowl first with the chance of a rain-reduced match favouring the team batting second (no DLS). It didn't quite work that way as the rain abated in the last hour, but the thinking was sound.

Our opening bowlers were magnificent, holding Gordon to only 2/17 off the first 9 overs - this from a team who we had overheard saying before the match that they needed to score quickly today to help their run rate in the overall competition!

However, the highlight of the match was Anjali d'Cunha picking up the club's first ever five wicket haul in women's cricket with the amazing bowling figures of 6.4 -2 -5-14. Anjali was well backed up early by Anushka Dongre (2/17) who bowled an excellent line and length and could have easily bagged more wickets in her opening spell. Lucy Warren (3-0-1-8) also bowled tight early on forcing Gordon to change tactics before being completely strangled by the Bears attack. All bowlers were backed up with great fielding and field placements, as well as excellent keeping by Amy Gibbons (just a single bye, from a rare no-ball off the pitch).

Perhaps the difference in the game was Gordon's ex-first-grader, Kristen Dorsch who went on to make 50 and retire, and showed that you can actually clip a perfect yorker off your toes for six!

Mabel Oxenham - our 12-year old star on debut at the 3rd grade level – then picked up her first wicket, returning figures of 6-0-1-31. This left Gordon 3/79. However, it was Tilly Kingsmill (3-0-2-19) who opened up the game with two key dismissals to remove Gordon's well-set opener and their #6 - the first from an absolute screamer of a catch from captain Hetti Blackburn (her first of two equally brilliant catches at short cover) and the second from piling through the batsman's stumps. At 5/101 we had an opportunity to make further inroads.

Unfortunately, Gordon bat deep and their #7 and #8 re-established some dominance with plenty of hard hitting fours and Gordon were now looking at over 200 runs reaching 5/143 with 12 overs to go.

But then along came Anjali d'Cunha. With much self-doubt she took on the role of opening bowler a while back, and today she proved the coach right that she is actually a very effective and dangerous strike bowler, with some of the best line-and-length bowling we've seen all season. Hetti Blackburn's amazing stop-chest-arm-hand juggle to hold a very powerfully driven catch was Anjali's first victim, followed by 4 bowled victims which included the returning 51* retiree. In 13 deliveries, Anjali picked up 5 wickets for 4 runs, to masses of whooping and delight from her teammates!

Gordon had crumbled to 161 all out ... their lowest score against us and the first time we've bowled them all out.

Two weeks ago when we held them to 186, our batting went to pieces and we were all out for only 63. Importantly, we had only batted 25 of our 40 overs. What had we learned?

Clearly, we learned to defend the good stuff, hit the bad. Be patient, see off the opening attack, play into gaps. And importantly, you can't score runs if you're out! So we spoke about resetting and heightening our focus every ball - don't let five good shots be undone with one momentary lapse of focus.

Tilly Kingsmill (3) and Bella Bursill (1) dutifully opened for us, soaking up 24 deliveries between them and tiring out the openers. We can't stress how thankful the team is to have players willing to do this job and how vital it is to set up our batting platform. Anushka Dongre (44) played the most determined innings I've seen - a faultless and beautiful mix of super-tight defence and aggressive treatment of bad deliveries. Her six over square leg was celebrated with a big fist pump, brilliant to see. Anushka was only denied her maiden 50 by one of the unluckiest dismissals in cricket: a deflection of a great drive from the bowler onto the stumps to run her out at the non-striker's end. Lucy Warren (7) also showed great resolve and defence, and also unleashed when the time was right, turning a free hit into a six that sailed over the boundary and the fence at mid on.

Hetti Blackburn (11) patiently accumulated runs before cramping up and unfortunately not retiring hurt, a decision she immediately regretted as her stumps were knocked over. Amy Gibbons (31) put on a 45-run partnership with Anushka Dongre, with Amy picking up well-struck 5 boundaries in an innings that lifted the run rate and put us in with a chance. Mabel Oxenham (7) came in at a time when run-rate pressure was starting to build, but struggled to get a loopy bowler under control as she attacked full and outside leg stump. Unfortunately for us the umpires were being lenient on leg-side wides, with ball after ball going through for a dots as we watched the required run rate climb to impossible levels.

Sarah Gibbons (6) came in to bat with her daughter (not often that we hear that in cricket!) and once again showed the usefulness of hitting into the gaps and taking quick singles as she rotated strike and kept the runs ticking over. Anjlai d'Cunha felt some revenge as she was bowled through the gate on her 2nd ball and Jillian Edwards did the long walk out there to face only the last delivery, with her and Lara Eastman both finishing not out. And a big thank you to Urzana Ghadially for volunteering to be 12th man and not bat this week.

In the end we finished on 136, just 25 runs short, our lowest margin of defeat to Gordon by a long way. It was also our first 5-fer, our best fielding and catching and the second game in a row where we only conceded 15 sundries. Fantastic improvements in every aspect, every week!

It's time to believe our opponents when they say we have the talent to beat any team in this league!


Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman, Greg Buckley, Brent Ridgway, Greg Savage, Hawks Cricket and team captains.