Week 22 Wrap vs Blacktown, St George-Sutherland and Sydney

1st Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney vs Blacktown Mounties at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 162 (D Mares 30, T Reynolds 29, R Aitken 25) def by Blacktown Mounties 8/164 (M Jenkins 3/29, F May 2/56)

A match that was evenly poised after Day 1 was all over six minutes after lunch with the Bears coming off second best after engineering a collapse to get right back in the game before the interval.

The day began with a big lbw shout on Fletcher May’s first ball but then the runs flowed freely, the Mounties moving the score along at five per over, getting to 3/91 off 25 from their overnight 3/54 off 16. The introduction of Justin Rodgie at the southern end and then Mac Jenkins from the north brought more control, and eventually the much-needed wicket of Rafay Shirazi, caught by Olly Knight at slip off Rodgie. Out of Blacktown’s 4/113, the former Bear had made 68, so his downfall was an opportunity for our boys to get back in the contest.

A run-a-ball partnership of 32 followed, with Rodgie the recipient of a brief assault from Blacktown’s keeper, Di Bartolo, who was there for a good time not a long time. However, the Bears’ left arm ortho pair of Jenkins and Sam Alexander removed him (a good catch by Dylan Mares at cover) and the set batter, Dogra (another slip grab by Knight), in successive overs to have Blacktown 6/145.

With over half an hour to go to lunch, and 18 more runs needed to win, the runs dried up completely, with the Blacktown mid/lower order finding no way to score against the spin twins. Their skipper, Matt Day, finally opened up and took seven off a Jenkins over, but paid for his increased aggression by playing on. 7/154, nine runs still needed – could we? A couple of overs later it looked like maybe we could, with Jenkins picking up the number 9 with no further addition to the score. The ninth-wicket pair blocked out to lunch which was taken at 8/156.

After an interval that we all knew would be far longer than the following session, the equation was simple: take two wickets without conceding seven runs. It lasted just two overs before Blacktown got themselves over the line.

An impressive performance from Jenkins and Alexander (who was particularly miserly with 1/6 off 7 overs) to take four wickets for nine runs to give us a shot, but another disappointing mark in the L column and a case of what might had been had we managed 20 or 30 more runs on Day 1.

2nd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Blacktown Mounties at Joe McAleer Oval

UTS North Sydney 7/130 (46.2 Overs) (H Lee Young 45, L Stewart 42) def Blacktown 126 (53.1 Overs) (N Whyte 4/23, J Aitken 3/30, H May 2/34)

The Bears arrived in Blacktown with their finals hopes on the line, and 120 overs of hard-nosed cricket in front of them. Faced with a wicket that would undoubtedly ‘do a bit early’, skipper Lachy Stewart elected to bowl upon winning the toss.

The opening spell showed plenty of good signs, with the ball moving around in the humid, overcast conditions. However Blacktown managed to see it through with loss of just 1 wicket, and few a runs on the board. Fortunately, James Aitken and Harry Lee Young (1/32) came on to bowl some terrific overs, both picking up a wicket each to wrestle the momentum back for the Bears. That combined with a breakthrough just before lunch put us firmly in the box seat, with all signs pointing towards a middle-lower order collapse.

After the interval, the Bears continued on their way with some tight bowling, displaying all the guile of a team with everything to play for. Harrison ‘The Big Horse’ May (2/34) came on for an inspired second spell, cleaning up the number six bat before announcing to the ground he had ‘finally’ reaped some rewards. Harrison quickly picked up a second, and Nuwan Whyte (4/23) also jagged a wicket soon after to open up the tail. James Aitken (3/30) proceeded to strike twice on the back of some relentless line and length, with Nuwan taking the final pole with what can only be described as the slowest yorker of the day. Nevertheless, the home side had been bundled out for 126 leaving Norths chomping at the bit to peel off some runs.

The Bears got off to a slightly rocky start, with Max Clark copping a rough call early doors and Adam Cavenor losing his wicket to good rock from Blacktown’s opening quick. James Aitken and newfound opener Harry Lee Young then toiled hard and showed valuable respite, to see off the opening spell and consolidate the run chase. James was out caught and bowled just before the tea interval, with Glenn Aitken following soon after to leave the Bears 4 down with still plenty of runs to get.

Thankfully, Harry Lee Young continued on his merry way, putting together a composed knock of 45, batting time and reaping the rewards later in the day. Lachy batted fluently for his 42, punishing the Blacktown attack as the Bears came storming home. Despite a couple of wickets falling towards the end, John Nevell knocked off the winning runs to mark a resounding victory. 6 points and raucous team song made for a fine day to be a North Sydney-sider, with Second Grade’s finals hopes still alive heading into the final round next week.

3rd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Blacktown Mounties at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 8/311d (F Nixon Tomko 82, A Amir 70, O Jago Lewis 49, C New 33, H Reynolds 32, K Karan 25) (68 Overs) def Blacktown Mounties 93 (36 Overs) (B Wilson 3/29, T Laybutt 3/29, H Reynolds 2/24) & 184 (38.4) Overs (P Lindsay 4/54, B Wilson 4/65)

Thirds arrived at Bon Andrews in a strong position on day 2 of their Round 14 fixture vs Blacktown, 286 runs in front with 8 wickets required.

At the forefront of the skippers mind was taking 18 wickets in the day to grab 10 points that would solidify their top 6 position in the ladder.

The day got off to a great start with young guns Toby Laybutt and Hamish Reynolds grabbing a couple of quick wickets to have the warriors slumped to 4-26. Wickets fell regularly with Laybutt and Reynolds grabbing another each, before Wilson and Graham wrapped up the tail…warriors out for 93 in 36 overs and the Bears would 52 overs to grab another 10 wickets.

Ultimately the result was never in doubt as the Warriors played their shots and expressed themselves with some positive batting. They finished all out for 184 with 13 overs remaining and 34 runs in arrears. The Bears fielding was poor with a least 8 chances going down in the 2nd innings and this will need to improve. All the bowlers bowled well with Brad Wilson the stand out with 4-65 in the 2nd innings to complement his 3 poles in the 1st.

Thirds are therefore 4th going into Round 15 vs UNSW. The match is a sudden death fixture with 4 teams below the Bears that can overtake us and all are playing lower ranked sides.

Women's 3rd Grade Semi-Final: UTS North Sydney v St George Sutherland at Gannons Park Oval 5

UTS North Sydney 42 (36.3 Overs) def by St George Sutherland 1/43

4th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Blacktown Mounties at Jim Hanshaw Oval

UTS North Sydney 9d/251 (80 Overs) (R Broom 92, A Nigul 67, H Riseborough 30) def Blacktown Mounties 169 (54 Overs) (A MacGill 5/40, S Balbi 4/45)

Returning to Jim Hanshaw Oval to see the thick grass in the outfield and the tinge of green on the wicket, Perry had no qualms about declaring before a ball was bowled and handing over the responsibility to the bowling unit.

Down regulars Charles and Wilson, Balbi and MacGill stepped up, both taking early wickets and setting the tone for what looked to be an impressive day.

The hosts lost their fourth just after drinks, when Kumar rattled the off peg of the opener, and the Bears were starting to sniff an opportunity at 10 points.

Balbi had a strong caught behind appeal turned down for the 5th wicket of the day, and this seemed to turn the tide of the match. With Blacktowns number 5 & 6 going on to produce what would be their lone partnership for the match, putting on well over 100.

Tom Cole bowled with control in his 4s debut, beating the outside edge numerous times without luck, however, he did take the critical catch off Balbi to remove the Blacktown number 5 for 84.

This set the wheels in motion, with Balbi taking the next two wickets in quick succession to blow the game open, and MacGill swanned in and cleaned up the tail to give the Bears a well deserved 6 points.

With 54 overs gone, not enough time was left in the day to pursue the outright, which means the Bears would remain a solitary point behind 2nd place Parramatta heading into the final round. They did however move up into 3rd, with Gordon slipping up against a red hot Sydney outfit.

Seeding remains all to play for in round 15, with the Bears being able to finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th. They take on UNSW at Alexandria Park in one final outing to shape the finals campaign.

5th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney v Blacktown Mounties at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 112 (75 Overs) (M Lloyd 33) def Blacktown Mounties 91 (52.5 Overs) (R Adabala 4/22, J Denslow 4/34)

It was very pleasing to see the attitudes, effort and accountability the entire team took this week in a low scoring, grinding fixture. At no time did heads drop in the pursuit of 6 points and it was some of the best recovery bowling and fielding efforts by a 5th grade team in memory; it bodes exceedingly well for the finals and shows the mentality and vibe being taken into facing some pretty fierce-shaping opposition after round 15 next week.

Batting is art. Art is never finished, only abandoned.

This statement is speculatively attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci and he certainly presents as more of a traditionalist and would definitely be a student of the longer form. It would be somewhat surprising if you could spot L.D.S.P Da Vinci going down swinging after facing 12 deliveries, and having only encountering mild en-stranglement thrown away the easel and brushes. As a true master of the game he would suffer the ebbs and flows of the conditions until rhythm and tempo of strokes would come to him at some point allowing freedom of artistic display - accumulating an innings worth framing and hanging in the Louvre.

Albeit unfinished...

5th grade are drawing from this inspiration and have committed to turning stick figures into their own renaissance period; the value of wickets has never been higher.

Michael Lloyd top scored with 33, and the total of 112 (75 overs) was achieved through some great rear guard batting by James Edwards (22 from many, many deliveries), Shiv Vohra (12) and James Denslow (11).

As mentioned in the introduction the real stars came out in the field and produced some great bowling to restrict Blacktown to 91. A true patient effort by all, hanging on every ball of the 52.5 overs that it took. Ravi Adabala (4/22 off 15) and James Denslow (4/34 off 19) led the way and with Eesa Omar and Shiv Vohra keeping the run rate below 1.5 it truly built too much pressure on the Blacktown batsmen who looked very threatening for periods in their innings.

Not a match for the spectators but a true masterpiece in the second innings. All the best to the team this week with Rob Lavery trying to secure the minor premiership.

Brewer Shield Round 19: UTS North Sydney v Sydney at Birchgrove Oval

UTS North Sydney 5/130 (36.4 Overs) (E Buckley 72, S Julien 28) def Sydney 127 (38.4 Overs) (S Julien 6/27, I Selems 3/12)

The delightful Birchgrove Oval was the venue for the final match of the regular Brewer Shield season. With Sydney Harbour as a backdrop and dew still on the manicured couch outfield, the toss was won by the home team and the Bears were sent into the field. A decision that we were not unhappy with in the least.

The opening bowlers hit their length from the outset and Madeleine Winslow was immediately rewarded with a return catch. This crucial wicket breaking the usually impervious Sydney opening partnership. The bowlers then settled in for the grind as the Sydney top order dug in and set to work building a platform. The Bears also settled in and kept the screws on the opposition, making boundaries a rarity and forcing Sydney to scuttle through for very tight singles. Georgia MacDonald, Shiloh Julien and Sam Kuncham were all impressive as they held the usually fluent Sydney top order to 57 off 18 overs at the drinks break.

Sharon Julien and Emily Aitken then joined the attack. The spinners bowled well in tandem, holding the batters in check, with the runs at a slow trickle. The concerted pressure from all the bowlers finally culminated in the much anticipated breakthrough, with Kayla Robson pouching a catch off the bowling Sharon. With the number three dismissed and the partnership broken, Sharon then went to work on the rest of the batting order, dismissing the new batter two balls later. The remaining opener looked to accelerate, passing the half century mark on a patient innings. She then pushed a little too hard as Kayla again combined with Sharon to claim the fourth wicket and Sharon’s third. This is approximately when the wheels completely fell off the Sydney innings. The next two batters came and went, one bowled and one beautifully stumped by Karmen Jawanda, with only meagre contributions to the total. Sharon was once again the architect of their demise, claiming her 5th wicket and ripping the usually solid Sydney batting lineup to pieces. Pace was then reintroduced into the attack from the southern end in the form of Isabel Selems. She immediately adopted a you miss, I hit approach to the now exposed lower order. Her patience outlasted the batters and a couple of ill conceived swats across the line saw the stumps scattered twice in a row. Sharon then chimed in again with a caught and bowled, taking her day’s wicket tally to six. Isabel then brought the Sydney innings to a premature end in the thirty-eighth over with an LBW. The total a very getable 127.

The Bears openers looked untroubled as they powered through the new ball burst, with Liz Buckley taking ten runs off the sixth over. The Bears were 0/37 off 6 overs and a partnership was blossoming. Good shot selection combined with power put the opposition on the back foot, creating many singles as the fielders hung back on the ring. With the pace attack spent, spin was introduced. It was at this point that Liz unleashed, powering several boundaries towards the harbour. The bears raced to 0/70 off 16 overs and were in complete control, Sydney powerless to stop the flow of runs. Liz continued to motor along, reaching fifty in the twenty first over, and then moving to 59 in the space of a few balls. With the game racing towards an early conclusion, Shiloh took off for a quick single, stopped, slipped and was run out by half a wicket length. The Bears were now 1 for 93 after 22 overs and the bulk of the heavy lifting was done.

Sam then came to the crease and looked comfortable, but a loopy spinner proved to be her undoing as she looked to push the scoring along. Her stumping took us to 2 for 102 in the 27th over. Adelaide looked in good touch, crunching a boundary through the off side, but was dismissed LBW shortly after. Liz kept the singles ticking over, punching the ball with authority to the many boundary sweepers. Then out of the blue, with the end in sight, a near double bouncer drag down by the spinner brought the seemingly unstoppable Liz undone. The purest definition of a wicket ball that you will see. Liz was dismissed LBW for 72 trying to dispatch the dying half tracker to the boundary. The Bears were 3 for 107. Kayla Robson was not going to muck around and took up where Liz left off, taking the total to 4 for 121 before departing. This left Isabel and Eva to knock off the remaining runs before strutting back to the jubilant cheers of their teammates.

The Bears finished the job in the thirty-seventh over, claiming a bonus point against the virtually undefeated competition leaders. This was a feat that would have been unheard of just last season. The team is playing good cricket and will take a lot of confidence into the semis. The Bears have in fact locked in second place in the competition and have earned the right for a home final and home ground advantage. Go Bears!

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