Week 20 Wrap vs Northern Districts, Universities and Campbelltown

1st Grade Round 13: UTS North Sydney vs Northern District at North Sydney Oval

First Grade: Northern District 8/215 cc (M Jenkins 4/35, M Alexander 2/46) def UTS North Sydney 9/203cc (T Jagot 61, A Bariol 30)

After a few frustrating weeks, the game against fifth placed Northern District was set to start at the earlier start time of 9:30am without delay. It was a limited-overs encounter in light of all matches having had no play on Day 1. Upon winning the toss, Bears’ captain Tom Jagot had no hesitation in sending the opposition in under overcast skies.

James Campbell and Matt Alexander (returning from injury) were given the new rock to open proceedings. The NDs openers looked solid against the new ball, defending anything threatening and putting away any loose balls to collect five boundaries and move the score to 36 runs without loss after 10 overs.

With the first powerplay out of the way, Mac Jenkins and James Aitken were given an opportunity to create a breakthrough. However, the Rangers’ batsman had other ideas and set about increasing the run rate, improving the score to 58 runs after 14 overs. This tactic also increased the risk and so, in over 15, Jenkins claimed the Bears’ first wicket with the catch taken close to the rope by Brent Atherton – NDs 1/60. To add to the theatre, Brent threw the ball up inside the boundary – just in case he might overbalance. It had the batsman interested and even more disappointed upon seeing the umpire’s raised finger.

With the fall of the first wicket, Aitken and Jenkins built considerable pressure, conceding just 8 runs in the next four overs. The pressure led to another big shot by the number 3, once again caught by Atherton, and Jenkins had two and the Rangers were 2/68. Jenkins finished his first spell with excellent figures of 2/13 from 5 overs. Aitken continued and was rewarded with a wicket with the #4 batsman chipping the ball to short mid wicket to be brilliantly caught by Jenkins diving forward. The momentum had now swung in favour of the Bears with Northern District 3/82 in the 24th over.

Robbie Aitken had joined the attack, bowling in tandem with his brother, to also keep things tight with NDs crawling to 93 after 29 overs. Alexander and then Campbell came back for a couple of overs each with Robbie bowling from the other end. When Robbie (0/31 off 7) was hit for consecutive sixes onto the Macartney Stand roof by Chris Green, ruining his very tidy spell, he was replaced by Jack James. The quicks were replaced by Mac Jenkins. At the point when Jenkins was recalled it was 3/133 after 37 overs and, despite wickets in the sheds, the Northern District batsman had not been able to get on top of the Bears’ bowling attack and as such there was confidence of keeping them well under 200.

James was unlucky not to have a wicket with Robbie Aitken leaping full stretch on the long off boundary, grabbing the ball but unable to control it on the way down, but saving a six, and on another occasion having a caught and bowled chance against Green fall centimetres short. However, in the 40th over Jenkins finally dismissed Ben Davis, the remaining opener, taking out his off stump as he exposed his stumps (the ball after attempting to take out the scorers with a six that bounced off the window of their room!), leaving NDs 4/150 after 40 overs. Jenkins (4/35) struck again in his next over with the new batsman also hitting across the line against a full ball that crashed into his stumps, allowing Jenkins to capture his fourth wicket. NDs 5/160 from 42 overs. Jenkins finished with 4/35 off 10 overs, his joint best bowling figures for the Bears.

New batsman Miller and Green then picked up the pace putting together a handy 39 run partnership from 35 balls to move the opposition score to 199 for 6. The wicket was taken by Matt Alexander who had returned to close out the innings, with a simple catch taken by James Aitken. James Campbell (1/48) then claimed a wicket from the final ball of his spell in the 49th over taking out Green (54) with the catch taken on the boundary by Tim Reynolds, and NDs were 7/203. The final over saw Alexander (2/46) grab a caught and bowled that lobbed over his head just beyond the stumps. It also resulted in 12 runs with a dropped catch rolling to the boundary and a clean six from the last ball to give Northern District a better than expected 215.

Despite a couple of further dropped catches going down during the bowling innings that may have restricted the opposition score, the Bears were well pleased with their work and were confident of chasing down the runs when it was their turn to bat.

The Rangers’ bowling was top class early with both Jack James and Tom Jagot looking a little uncomfortable against the new ball. When James was dismissed with a jaffa that got through his defences it was 1/11 in the 5th over. Brent Atherton also found things testing, surviving a couple of confident shouts, but at the same time hitting three boundaries in his 46 ball stay to reach 22 runs and move the Bears score to 50 in the 18th over. Aiden Bariol (30) joined his captain and was busy, but at the same time collected two boundaries and a cleanly struck six over the bowler’s head. He unfortunately mistimed one against the off-spinner Felton just when the Bears were starting to wrestle back some control of the game. This left the Bears 3/93 after 29 overs and, with the scoring rate hovering at 3-4 all game, the required rate had jumped to above 5.5.

Tim Reynolds (19) also did a good job to progress the score before being run-out in the 38th with the score at 4/129. There were now 86 runs to score for victory, but the required rate had moved above 7 per over which meant rotating the strike more regularly and collecting some boundaries was required.

Despite five boundaries and a couple of sixes, one by Robbie Aitken (21) and another by Olly Knight, almost all of the other balls in the batting innings were dots and ones. As the overs passed, the required rate got higher and higher. When Tom Jagot fell for 61 from 116 balls in the 43rd it was 5/155 with 61 needed. When Olly Knight (14) was dismissed it was 8/181 with 26 balls remaining and 35 needed. The final two batsmen Mac Jenkins (11*) and Matt Alexander (11*), gave the Bears a glimmer of hope, scoring 22 runs from the last 21 balls, but with 22 runs needed from the final over this was not going to be enough.

In hindsight, the spilt chances allowed the Rangers to post a bigger score than they might have, but the failure of our batsmen to rotate the strike and find gaps left us 13 runs short over the 50 overs. Perhaps we could have attacked the bowling a little earlier, but the discipline of the opposition bowling and fielding must be applauded. Their bowlers hit their lengths and were backed up in the field.

The team’s hope of playing finals has not completely disappeared, but it is going to be tough with three teams one win ahead of us and four within striking distance behind us. The round 14 clash with Mosman is a must win and then we will need to beat Sutherland in the final round and hope other results go our way.

2nd Grade Round 13: UTS North Sydney vs Northern District at Mark Taylor Oval

Northern District 6/200dec (S Alexander 2/46) def by UTS North Sydney 7/202 (KS Allison 74, A Cavenor 46, C Spratt 25)

2s arrived at a gloomy Mark Taylor Oval for a rain affected two-day match, with delays resulting in a 93 over day. After conditions provided doubt for play early, the Bears won the toss and sent the Rangers in.

Despite a slippery run-up, opening bowlers Harry May and debutant Kobe Allison got the Bears off to a great start, hitting consistent lines and lengths. The pair combined for the first wicket, featuring a brutal bouncer from Kobe, a thick top edge, and a Glenn McGrath-like screamer from Harry May at deep fine leg, resulting in one of the great May celebrations. Following his work in the field, Harry took the outside edge of ex-Bear Adam Wigglesworth, and with safe hands from Lachlan Stewart, the Bears had NDs 2/11. What followed was a partnership of 116 between Anderson and Whealing, broken by a Kobe Allison screamer off the bowling of Ben Knox, and with a cheeky “see ya later mate” from the big quick, the NDs number 3 was on his way for 65.

The remainder of the Rangers innings consisted of two high catches off the bowling of Sam Alexander, a run-out from the great John Nevell (who was also making his 2s debut), about 20 high balls off the bat that somehow found space in the field, and a fielding display that contained insanely great efforts, and some insanely not so great efforts, the details of which will be withheld for the sake of all. After 39 overs, NDs declared at 6/200, leaving the Bears a comfortable 54 overs to chase the runs.

On his 2s debut for the club, the handsome Chris Spratt wasted no time, lofting everything over the infield, and interestingly holding the pose in some cases instead of running between the wickets. Spratty made a quick-fire 25 off 21 balls with five boundaries before being dismissed pulling. Jordan Vilensky fell soon after for 13 to a rapid bouncer off Alleyn, and after a few more quick wickets fell, the Bears were in trouble at 5/67.

Enter Kobe Allison.

Ironically dubbed as the “worst number 7 ever seen” by the Rangers, Kobe quickly earned their respect with the bat by simply bombing seven enormous 6s, clearing both the short and long boundary with ease. Adam Cavenor, who had been witnessing the wickets fall around him, combined with Kobe to put on a 97-run partnership to place the Bears back in the driver’s seat. An absolute treat to watch, Kobe sent spinners towards parked cars, and Cav charged the pace bowlers over long on for 6; the two looked unstoppable.

Adam was then bowled by a straight one (which also may have been an absolute seed), for a fine 46 off 59. During his innings he brought up his 1000th run in Bears colours, and I am sure there will be many more to come! Kobe was bowled soon after for a game-changing 74 off 52, leaving the game in the balance at 7/178 with 23 more to get.

Despite the high pressure situation, John Nevell made his way to 21* off 24 with ease, picking the gaps, running hard, and hitting three boundaries. Nevell combined with Sam Alexander to see the Bears home for one of the great wins.

3rd Grade Round 13: UTS North Sydney vs Northern District at Bon Andrews

UTS North Sydney 89 (LA Smith 25) and 1/99 (B Van der Merwe 47*, F Nixon-Tomko 45*) def by Northern District 151 (C New 3/34, F May 3/42)

After week one was abandoned due to the wet weather, the Bears and Rangers were presented with a pristine day for a 120 over contest.

For the first time this year we were coming up against a team who was ahead of us on the table, and what a challenge it presented. Northern District had not lost a single game this year, only dropping points from games which were abandoned or completely washed out.

They continue their good winning form into the toss and elected to bowl. This proved a crucial decision as two wickets fell in the first over leaving the North Sydney men reeling at 2/1. Things didn’t really improve for us as the next few overs delivered more wickets, with runs coming in dribs and drabs. Unfortunately, the ball was seaming around and more unsettlingly, staying a little bit low, which brought a couple of our better batsmen unstuck.

It was only until Luke Smith at number five got through the first few overs he faced that one of our batsmen got themselves into double figures. This was followed shortly after with Captain Jacob Graham edging and judging his way into an elusive 10+ score as well.

Unfortunately, Luke edged behind on the first ball of the last over prior to drinks, which reduced the Bears to 6/46 and brought Izaak Merlehan to the crease. His counter-attacking play after drinks started to grab some momentum back for the Bears as he to found a few boundaries and a few spaces in what was a sparsely populated ring due to the extended slip cordon.

A change of bowling to bring in a spinner for the first time in the match proved to be a crucial one. A miscued cover drive and some poor control brought a double breakthrough with Merlehan and Graham departing within three overs. This was followed by a quick collapse of the last few batsmen to leave the Bears all out for 89.

A ridiculously under par total meant that we knew we had to aim up in order to avoid complete embarrassment at the hands of the ladder leaders - and aim up we did. A fast start by their opening batsmen was quickly controlled with a breakthrough at the hands of Fletcher May removing one of the opening batsmen and exposing some youth in their top order. A short-lived partnership was broken again by Fletcher who had the opening bat caught at cow corner, before Fraser Noack got in on the act, removing the number three. Not to be outdone, Nuwan Whyte came into the attack, and whilst maybe didn’t have his best lengths immediately, he ably found the outside edge of a loose cut shot and had their best batsman out for not many. Jacob Graham then brought himself on with almost immediate effect and had their captain caught for nought and the Bears were up and about.

In the space of about 20 minutes the Bears had taken 5/10 and had NDs reeling at 6/67. Could the Rangers hit a further 23 runs on a deck which had so far proven very hard to bat on? Yes they could – but with the ball still swinging and seaming around and staying low at times, it took what felt like the longest time in grade cricket history to score the 23 runs needed. With about 60 overs still left in the day, the Rangers had time on their side. They put away all attacking strokes and were content to go at around one run an over, often finding a way to bunt in and around the ring for 1. In the end, it took 15 overs without loss of a wicket to score the runs and with that they secured a 1st innings win.

A run out to Graham shortly after the Rangers passed our total was a minor consolation as the Bears re-focused on whatever was left to play in the day. With game time still to play the skipper rang the bowling changes and brought on an impressive (in the nets) Cam New. Sporting a fresh birthday haircut and with extensive dinner plans with the girlfriend, he sent down some explosive leggies. With such spin and bounce it was like watching a young, thin Shane Warne. Despite being completely dispatched for 17 off his first over, there was something in the air with what he was sending down and so he secured himself a second over. Realising he had nothing to lose, he made a double breakthrough in his second over. He followed this us with another wicket in his third over.

In the space of 14 balls, New finished the ND innings and left the field with the figures of 3/34. Some say he is still smiling and telling his coworkers about his spin and guile. NDs finished all out for 151, a lead of 62.

After their success with the new ball earlier in the day, the Rangers’ skip told us to put the pads back on. James Leary fell early again, however that would be their only success as Finn Nixon-Tomko and Ben Van der Merwe punished their attack to all parts of the ground to the tune of 85 runs in 12 overs to have us 1/99. The close of the 18th over brought with it the opposing captain declaring to the umpires that they wished to withdraw their pursuit of 10 points. With not enough time left in the day to force a result ourselves, we accepted the invitation for an early shower.

Unfortunately, not the result we wanted or needed this close to the end of the season but the loss brought a lot of confidence that an extra 50 or 60 runs in our innings could have meant a completely different result. Special mention to Fletcher May whose opening spell was special and whose breakthroughs kept us in the hunt. He was the pick of the bowlers with 3-42.

Bring on the local derby with the Mosman Whales next week.

4th Grade Round 13: UTS North Sydney vs Northern District at Asquith Oval

Northern District 4/138dec (C Savage 2/27) def UTS North Sydney 91 (B Kumar 43) and 2/40

4s were on the road again, heading to Asquith Oval to take on NDs. A dewy ground greeted the players and an energetic soccer game was won by the top 6. Regrettably, skipper Lindsay's run of outs at the toss continued and we were sent in on sporty track.

The Bears initially started well, but then lost openers Hamish Reynolds and Jake Holmes to lapses of concentration. Soon after, Dhruva Thorat and Charlie Rose were also back in the shed after copping some quality balls from the NDs quicks, and we were on the ropes at 4/22.

Michael Lloyd (14 off 67) and Baran Kumar knuckled down to the task at hand and ground the Bears to 4/44 before Lloyd was dismissed by another quality ball. From here, Kumar (43) and Nick Hay batted through to lunch and beyond and started to wrestle the game back. At 5/84, the Bears were threatening to take the ascendancy in the game particularly noting the very slow outfield.

However, Hay fell and then Kumar shortly after. The wickets kept tumbling and the Bears lost 5 for 7 to slump to 91 all out. It was a disappointing collapse after all the hard work of the morning. The requisite fight was not shown by the tail, which ultimately had a large impact on the outcome of the fixture.

The Bears started well in their defence with Chris Savage grabbing two early wickets. However NDs put together a solid 3rd wicket stand with their young bats batting well, noting that the wicket was playing far less tricks than earlier in the day. Defeat was in sight for some time as the Rangers methodically chipped away at the total, securing victory in the 37th over.

In a rather optimistic pursuit of an outright, the NDs skipper then elected to bat on after passing the Bears with 32 overs left in the day, and added a further 46 runs in 7 overs. After the declaration, NDs left themselves with 23 overs to bowl out North Sydney on a now flat wicket, noting it took 51 overs to bowl the Bears out when the wicket was at its most difficult.

Although Nick Hay and the brave day-watchman Sol Balbi were lost, Charlie Rose and Dhruva Thorat looked untroubled and the game was thankfully called with the Bears 2-40 in the 2nd dig.

It was a disappointing loss which now means that both of the remaining games are a must-win in order to make it to the post-season.

5th Grade Round 13: UTS North Sydney vs Northern District at Tunks International Sports Park

Northern District 5/91 (A MacGill 2/21) def UTS North Sydney 90 (B Revai 38*)

An ominous forecast seemed like fake news as the Bears arrived at Tunks International Sports Park for a must win clash with Northern District.

Losing the toss and being sent in on a classic Tunks wicket, the Bears set about building an innings and got off to a strong start, with Jamieson Hedges and Dilraj Singh battling through the new ball nicely. However, after the hard work was done, both youngsters were undone by a rush of blood, playing loose shots.

Michael Oliver and Alex Perry continued the fight in tough conditions, before Oliver slashed at one outside off stump and was caught behind. Cooper Goddard, making a celebrity appearance at number 5 for North Sydney, struggled to get going before cutting one to cover point as spin was introduced.

Ben Revai and Perry began the fightback at four down for not many, taking the Bears to 65 at lunch, which was a hard-fought effort, with the Rangers bowlers sending down consistent deliveries.

Perry was dismissed for 19 shortly after lunch and unfortunately, much like the previous weeks, we lost the final 6 wickets for 20 runs, to be all out for 90. The bright spot was Revai's controlled innings of 38*, being the only batsmen who applied himself in the conditions.

The sun came out for the afternoon and the pitch flattened out, but the Bears bowling attack wasn't intimidated. Alex MacGill and Ben Revai took the new ball with Revai (1/16) striking early trapping one of the openers in front.

MacGill then quickly removed the other opener with a peach, cutting the batsmen in half and having him caught behind by another celebrity, keeper Michael Goode. Shortly after MacGill (2/21) also removed the number 3 with a sharp bouncer, caught by Archie Wright at fine leg.

Needing the wickets to keep flowing, Perry threw the ball to Wright, who answered, with a searing spell of blistering pace and swing. He was rewarded with a wicket, spectacularly caught by Michael Oliver at 2nd slip. At drinks, 40 minutes prior to tea, the Rangers were 4/31 with the Bears well in the game. After the break, the ball stopped swinging, and it was a batting paradise. Hedges and Shiv Vohra bowled well with no luck, with NDs fighting back in the short session before tea.

Post tea it was tough for both teams, the batsmen being patient, the bowlers being consistent. Jaiveer Dhanoa on grade debut had great figures of 1/2 off 6 with 5 maidens, keeping the Bears in the fight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the Bears’ day, with the Rangers grinding out the chase in 53 overs.

With two rounds left, and sitting in tenth, 10 points out of the top 6, the Bears will be looking for an outright and 10 points against local rivals Mosman next week in order to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Brewer Shield Round 16: UTS North Sydney v Campbelltown-Camden at Raby Sports Complex Oval 3

Campbelltown-Camden 113 (MR Oxenham 4/12, E Buckley 2/7, L Warren 2/15) def UTS North Sydney 99 (G Keating 26)

The Bears commenced the long trip out to Campbelltown for the second time this season as some irregularity in the draw saw Campbelltown Camden awarded two home games this season against the Bears. We again won the toss and elected to bat first.

The girls got off to a slow start with Campbelltown dominating the first 10 overs finishing 0/45 through a combination of loose bowling and poor fielding.

Then some tight bowling from Lucy Warren assisted Anjali Uthappa to take the first wicket before taking two of her own (Lucy 5 overs 2/15). After a strong start from Campbelltown, the Bears were now back in the game at 3/77 after 19. The next bowling pair turned the game by causing a collapse with Liz Buckley steaming in at one end and spin queen Mabel Oxenham making the most of the spin friendly pitch (Liz 4 overs 2/7, Mabel 5.4 overs 4/12). Unfortunately, a couple of expensive overs late in the innings just saw Campbelltown push the score out over the 100 mark, with their innings finishing all out for 113 after 30.4 overs.

The early end of the innings saw the umpires making the very unusual decision to provide a 10-minute changeover, which would interrupt the UTS North Sydney innings 40 minutes later to break for lunch. Campbelltown started the innings with the slow bowlers who were getting a lot of variable bounce that we had not seen from our quicks which was making batting difficult, and we again lost our first wicket in the first over. Our top order settled in and decided to bat time before the pace of the run rate got the better of Liz who mistimed an on drive back to the bowler leaving us at 2/15 after 8 overs. Grace Keating and Zoey Ridgway dug in before Grace took advantage of some loose bowling to finish the first 10 overs at 2/28.

Unfortunately for the Bears, the 40-minute lunch break disrupted the innings. A couple of overs after restarting Grace was out LBW for 26 and another quick wicket saw us stumble to 4/38. The slow scoring had now allowed the field to press in and the defensive nature of our batting was making runs very difficult to come by until Lucy Warren strode the crease. Lucy turned the tide of the match with some powerful hitting, scoring a quick fire 11 off 13 before just getting under one and being caught at deep fine leg with the team being just over halfway there at 5/60. Zoey, who had battled hard all day, then fell for 11 of 46 deliveries and a new partnership was needed if we were to stay in the contest.

Olivia Aylward (11 off 58) and Bianca Lozell (13 off 56) then set about rebuilding the innings, creating a solid partnership, but runs were very hard to come by with the onslaught of slow to medium bowling combining with variable and low bounce off the wicket. The pressure of the run rate then began to tell with the girls taking increasingly risky singles before Bianca's luck ran out with a direct hit from mid off seeing her short of the crease, the score now 7/89 (25 runs to win). The pressure of the run rate and the close in fielders saw a quick succession of the tail leaving us all out for 99, 15 runs short of the opposition’s score.

Despite the poor start to our bowling innings, the girls put themselves in a match winning position. Unfortunately, we did not handle the pitch conditions well, our inexperience showed through with lack of understanding of how to score on this type of pitch. We needed to hit the ball hard and straight to pierce the infield and again our top order left too much for the tail to do to win this match.

Women’s 3rd Grade Limited Overs Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Universities at Tunks International Sports Park

Universities 92 (A d’Cunha 4/15, A Williams 3/10) def by UTS North Sydney 8/182cc (A Gibbons 50*, A Dongre 46)

Just brilliant! A new team record score, our first 50 in thirds, an amazing bowling streak and a number of other highlights came together to produce a much-deserved victory for our third grade women this week.

Having won the toss and chosen to bowl first, our captain was torn by a request from the opposition to allow them to bowl first as two players had to leave early. As we had the same problem (Bella had to leave at 3:30pm) and had done all our pre-planning on the hope of bowling first, we instead offered to provide the Universities team with two extra fielders later in the day. We then took to the field with fire in the belly after an inspiring performance against Gordon last week.

Our first ball was set up to be something special. Anjali d'Cunha, our first player to achieve a 5-fer, was on a hat-trick of sorts, having taken two wickets with her last two deliveries in the previous match. We planned to give her an amazingly compressed field with every player in close - really, really close. Anjali ran in, full length, beat the batsman and missed the off stump by millimetres! So close and yet so far for the magic hat-trick! But, would you believe it, the very next ball, same delivery, millimetres closer and the off stump went cartwheeling. And, if that was hard to believe, the third ball of the innings produced the same again!

Amazingly, Anjali had just bowled the following sequence of 7 deliveries over two matches:

  • Wicket dot Wicket Wicket dot Wicket Wicket!
  • And all 5 of those wickets were bowled!

Has anyone ever come closer to a hat-trick and not had one?!! Anjali would finish the day on 7-3-4-15, a 4-fer to follow her 5-fer - fantastic bowling!

Captain Hetti Blackburn decided to maintain the pressure of a very close-in field, which delivered results as Universities were soon in more trouble at 4/6 - a good catch from Bella Bursill at short fine leg, followed by Bella (7-2-1-12) then bowling the Universities number 4, none other than a relative of the great Alyssa Healy. Anushka Dongre (5-2-1-4) gave nothing away, going for less than 1 run per over and grabbing a wicket, Urzana Ghadially (2-0-0-4) kept things really tight. Evy McKay's (3-0-0-12) spin and bounce troubled the batsmen again.

In keeping with giving everyone a go and developing the team as much as possible, we used all 9 players that were willing to have a bowl, with Sarah Gibbons and Jillian Edwards being treated some fine cricket by the very sticky Universities opener, before Abby Williams (5-3-3-10) bowled excellently to dismiss not only the opener (another good catch from Bella) but also adding an lbw and a bowled to her tally - great stuff Abby! And in one of our much-celebrated highlights of the day, Lara Eastman (2-0-1-11) earned her first wicket for 3rd grade - a fantastic one-handed low catch from Urzana!

Universities had made 92 all out and we could feel some growing excitement ...

Our openers, Evy McKay and Bella Bursill, had to face up against the Universities best bowler - this week they could survive only 13 balls between them. It’s always tough up front, but the team as always is so grateful for their willingness to take on the task. In her debut at the number 3 position was Sarah Gibbons who had earlier said "I just want to hit one good clean powerful four today". Well, she delivered to that goal and then some, striking 4 fantastic fours through square leg on her way to 18 off just 19 balls, to many cheers of support from her teammates!

Amy Gibbons joined her Mum at the crease - always good to see - followed by Anushka Dongre at number 5, with a good platform set but some hard work to do against that opening bowler (who would finish on 8-2-2-12). Amy and Anushka set about their task brilliantly - plenty of very defensive dot balls, some amazing footwork from Anushka - good to see players moving around the crease - and the score slowly trickled up. When both were well set, the fireworks started ...

Amy has tremendous power which seems to come effortlessly - in her last game against Universities she smashed 34 off 15 balls including 3 fours and 3 sixes. Today had called for a more disciplined approach initially, but when she opened up, Universities must have had that dreaded sense of déjà-vu ... Amy picked up 7 fours and 3 sixes on her way to her - and our team's - first 50, with big smiles and cheers all round. Well done Amy, you've worked hard for it and deserved the milestone.

Amy had to retire at 50. Job done as the match had been won but there were some bonus points to fight for: we earn 0.1 points on the ladder for every 10 runs we score more than the opposition, and since we still have an outside chance of making the semi-finals, we decided to push ahead and bat through our overs. It's tough on the opposition when a team does that, so apologies and a big thank you to Universities.

Anushka had made 44 in the last match against Gordon and desperately wanted the magic milestone. Sadly, today was not to be - a fantastic score of 46, one of those bitter-sweet scores in cricket, not as tragic as a 99, but bitter-sweet nevertheless. Great batting Anushka, the 50 will come.

We then had a chance to see all of our batsmen get a go as we batted through to the last ball of our 40 overs. Hetti Blackburn made a solid 8 and Jillian Edwards ground out 2 from her 27 balls - nothing like time in the middle to build up your skills and confidence before Urzana Ghadially made her first double-figure score with the bat, finishing on 11* off 34 balls and showing growing confidence for every delivery she faced - very good to see. Anjali d'Cunha doesn't love batting, but kept at it for 16 balls to make a good 3 runs (and of course importantly earn the sundries which added to our total), Abby Williams also added a solid 8 runs and was starting to really strike the ball well, and Lara Eastman managed to survive the final ball of the innings as our team finished on 8/182.

Even better than our win, our record score, our maiden 50, our 4-fer to follow a 5-fer and numerous other highlights, was seeing how well the team has united in support of each other. Hetti's captaincy has been superb all season and was even better today: creating pressure with her field, using her bowlers cleverly and maintaining a cohesive and inclusive spirit throughout the team. The players themselves are loving their cricket, improving every game and showing that we really are "the team to watch this season".

Super proud.


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