Week 23 Wrap vs Sutherland

1st Grade Round 15: UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 1/79 (TA Jagot 41) def Sutherland 75 (J Campbell 5/25, M Jenkins 2/20)

Bon Andrews Oval was the venue for the final game of the 20/21 season. The sun was belting down, but there was some cloud cover and humidity in the air from the overnight storms. The pitch looked in good order, but after winning the toss captain Tom Jagot decided to bowl first to extract any benefit from the conditions.

James Campbell opened the bowling from the Cammeray end, claiming a wicket on ball four with the left handed opening batsman hitting across the line and paddling the ball around the corner into the waiting hands of keeper Aiden Bariol, who took a nice catch above his head. At the end of the first over Sutherland were 1/1. Matt Alexander kept the pressure on from the other end to keep Sutherland 1/2. Campbell completed the set in his second over taking out the other opener lbw with a ball that hit the batsman high on his pad and Sutherland were in early trouble at 2/3. Alexander then got in on the action taking the third Sharks wicket with Tom Jagot taking an excellent catch low down at point to have the opposition 3/17 after six overs.

In the 7th over, Campbell steamed in and had his third wicket with the ball caught at second slip by Jack James. Unfortunately, the umpire’s arm was out and, in a rarity, Campbell was denied the wicket on account of a front foot no ball. Not to be denied, two balls later he pitched the ball up and gained the same result with the batsman edging the ball through to Bariol and the Sharks were 4/20.

The batsmen fought back, hitting a few boundaries and slapping a flat six to progress the score to 37 at the completion of the opening spell by the Bears’ opening pair. However, there was more carnage to come courtesy of Olly Knight and Mac Jenkins.

In Knight’s first over, the batsman clipped the ball to mid wicket and set off for a tight single. His partner hesitated and within a split second Jenkins had picked up the ball and thrown it to Bariol with the non-striker well short of his ground. It was disaster for Sutherland, but joy for the Bears as the Sharks sunk to 5/38 after 12 overs.

Buoyed by his sharp piece of fielding, Jenkins caused further destruction in his first over, with a ball that turned past the batsman as he shuffled forward and was collected by Bariol, who swiftly removed the bails to have Sutherland 6/38. Drinks were called, but upon return to the middle the new man slashed at a ball outside his off stump with the fine edge being caught by Bariol and another wicket falling at 38. Jenkins was on a hat-trick, bowling a tempting ball outside off stump that was left alone. Knight kept the momentum going, grabbing a wicket lbw with a ball that would have hit middle half way up and the Sharks had lost 4/1 and collapsed to be in the dire position of 8/39.

The Sharks rallied putting on 24 runs to move the score to 63, but Campbell undid all their good work, returning for his second spell from the city end. The #9 batsman (one of only three to reach double figures) had no answer as the ball crashed into his stumps. At 9 down the young #7 collected a couple of boundaries but, when he exposed his #11 partner to Campbell in the 24th over of the innings, it was all over. The skied top edge was taken by Olly Knight diving forward from a wide mid on position and Campbell had completed his ninth career five wicket haul in First Grade. It was also Campbell’s 250th First Grade wicket so plenty to celebrate as the players left the field for a 10 minute break.

Jack James and Tom Jagot opened the batting for the Bears who needed 76 runs for victory, while Jagot needed 41 runs to reach 1000 runs for the season. The two men looked solid, with James (19) giving Jagot as much of the strike as possible as they moved the score to 65 before James was dismissed. Jagot had reached 38 runs at this stage. He calmly collected three singles to reach 41 to the loud applause of the Bears’ supporters. New man Brent Atherton then lofted two fours over the infield to secure the game and finish 10 not out.

The bonus point win (completed before we would usually break for lunch!) lifted the Bears to ninth on the ladder, just one win outside the top 6 in a season that could have been very different had results and the weather gone our way. St George grabbed the last spot in the finals. In the game against St George at 7/112 chasing 356 in Round 6, had we managed to take the final three wickets, we would have been playing finals instead of the Saints. A reversal of the final over loss to Easts when they were 9 down in Round 1 would have also earned us a finals berth. We were also denied an opportunity of victory after a strong start against Wests (0/177 off 37) when rain intervened.

Despite falling just short of finals, we can be proud that we defeated both Manly (3rd) and Fairfield (4th) in the regular season and as such we know that this team with a core of talented young players and some highly experienced campaigners has the potential to challenge for the premiership in the future.

A huge congratulation to Tom Jagot who finished with 883 Belvidere Cup runs at 73 and was the second highest run scorer of the competition. When his 117 Kingsgrove Sports T20 runs are added he scored exactly 1000 runs for the season, becoming only the fourth Bear to achieve this milestone.

Aiden Bariol had a breakout year scoring 536 runs and taking 23 wicket-keeping dismissals, while Jack James backed up an outstanding debut season with a solid 451 runs. In the short form game, Brent Atherton was the most productive with 140 runs at 35 in the T20s.

The five-wicket haul moved James Campbell inside the top ten wicket takers of the competition with 29 wickets at 18. Mac Jenkins claimed 17 for the season, significantly taking half of those wickets in his final five matches. James Aitken, Jack James and Matt Alexander all contributed with 14 wickets apiece.

It has been most enjoyable reporting on the trials and tribulations of the season gone – bring on 2021/22.

2nd Grade Round 15: UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Glenn McGrath Oval

UTS North Sydney 124 (L Stewart 49, JD Vilensky 34) def Sutherland 114 (W Graham 4/45, H May 3/28, S Alexander 2/4)

Round 15 spelt the end of the regular season and provided the last chance for the Bears to get one more victory to finish an up-and-down year. Significantly, UTS North Sydney were also sporting three debutants, in the form of Hamish ‘Only 15’ Reynolds, Sol Balbi and Izaak Merlehan.

A lost toss and a poor wicket meant the Bears would bat first. Jordy Vilensky assumed his regular position at the top, paired with his 29th opening partner for the year, young-gun Glenn Aitken, who departed early-ish for 3. Jordy (35) and Lachie Stewart (49) then took control of the game through to drinks. Not long after, the Bears lost five quick wickets, including the three ducks of Merlehan, Reynolds and Ray Alexander.

Things didn’t get any better for the Bears, as in form match-winner, Sam Alexander, was run-out on the below-par score of 8. His innings cut short by, what he describes, as a Judas-esque act from Stewart, where a call of “yes”, was not responded to. Samoz was not available for further questioning on the matter. Sol Balbi was then handed the 4th duck of the innings, but a handy knock of 12 from Will ‘Anonymous’ Graham got UTS North Sydney to a barely defendable 124.

Cometh the fielding innings and new ball bowlers Kobe Allison and Anon were set with the task of taking an early wicket to have any chance of a miracle win. Allison proved extremely unlucky, but his pace, in tandem with Graham’s swing and control, saw the Sutherland team scrape through to 3/33 at the first drinks break. A change of bowling landed the ball in the hands of the Big Horse (H. May) and, after an impressive innings of 3 not out, he matched those runs with wickets, claiming a tidy 3/28 off 9 overs. Big Horse also had a shot at a hat-trick, with the penultimate ball, anti-climatically, landing six pitches over.

The seventh wicket was taken by Will who then proceeded to bowl off 20 yards for some reason, taking two wickets off no-balls. This would be described as the bowling equivalent of “throwing it away”, and destroying any chance of a 5-fa for himself. In the end it was quite costly for the Bears, as an 8th wicket partnership of 37 edged the Sutherland team to a mere 15 runs from victory.

This didn’t deter the Bears, and as the small crowd of two at the cow-corner boundary cheered their hearts out for Samoz and Merlehan (much to the dislike of the number nine batsman and a couple of the dismissed opponents), Skipper Glenn Aitken made an inspired change of bowling in the 26th over, putting the pair of spinners on both ends.

“About time.”, was muttered through the stump mics. It wasn’t clear to whom the quote belonged. But, nevertheless, the two got into their work, with an extremely receptive pitch providing an abundance of bite and turn. As what can only be described as a brain fade from their opening batsmen, a hack across the line towards the leg-side boundary proved his undoing. There waiting were the safest hands in UTS North Sydney Cricket Club in Kobe Allison, who handed Sam his first wicket. From there, UTS North Sydney weren’t only just in control of the game but were inside the heads of the Sutherland batsmen.

It was then Merlehan’s turn, where he set up the unsuspecting new batsmen, beautifully. A change in pace and slight change in line, saw the number 10 completely run past one and the safe hands of Lachie ‘Judas’ Stewart left UTS North Sydney needing just one wicket to complete a marvellous comeback. The Sutherland changes rooms were ever so quiet, as their remaining 12 runs required seemed a steep, steep climb.

With overs not in the equation, Sam Alexander continued. Four balls into his fourth, Sam struck the sweeping batsman’s front pad. An almighty roar went up in unison; the Bears thought for sure they had their man. A shake of the head from the umpire triggered a moan from the fielding side and an ominous towel being thrown down-pitch, clearly seen on Samoz’s Facebook profile video. A quick apology and explanation later, Sam then corrected his line to hand Stewart his second stumping and fifth dismissal of the afternoon, in what was one of the great on-field celebrations. The boys had done it. Merlehan and Alexander finished with 1/7 and 2/4 respectively and the Bears got to ‘sing the song’ a final time for the season.

3rd Grade Round 15: UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Tunks International Sports Park

Sutherland 9/202cc (F May 4/27, FJ Noack 2/56) def by UTS North Sydney 8/203 (J Leary 47, F Nixon-Tomko 30, F May 27, JD Graham 26, J Nevell 25)

After a comfortable win last week, the men from Third Grade strolled into Tunks International Sports Park looking to make it back-to-back wins before going into the finals. Sitting in fourth position on the ladder, another win was certainly needed to at least consolidate fourth, if not jump into third depending on other games.

What greeted the boys was a picturesque day for cricket, on inspection of the wicket, you could describe in one word the treat Bernie had prepared… FLAT. After a quick warm up and some inspiring words from Yak to get us into gear, the coin was tossed and Sutherland would be the first team to enjoy the flat Pacific Highway in the middle of Tunks Park.

Opening the bowling were Fletcher May (4/27) and Brad Wilson (1/23) hoping to carry on the form from last week’s match. Both started brilliantly and it didn’t take long for the wickets to fall, Fletch claiming the first wicket within three balls (easy game)! Fletch and Wilson continued to apply pressure and a steady flow of wickets came. Good fielding backed up the opening bowling partnership with no cheap runs on offer and catches being held. With Fletch and Wilson doing their job, it was time to bring on Fraser Noack (2/56) and Jacob Graham (1/36). Both bowlers continued to apply pressure and they claimed a wicket each before the first drinks break. Sutherland were 5/32 at the close of the first session after being unable to take advantage of the aforementioned… FLAT one.

After drinks the, Sharks batsmen looked to be more aggressive and expansive in their stroke play, not wanting to spend an entire winter thinking what if? They started to take to our bowlers on, with Jacob Graham getting hit for one of the all-time straight drive bombs you will ever see. During these middle overs, Ben Knox’s contribution cannot be understated: he helped to slow the run rate and was unlucky a couple of times not to jag a wicket. The Sutherland pair of O’Connell and Philipson combined for a 110 run partnership in what they would have hoped would allow the Sharks to set a massive total for the Bears to chase. In the end, our bowlers and fielders (which included a classy bit of fielding, resulting in a direct hit run out by Fraser Noack; more on him later) didn’t allow any other real partnerships to build and restricted the visitors to 9/202 off their 50 overs.

Chris Spratt and Cam New were both unlucky early in the chase, each copping absolute pearlers to both be removed, meaning Finn Nixon-Tomko and Luke Smith would have to consolidate. Unfortunately, Luke decided to use his foot rather than his bat to score runs and was adjudged LBW, meaning he too was back in the sheds cheaply. Fletcher (27) and Finn (30) were finally able to stop the flow of wickets and begin a counterattack for the mighty Bears. Unfortunately, neither could go on with their good start, and both lost their wickets. John Nevell (25) showed great maturity combining with James Leary (47) to again stop the flow of wickets and keep the run rate ticking over to give us fellas a shout.

Once again, a key wicket was lost at a bad time, with Nevell being yet another batsman not able to take advantage of an excellent start. Enter Jacob Graham (26), still burning from the bomb hit off his bowling, and wanting to make up for it with the bat (he’s also in form). He and Leary combined for a further 59 runs in what became a heated match with neither team giving an inch. Unfortunately, Jacob and James could not finish the job and were both dismissed soon after the other. Both of these men gave the Bears a chance to win the game with their excellent partnership.

With one over left, and 16 still needed, victory was unlikely but not impossible; more importantly, Ben Knox (0*) had unknowingly bought himself the best seat in the house for what was about to occur. Enter Fraser Noack (17*). He looked to be aggressive from the off, playing a nice straight drive and a flick off his legs to deep mid-wicket both shots resulting in 2 runs each. 12 off 4 required, nail biting stuff. Boundaries were needed to win this game and Fraser dutifully provided them nailing a hook shot to fine leg for four. The crowd of Bears watching were pumped, he was pumped…. 8 off 3…. GAME ON! Next delivery, same ball, same shot, same result…. 4 crashing into the fence and arguably into Sutherland’s chances of winning the match… 4 off 2. Now, you’d think that after the first two hook shots for four that the Sutherland boys would realise that maybe he likes that shot, and maybe should bowl the ball somewhere else? But alas, their mindset was not to be changed and for the THIRD time in as many balls, Fraser smoked the ball clanging into the fence causing an absolute uproar in the crowd as the win was secured!

With that win, the Third Grade men secured a home final by finishing 3rd on the ladder, a very strong position for what will hopefully be a fruitful finals campaign! Go well, men.

4th Grade Round 15: UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Tonkin Park

Sutherland 4/169 def UTS North Sydney 166 (B Kumar 38, J Hedges 34)

4s were on the road to Tonkin Park to take on Sutherland in a top of the table clash - 2nd vs 6th. A spot at a home final was on the line for both sides.

Overnight rain left a few damp patches on the wicket and, after the Bears’ skipper incorrectly called tails (as politely informed by one of the umpires post call, whilst the coin was still in the air), Sutherland immediately chose to bowl first.

The Bears could only be described as disappointing with the bat, as the wicket played better than anticipated and most lads got a start but didn’t capitalise. At 6/68, things were looking dire (we had been an acceptable 3/64) but Baran Kumar (38) and Jamieson Hedges (34) battled hard and we finished with a below par, yet defendable 166.

The Bears would have to bowl well on a flat wicket to make inroads into the Sutherland lineup. At one stage Sutherland were reduced to 4/77, however their opening stick batted well for his 95* and it was he who drove the Sharks home passing our total in the 42nd over.

Thanks to the Saints’ win over Parra, 4s finished 6th and live to fight another day playing St George in a Qualifying Final at Harold Fraser this weekend. Lets hope the rain stays away and we can redeem ourselves against the top ranked side.

5th Grade Round 15: UTS North Sydney vs Sutherland at Sutherland Oval

Sutherland 6/149 (AC MacGill 3/25, B Revai 2/25) def UTS North Sydney 7/146 (A Perry 56, D Singh 33)

The last round of the season was again threatened by rain, a common theme throughout the 2020/21 campaign for the Fifth Grade Bears. Upon arrival to Sutherland Oval, they were greeted with a lush, dewy outfield, and a hard deck. Despite the glaring wet patch on the side of the pitch, it was outside the wide lines, and after some handywork from the groundsman, a toss was done and play was scheduled to get under way 15 minutes late. As for much of the season, Alex Perry won the toss and, for the final time, opted to bat.

The now regular opening pair of Dilraj Singh and Aidan Bennett strode out to the middle, eyes set on a big score. Bennett looked in good touch until a one in a million catch was taken at silly mid on to remove him. Brad Spiby set about building an innings with Singh, but with no luck, was given out caught behind early on. Desperate for runs, Perry joined Singh, and began to mount a fightback, meticulously picking apart the Sutherland attack with singles, twos and the occasional boundary. The pair took the score to 72 before Singh was dismissed for a classy 33. This brought a string of wickets, with Revai, Whyte and Vohra all dismissed within quick succession.

Joined by MacGill, Perry continued to milk runs without taking risks. The pair played to the situation, ticking the scoreboard over and taking the innings as deep as possible. MacGill was run out for a well made 18, running back for a risky second with 4 overs to go. Perry surpassed 50 and then was caught behind trying to accelerate in the final 2 overs. Dhanoa and the debutant Barwise bumped up the score with some hard last over running to ensure the Bears posted a competitive score, ending up on 8/146.

Confident this was enough to defend on a slowing pitch and slow outfield, where boundaries were hard to come by, the Bears began their last session in the field. MacGill snared one opener early, caught by Perry at square leg, and Dhanoa bowled tightly for his first six overs. However the Sutherland side began well, not taking risks and playing within themselves.

Vohra came on first change and, bowling around the wicket, took out the other opener, to even the match up. However, a fightback from Sutherland saw them on top heading into the second half of their innings.

The two Jameses (Edwards and Barwise) both bowled well without luck, creating numerous half chances that just weren't going to hand, causing frustration. Enter Ben Revai, who bowled 8 straight through the middle, taking 2 for not many during this period, swinging the game back into balance with his two leg before wicket dismissals. Combined with a few tight overs from the skipper, the Bears had a sniff of a victory.

Perry turned back to MacGill and Vohra who have performed all season for the side, and bowled extremely tightly, pegging them back further with MacGill taking two more wickets. The final two overs fell to Revai and Perry, with Sutherland needing 16 to win. A string of bad luck swung the game the way of Sutherland, and they chased the required total with 3 balls remaining.

A gritty effort from the young Bears side, who showed heart and a never give up attitude. However the difference at the end of the day was Sutherland's application to their batting and the ability to not lose wickets in multiples, keeping momentum on their side.

Finishing mid table, a disappointed Bears side reflected on a season that could have been had a few other results gone their way. However all in all, the development and growth of the team over the course of the season was very impressive and all players should keep their heads high, with a bright and promising future ahead.


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