Week 22 Wrap vs Mosman, Manly-Warringah and Penrith

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

North Sydney 146 (TA Jagot 33, M Jenkins 29) def by Mosman 3/149

It was going to take a miraculous effort by the UTS North Sydney bowling unit to dismiss Mosman before they passed our first innings total of 146. It was a tale of two pitches and the Whales clearly had the upper hand.

We got underway on time at 9:30am with Matt Alexander starting with the newish ball from the fig tree end. Despite a few balls whistling past the stumps, from both Alexander and Campbell, with the batsman happy to leave the ball alone, there was nothing to fear on this flat, sedate pitch. The two batsmen slowly picked up singles and the odd boundary to move the score along from 1/15 to 1/40 from the opening 11 overs, before the opening bowlers were replaced. James Aitken and Olly Knight then bowled in tandem for the next 10 overs, again without success, and again with only a moderate movement in the score to 1/63. However, with no wickets falling, Mosman strengthened their position and now only required 84 runs for victory.

The introduction of spin brought some life into the game with Robbie Aitken joining his brother to create a few half chances. This persuaded the captain to bowl spin from both ends with the introduction of Mac Jenkins. The right and left arm spinners toiled away until Jenkins claimed the first wicket of the morning with the catch taken by Alexander running around from mid on to collect the skied ball in line with the stumps. Mosman 2/72. Mac continued but Robbie was replaced by James Campbell for an over and then Jack James for an over leading into the lunch break.

After lunch Alexander and James were given the first opportunity with the ball. It was Jack who struck first turning one between bat and pad to rip out the off stump of Mosman’s set number 3. This left Mosman 3/99 and if there was any realistic chance of winning the game the Bears needed more wickets in a hurry.

The batsmen were patient, but as the target got smaller and smaller they started to take advantage of the attacking field. At 3/122, NSW 2nd XI player, Lachlan Hearne, lofted two shots over the infield for four but, not to be outdone, James drew a false shot from the batsman who hit the ball straight to mid on. Unfortunately, the regulation catch was put down and Hearne was given a life. From here he made the Bears pay with Campbell and James being hit for several boundaries to finish the match.

The loss sees the side slip to 11th place and extinguishes any finals aspirations. There is, however, an opportunity to move up a few places on the ladder with a win in the final round and all players will want to finish the season on a high note.

2nd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney vs Mosman at Allan Border Oval

North Sydney 202 (RD Alexander 40, S Alexander 35, C Spratt 34, A Cavenor 28) def by Mosman 9/205 (N Whyte 3/32, H May 3/46, K Allison 3/60)

Returning to Allan Border Oval produced a glint in the Captain’s eye with the expectation of the ball moving around early in the overcast conditions. That was soon dulled when removing the covers revealed a wicket that was much more batsman friendly to that of last week. This meant the Bears needed to be even more disciplined defending 202 if we were to take 6 points this week.

Our opening bowlers looked to continue the intensity shown from the end of last week and were rewarded early on with Kobe Allison (23.1-6-60-3) ripping off the front pad to take his first wicket of the day. This was followed up soon after by Nuwan Whyte (10-2-32-3), who took a wicket of his own, to have Mosman 2/44. Another by Kobe shortly after and the Bears had strong belief that they could bring home a result.

Samoz (13-4-37-0) apparently bowled only one turning ball all day, along with Benny Knox (10-3-21-0) combined well under the conditions to keep the scoreboard tight in the back end of the morning session. There wasn’t much else to celebrate as the Mosman batsmen toiled hard and began to take full advantage of the flattening wicket to be 3/114 at lunch.

GA calmly outlined the strategy for the middle session of the day as it would be the one that would see us through to a result one way or another. Harrison May (22-5-46-3) sprung to life in the second session to start the tumble of the Mosman batting order. The Big Horse that we all love to see was in fine form this session, bowling in areas that proved too hard to score off and taking 3 wickets in the process. Special mention to Spratty who somehow got a 50 over ball moving around corners. Nuwan and Kobe joined the Big Horse to have Mosman collapse from 3/130 to 9/151. It was an excellent display from the fast-bowling group, backed up by Vilensky in second slip with three sharp catches and one to Ray off a savage short delivery from Kobe.

Unfortunately, that was all to be for the Bears, with Mosman putting on a last wicket partnership of 54 to steal the victory. There were plenty of positives to take away from this game for this tight-knit group. All of our bowlers should be proud of the effort that was displayed, in conditions that were very different to last week.

3rd Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney vs Mosman at Bon Andrews

Mosman 110 (JD Graham 4/18, FJ Noack 3/23, B Wilson 2/21) and 6/164 (F May 5/59) def by UTS North Sydney 7/174 dec (JD Graham 96)

Day two of the Mosman clash had the Bears only 41 runs away from a first innings win. James Leary and once again makeshift opening batsmen Jacob Graham were the not out batsmen with the Bears three for 70. Rock solid confidence in what we believed to be an inevitable six points was challenged early in the piece, as returning first grade bowler Greg West marked out his run up and took the first over of the day.

Luckily for the Bears he was unable to show us every gear we know he has, as he was still returning from injury. However after five challenging overs, it was blatantly evident that he was far too good. Runs however flowed relatively freely from the other end as Graham and Leary both went about their work ,getting themselves set as they chansed the first innings win. Unfortunately Leary got one that jagged back and was adjudged leg before, which brought Chris Lloyd to the crease. With less than 20 runs to win, Lloydy went on the attack, and almost reduced the deficit to nil in one over. Clearing the front leg to hit strongly over cover as well as hitting and enormous 6s to the long boundary over square leg. Unfortunately his cameo couldn’t continue as a strong breeze off the harbour held up another pull shot destined for the fence. With a first innings victory secured, the Bears were given the license to attack for the following eight overs which would give them about 60 remaining in the day to try and get a second innings result. With quick runs being the focus, Graham went on the attack moving past 50, and then swiftly moving through the 60s 70s and 80s as boundaries galore started to rain from both ends. Joining in on the act was Johnny Nevell and Izaak Merlehan. Unfortunately for the captain's triple figure score wasn’t to be, caught out for 96 two balls before the drinks break.

The declaration came eight balls later with a lead of 64 giving the Bears are strong 60 overs to try and take 10 wickets and chase whatever was left. The pitch we were playing on didn’t at all resemble the tough-to-bat-on surface that we bowled on last week so we knew we had our work cut out for us. Due to a mid-week mishap one of their batsmen were unavailable for day too, so it seemed as though everything was leaning the way of the Bears pulling out something magical.

Brad Wilson and Fletcher May started us off and both of their first overs were absolutely brilliant. Fletcher took the first over and could’ve had no less than six wickets had the batsmen been good enough to nick it, however it was Brad from the other end who took the first scalp getting the ball to jag away sharply from a tough length to catch the outside edge of their opening batsman. The Bears were well and truly in the game and on the hunt.

Unfortunately several more overs of pressure continued but the second breakthrough wasn’t had, as the number three went on the counterattack and started to find the boundary quite regularly. It wasn’t from lack of pressure or lack of good bowling, but just quality batting and a little bit of luck here and there. Several times the Bears were a half chance away from getting the breakthrough but the ball just wouldn’t find its way into a safe pair of hands. As the overs ticked down the captain rung the bowling changes, but still the second wicket partnership continue to grow as they started to set a lead. Both the opener, who had been living dangerously, and number three, passed 50 as Mosman's total moved past 100. Fraser Noack bowled well to no avail, as did Graham and Merlehan, but it was the return of May to finally got the breakthrough and what a celebration it was. Uprooting the number three's middle stump, he made it two in two, getting the number four caught behind and the Bears were back in the hunt with May on a hat-trick. It was all happening. The opener remained tough to get out, so we felt we had to attack at the other end. A swashbuckling innings from Greg West Pushed their lead up towards 100 with what was about 25 overs left in the day.

Fletcher continued to work his magic and suddenly he had another his third, the opening batsmen was picked up when he too when finally missed a straight one. An over later Fletcher had his fourth, yet-another straight ball making its way through the Mosman defence.

Unfortunately whilst wickets were tumbling at one end they weren’t at the other, and the not out West continue to press on. Soon their lead was well beyond 100, and with overs dwindling down below 20 in the day, 10 points was a long shot.

Fletcher took his fifth in what was an incredible showing of skill and talent but with three we could still take, the Whales stop playing their shots and for the following 5 overs West and the number nine blunted everything we threw at them.

Play was called on the second innings pursuit Of 10 points with Mosman still six wickets down. An incredible day's play headlined by Jacob Graham scoring 96 followed by an incredible five wicket performance by Fletcher May in the second innings.

Bring on Sutherland in round 15.

4th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney vs Mosman at Rawson Oval

Mosman 40 (C Savage 5/15, P Lindsay 2/10, S Balbi 2/14) & 9/115 dec (C Savage 3/37, S Balbi 2/19) def outright by UTS North Sydney 6/84 dec (C Rose 31, D Thorat 27) and 2/72 (NC Hay 51*)

4s arrived back at Rawson Oval knowing anything less than 10 points would be a disappointment, after securing 1st innings points on day 1.

After a week of good weather the wicket looked (and played) substantially better than day 1 and the Bears would have to be at their best to take the remaining 9 wickets, noting the 42 run lead at the start of day 2.

Sol Balbi started the day well with two quick wickets and Mosman were struggling at 3-19. Chris Savage then took a further two wickets having swung around to the southern end resulting in four scalps claimed by the first drinks break.

The Mosman middle order dug in and showed some resolve and it took the two debutants, Jamieson Hedges and Ben Revai to get the game back on track, in the process taking their maiden wickets, and at tea Mosman were 7 for 62 with a lead of 18.

4s now needed two wickets (noting one of the Mosman batsman was unavailable due to a suspension from Day 1) whilst keeping the runs to a minimum to provide a stress less chase in the afternoon.

Alas an 8th wicket stand of 57 frustrated the Bears until a run out by Hamish Reynolds broke the deadlock. The last wicket fell shortly after leaving the Bears with the manageable target of 72 off 24 overs.

Shiv Vohra and Nick Hay strode to the wicket and played with purpose. Hay was particularly positive and it was he who dominated the innings scoring 51 off 47 balls and accounting for the 70% of the innings. 4s chased the total down in the 13th over for the loss of 2 wickets.

4s remain 6th but have our destiny in our own hands for a finals berth. We travel to 2nd placed Sutherland to secure our shot at glory. Indeed if results go our way 4s could finish as high as 2nd indicating the close nature of the top of the 4th grade ladder. 7th placed Parramatta are the only team that can jump into the 6 and they need to defeat minor premiers St George and rely on results to fall their way to do so.

5th Grade Round 14: UTS North Sydney vs Mosman at Tunks International Sports Park

Mosman 156 (A Rana 4/17, AC McGill 2/20) def by UTS North Sydney 7/172 (D Singh 72, A Rana 45)

After an extremely disappointing end to day 1 of the contest, the Bears arrived at Tunks International Sports Park to be greeted with a sight for sorry eyes this season, a solid batting wicket.

With no rain all week, the legend status groundsman Bernie was able to prepare a proper wicket, hard, flat and dry.

This coupled with the Bears renewed positive attitude, and a willingness to never say die, set the side up for a huge counter punch whilst needing a further 138 for victory.

After a short, tight warm up, Dilraj Singh and Aki Rana strode out to the middle with one thing on their mind, to take the sting out of the game.

The two youngsters began the day at 4/19, and at drinks the Bears were still 4 down for 47. The grit and grind from the two green shield players was unmatched through this first session, both playing a chanceless innings until the break.

Post drinks, the pair began to accelerate, showing intent and taking the game back to Mosman. After a flurry of boundaries, Singh brought up his half century in style with a monster bomb up onto the rocks of the hill on the west side of Tunks.

The two kept powering until the main break, seeing the Bears to 4/111, with Singh 65* and Rana 30*. Rejuvenated after some refreshments, the young pair made their way out to the middle with a killer instinct, both wanting to remain not out and finish the game after all the hard work done earlier in the day.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be, Singh was struck on the pads playing across the line, and judged leg before for 72. It was a match winning innings of patience, class and aggression. The partnership of 109 displayed characteristics well beyond the years of both Singh and Rana, both showing how bright the future is for these young two.

Mosman began to wrestle back some momentum, with Rana soon following his partner for 45, caught down the leg side. The score sitting at 6/136, and 21 required.

Alex MacGill promoted to number 7, and club coach Todd Harper were tasked with the always nerve racking task of guiding the team home with a small number of runs left.

The pair fought through, picking off singles and twos before MacGill was bowled, bringing Archie Wright to the crease.

The lower order bombsman Wright finished the match off with some clinical hitting and intent, completing one of the most unlikely comebacks seen this season.

The Bears finished up on 7/172, and with not enough time left for the outright the captains convened and called an end to the game, thus closing the door on the finals hopes for the Bears.

Despite missing out on finals, the grit and determination showed by the team far outweighs the prospect of finals cricket. The way the young core has developed over the season is far beyond what could have been expected, leaving the future bright for the Bears of UTS North Sydney.

The side now gears up for a final round clash against 17th placed Sutherland at Sutherland Oval, hungry to finish the season with back to back victories.

Women’s 3rd Grade Limited Overs Qualifying Final: UTS North Sydney v Manly-Warringah at Balgowlah Oval

Manly-Warringah 7/133 (U Ghadially 2/12, A Dongre 2/23) def UTS North Sydney 48

We made the semi-final!

From a team who couldn't field 8 players a year ago, we ended 3rd on the ladder and made the semi's! Regardless of the outcome, we were already claiming victory #1 for the day!

We arrived at Balgowlah full of enthusiasm and a faint hope in the back of the mind that maybe today we could provide the upset of the season, and then who knows, we pushed Gordon last time ....

We won the toss (Victory #2 for the day) and sent Manly in to bat. We knew that if we picked up a few key wickets, the game could crack open. Excellent bowling again at the top from Anjali d/Cunha (8 overs 1/17) and Lucy Warren (8 overs 1/23) saw Manly's number 2 and 3 back in the shed for a duck and 3 runs respectively ... we had a chance!

But Manly's opener (with her 3rd grade average this season of 52!) survived 3 successive and very close lbw decisions, or Manly could have been in big trouble early. Bella Bursill (5 overs 0/26) came in for some punishment from the opener who would go on to make another 50 and retire, while Abby Williams (5 overs 1/19) broke through number 4's defenses before left-arm seamer Urzana Ghadially (3 overs 2/12) took a great catch off her own bowling and added a 'bowled' victim to her tally for the day. Anushka Dongre (8 overs 2/23) then strangled the runs in the tail and picked up 2 wickets, with Evy McKay (3 overs 0/12) providing some great spin variation.

As a testament to how far we've come as a team, we actually held Manly to their LOWEST score all season! Their score of 7/133 was well below their average team score of 164 per match .... victory #3 for the day!

Our team's highest score for the season is 182, and we'd made 136 against league winners Gordon, so we knew that a target of 134 was within our reach.

We lost opener Tilly Kingsmill early, but Evy McKay (10 off 43) and Sarah Gibbons (5 off 32) dug in and fought hard to keep the opening bowlers out. Manly are perhaps the best fielding side in the competition and they cut off singles and fours with great skill - we crept up to only 1/9 after 8 overs, but we knew we had some fire-power coming ...

When Sarah was trapped lbw and Evy was run out, Anushka Dongre and Amy Gibbons were batting together again - we've had great success all season with their partnerships and we were full of hope, needing around 5 runs an over with 7 wickets in hand (and both can easily score faster than that!). But another run-out, saw Amy depart without scoring and Lucy Warren come in. Lucy has also made good runs with the bat and hopes were still hanging in there ... unfortunately Lucy (1) was then the first of 4 wickets from Mia Nel (the Manly opener who made 50) as our batting collapsed - the only time this season. Captain Hetti Blackburn (7) and Urzana Ghadially (2 from 24 balls) held back the tide for a while, but eventually fell along with Bella Bursil and Jillian Edwards, leaving Anjali d'Cunha on 0* at the end. And through all of this, our 13th man for the day, Lara Eastman, never wavered in her support of the team, thanks Lara for a great season!

Manly were excellent in the field, their bowling was tight and we were well-beaten by a very good side. Good luck to them and to Gordon in the grand final.

Match over, but there was still one more surprising victory to be had. Our champagne (and sparkling grape juice for the U18s) and snacks were thoroughly enjoyed by the team on a picnic blanket beside the cricket field - that was very good indeed - but our final victory was to come from perhaps the most unlikely place of all - from an umpire, post-match! Kevin McFarlane, standing in nearly his 500th match, came over to tell us that we were the most awesome team in the league (OK, my words, not his, but the sentiment was there). He was delighted to see how far and fast our team was developing and how much we played cricket in the spirit in which it is intended.

Victory #4.

Not bad for a day's cricket.

Bring on the 2021/22 season!

Brewer Shield Round 18: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Cook Park

Penrith 132 (G Keating 5/20 incl. hatrick) def UTS North Sydney 106 (G Keating 28)

The final game for the season saw the Brewers girls heading out to Gozzy’s backyard to take on the might of Penrith who were in equal 4th place with last weeks opponents Manly and battling for a finals position. Lucy broke her recent run of good luck with one more lost toss to see out the season, as expected and welcomed the Bears were in the familiar position of bowling first.

The opening bowlers Tuvini Jayakody and Charlotte Moss again got us off to a great start with Tuvini striking early with a sensational caught behind by Bianca Lozell (1/6). The Penrith side then worked hard to rebuild, and with the partnership just starting to look ominous, Lucy Warren struck with Chloe Day taking a contender for catch of the year, making excellent ground to catch an uppishly hit drive (2/25).

Shortly after, the remaining opener made the mistake of taking on Caity Thomas's arm to see Penrith teetering at 3/25. Unfortunately for the girls we dropped a few catches allowing Penrith to rebuild before Chloe Day picked up an lbw (3/81) and Grace Keating picked up the much needed wicket of the hard charging Callee Black (38 of 36) with a sharp catch to Liz Buckley (4/81)

A running mishap between the batters saw Caity pick up her second runout of the game (5/81), the game had ebbed and flowed but unlike last week we were leaking runs to the tail, Grace momentarily stemming the tide picking up her second wicket clean bowled (7/108). We needed some quick wickets to stay in contention, and not to be outdone by her sisters’ performance last week Grace was brought back into the attack and bagged a hat trick, completing her first 5-for in the process. There was very little fanfare as it took the sharp eyes of Sarah Berman and Rob Lavery from some 50 km's away to point out what had happened. However, the photographer had judiciously decided to video the hat trick ball, Penrith all out for 132 after 40.2 overs.

After a quick lunch break the girls headed out to commence the chase, Liz Buckley and Bianca Lozell got of to a solid start compiling 12 runs before one snuck through Bianca's defenses at the start of the 5th over. The girls then settled in building a partnership before Liz (15) was deceived by a change of pace and skied one to mid on with the score at 2/32. Grace who struggled to find the middle of the bat early was just starting to look dangerous when she dragged one back onto the stumps leaving us struggling at 5/61.

India Keating following last week's form continued to bat aggressively before being stumped for 10 (6/73), Charlotte Moss (12) played her best innings of the year looking solid until the return of the opening bowler brought her undone (9/100). Mable Oxenham (8*) was looking great at the crease but unfortunately, ran out of partners with the girls falling 26 runs short in another close one.

What the stats don’t tell you is the improvement in the girls this year. Despite the loss of four of their strongest team members from last year the girls have won twice this year and played 6 games where they had a legitimate chance of winning.

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