Week 5 Wrap vs St George, Gordon, Bankstown, Manly and Campbelltown

1st Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney v St George at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 5/247 (46.4 overs) (TL Reynolds 68, A Bariol 58, BS Atherton 52* J Avendano 39) def St George 244 (49.2 overs) (JN James 3/25, M Alexander 3/36, J Aitken 2/43)

Prior to the commencement of play there was a special presentation for Rob Aitken to recognise his 500th NSW Premier cricket first grade match, the first player in Australia to achieve the feat in Premier Cricket. Bears’ President, Pat Lindsay, Craig Hambleton of the SCA and Cricket NSW CEO, Lee Germon, all spoke of Rob’s immense contribution to the club and cricket in Sydney, which goes well beyond the statistics and his incredible milestone. Rob was presented with a special 500 match baggy cap by the club and a plaque by Cricket NSW.

After winning the toss, captain Tom Jagot decided to send the opposition in on what appeared to be a pretty good surface. In the absence of his regular opening partner, Matt Alexander was entrusted with first use of the new white rock. Matt did not disappoint getting the third ball of the innings to hit the seam and move away from the opener collecting the edge of his bat on the way through to the keeper and Saints were 1/0 – wicket maiden to Alexander.

However, rather than going into their shells, the St George batsmen, led by State player Kurtis Patterson and international T20 specialist Colin Munro, went on the attack. They plundered our opening bowlers, hitting 5 fours and a six in the next four overs to move to 1/32 before Alexander struck again, claiming Munro with the catch being taken on the square leg boundary by Olly Knight, and St George were 2/32 at the end of five.

Patterson was joined by Blake Macdonald and despite the loss of two wickets, the pair continued to go after our bowlers moving the score past 100 in the 13th over. James Aitken gained some control over the scoring rate with several dot balls, but anything in the batters’ zone went to the boundary or beyond. After 17 overs St George had reached 2/134 at a tick under 8 per over and, alarmingly, appeared to be on track for a score around 400. One of the boundary riders even thought 600 was not out of the question the way they were going.

Aitken continued unperturbed and, on the first ball of his fifth over, he took the wicket of Macdonald who hit the ball hard from the bottom of the bat into the hands of Justin Avendano at mid-wicket – an excellent catch. Then, on the first ball of his sixth over, he cleaned up the dangerous left hander, Patterson (77 off 60), shattering his stumps and reducing St George to 4/143 at the start of the 20th over. It was to be a pivotal moment in the match.

Olly Knight bowled a couple of tight overs in his second spell, while Aitken continued, and the momentum started to slow. James was joined by his brother Robbie and, from over 24 to over 29, the pair tightened the screws on the St George batsmen, allowing only 20 runs and bringing the run rate down to 6 per over. James finished his 10-over spell with very tidy figures of 2/43.

Things got even better when Jack James joined the attack. Jack bowled in tandem with Robbie and ,on the first ball of his second over, he deceived the opposition captain Nick Stapleton, who sliced the ball to backward point where Olly Knight took a great catch. James struck again on the first ball of his fourth over with a plumb lbw. Robbie and Jack then combined in the next over for a run-out with Jack making a good stop at short cover and then lobbing the ball in for Robbie to remove the bails with the batsman halfway down the pitch – once again on the first ball of the over. More pressure was applied by the two spinners and, all of a sudden, Jack had his third wicket of the game with another confident lbw shout – once again of the first ball of the over. By the end of the 40th, St George had limped to 8/199 with the run rate under 5 for the first time since the first over.

Robbie completed his spell in the 41st over without a wicket, but with outstanding figures of 10 overs 1 maiden 0/32 in his 500th game. It can sometimes be forgotten that bowling is also about partnerships, and from over 30, Jack and Robbie bowled 13 overs in partnership taking 3/32 and a run out turning the game on its head.

Olly Knight (1/72) replaced Aitken, collecting his first wicket of the match on the first ball of his third spell. Olly pushed the ball across the set left hander with the catch taken comfortably by Bariol behind the stumps. At the start of the 43rd, St George were now 9/205 and in real danger of being rolled inside their fifty overs. Unfortunately, for the Bears, the tail had other ideas. James finished his spell with his best figures of the season to date - 10 overs 1 maiden 3/25. The two tailenders were content to keep the ball out and pick up the odd single, but with four overs to go they started to look for the boundary. A couple of maximums helped their cause with 12 coming off the 49th over. It was the big quick Matt Alexander coming back for his second spell that put an end to their innings with the ball hit very high and Justin Avendano running a good distance from cover to behind the bowler to take an outstanding running catch. Alexander (3/35) also registered three poles for the match from his 5.2 overs including the first two and the last wicket of the innings – his best haul of the season.

Despite the tail wagging, every Bears supporter would have been thrilled to hear the final score of 244 after the early onslaught.

The Bears response got underway with Tom Jagot hitting two fours in the first two overs before being bowled to leave the home side 1/9. Justin Avendano joined Jack James with both players taking a cautious approach with the bowlers making full use of the new ball. When Jack was caught low down at first slip the Bears were 2/25 in the 7th over. Aiden Bariol also found it tough going early but eventually he and Justin settled into their groove and set about stabilising the innings. They built a very important partnership of 75 runs that took the score to exactly 100 by the start of the 23rd over. Unfortunately, Justin (39) was caught punching through the covers and at 3/100 the game was evenly poised. Tim Reynolds joined Bariol with the pair adding a few more to the total before Bariol (58) flicked one straight to the man on the fence at backward square leg. It was the first fifty for Aiden in the Belvidere Cup this season after going close with 47 in the first game. The Bears had now lost their fourth wicket with 125 on the board and 21 overs remaining.

Tim was joined by Brent Atherton with St George opting for a dual spin attack. This played right into the hands of the left-right hand combination as the boys rotated the strike regularly, running brilliantly and sent a couple of balls to the boundary. A telling blow by Reynolds over the fence on the final ball before drinks moved the score to 4/155. Tim hit two further maximums and, in the 39th over, clipped a single to reach his second fifty of the season. By the 40th over the pair had put on 71 runs and moved the score to 4/196. This left just 49 runs for victory at a very manageable 5 per over.

Brent then took over from Tim as the aggressor hitting a six and several fours of his own to reach his second fifty of the season. With both players well set and a fifty each under their belts, it was a shame that Tim (68) could not be there at the end, but it was a fantastic innings and a very important partnership of 108 runs to move the score to 5/233 and place the team in an almost unassailable position needing just 12 more runs from the final 5 overs. In the end it was Olly Knight (10*) who dispatched the spinner over the fence at deep cover to bring up a remarkable victory considering the position the team was in at the start of the game. Brent remained not out on 52, the second time this season he’s been in at the end of a chase having made a crucial 50.

The win against the previously unbeaten St George side consolidates our position in 7th place on 18 points (equal with Gordon and Randwick Petersham – who also recorded victories) and just behind Manly and Sydney on 19 points. Next week we take on Mosman who are also undefeated and currently sit in second place.

2nd Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney v St George at Hurstville Oval

UTS North Sydney 149 (48.2 Overs) (A Cavenor 59, HP Lee-Young 38) def by St George 9/226 (cc) (KS Allison 4/34, F May 2/44)

After an unfortunate washout in round four against arch-rivals Manly, the Bears were up and about, eager to and get back in the winners’ circle. As a group we felt we’d been playing more than enough good cricket in the first three rounds to get the chocolates, however batting collapses and some poor fielding had been conspiring against our winning endeavours.

Another toss won had us in the field first on a pitch that looked green enough and hard enough to give our pace attack more than enough assistance. Brad Wilson and Fletcher May led the attack but were met with some hard hands and fast feet from the Dragons’ opening pair. A flurry of boundaries off the first 6 overs had them off to a flying start before normal programming resumed, with Brad remaining patient and finding the perfect length to have his man caught behind.

The fall of that wicket brought some more measured batting from the other opener who continued to soak up deliveries, and when Kobe Allison was brought into the attack to replace Fletcher it proved to be the masterstroke needed to swing the momentum. A double wicket over from Kobe sent the captain and the number 4 packing within four balls and suddenly the choice to bowl first seemed more than justified.

Kobe continued to trouble the batsmen as the excitement machine Harri Lee-Young replaced Brad and toiled away. He didn’t quite find his best but there was enough shape to keep us all interested.

Kobe’s short sharp spell came to an end to be replaced by Jamieson Hedges, and again the change in the attack brought with it the breakthrough we desperately needed, as the Dragons had just brought up the 100. Harry and Jamo toiled away in tandem without luck, and it was only when another double bowling change - Jacob Graham being introduced and Fletcher May returning - that the next pole fell.

A couple of tight overs from Jacob and Fletch caused enough of a stir to have the young number 6 trapped on the crease and his off pole destroyed. An over later a desperate attempt for a quick single to mid-wicket and the Bears had their sixth – 6/155. Unfortunately for us, the number 5 was making his presence felt at the crease and on the scoreboard, having not given any chances for his first 60-odd runs. Suddenly there were three chances in the space of fours overs, but as the theme of previous rounds reared its ugly head, our ability to take those chances was lacking and onwards he went.

Jacob continued to bowl tightly from one end as he finished his 10 over spell wicketless, but it would be the return of Kobe that would spark another couple of wickets from the other end that had us back up and about - a solid 5fa on the cards for our big, tall quick. Alas, it wasn’t to be, as the number 5 passed his 100. But shortly afterwards, he managed to play all around Fletcher, who was back in the attack looking to clean up the tail.

9 wickets would be all we could take with us as the Dragons batted out the last two overs, nine down, leaving us a very gettable 227 to chase.

Unfortunately, a combination of a pitch that was progressively getting lower and lower, some bad shot selection and some poor techniques were the hallmarks of a chase that didn’t go our way. Despite this, there were some bright points worth highlighting. Adam Cavenor returning to number 3 after an HSC-enforced leave of absence batted the house down and showed the rest of us what patience could have done for us in our pursuit of what was only 4.5 runs an over… he batted with class and showed us that not having played a game all year hadn’t blunted his sharp skills. His 59 was ultimately our top score but he did have one partner of note that joined in and provided us some entertainment and that was Harri Lee-Young. Coming in at number 9, Harri teed off on the attack. A counterpunch that was not only desperately needed, but was brilliant to watch. A few sixes and fours showed us a glimpse of what a devastating batsman he could be had we given him a firmer platform to bat from, but his 38 was nonetheless enough to propel us up to 149.

As mentioned previously, the pitch staying low and some poor shots were the catalyst for a poor showing with 7 out of 10 wickets being bowled as we were eventually dismissed in the 49th over.

Another disappointing showing with the bat leaves us scratching our heads, however with some positive signs in the game to take with us not all hope is lost as we march forward to face neighbours Mosman in Round 6.

Women's 2nd Grade Round 4: Gordon / UTS North Sydney v Bankstown at Grahame Thomas Oval

Gordon / UTS North Sydney 5/164 (cc) (O Callaghan 61, G Keating 29) def by Bankstown 4/165 (36.5 overs)

Although in the end, Bankstown were able to win the match fairly comfortably, GNS gave a good account of themselves with some creditable performances. Liv Callaghan and Jessie Maclaine provided a solid opening partnership of 74, with Liv batting beautifully for 61. Tight bowling and enthusiastic fielding by Bankstown meant the GNS middle order were unable to take advantage of the platform and we were restricted to 5/164. Grace Keating impressed with 29 and was starting to get the run rate moving when she was given run out in a ight call as a result of some sharp work in the field by Bankstown.

With Bankstown at 4/103 thanks to some tight bowling by Lucy Warren 0/16 (6), Liv Callaghan 1/18 (6), Jenny Flanagan 3/11 (3) and Grace Keating 1/9 (3), GNS were in with a chance. However, Bankstown held their nerve and were able to haul down the total in the 37th over.

More good signs for the fledging GNS team - well done, girls.

3rd Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney v St George at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 241 (46.3 Overs) (J Greenslade 80 J Nevell 56 B Kumar 32) def St George 170 (42.2 overs) (FJ Noack 2/12 C Savage 2/38 EJ Oxenham 2/44)

Round 5 welcomed your Third Grade side back home to Bon Andrews for the first time this season. Much to the delight of the skipper, St George elected to bowl first and give the Bears first use of the strip - an exciting prospect considering the faster outfield and generally batter friendly wicket.

The innings got off to a slower start than hoped, with the score reaching 4/36 after a trio of catches between the keeper and first slip. After last round’s collapse, it was excellent to see the middle order stand up and show the class that we know this batting unit can offer on any given week.

John Nevell continued his brilliant early season form with another 56 runs, working hard alongside Jimmy Greenslade to take the Bears from a precarious position into a commanding one. The lads put together an 89-run partnership for the fifth wicket, mixing strike rotation, aggressive running between the wickets and the occasional shot powered over the infield.

After John’s runout, Jimmy continued the effort with assistance from Baran Kumar to take the score up to 201. Jimmy demonstrated his potential as a key member of Third Grade’s batting unit in his innings of 80. It was a shame not to see this season’s first century maker in the middle grade but definitely a confidence builder and hopefully a glimpse of what is to come throughout the season.

Some lower order mischief saw the Bears frustrate St George and reach 241 runs, a total that will always be defendable given the strength of the bowling unit.

True-to-form, your Third Grade pace trio of Harrison May, Fraser Noack and Chris Savage returned a combined effort of 23 overs, 6 maidens, 5/78. Apart from the usual smattering of bowled and caught behinds that have featured in the wickets column this year, the lads beat the bat and had the umpires in action consistently throughout their spells.

The sixth wicket partnership from St George added some frustration to the mix, but at the end of the day, the required rate never dipped back below 6 an over, and some pleasing performances from Nic Hay, Matt Cole and Everett Oxenham saw that rate reach 9 by the 40th over, ensuring the 6 points were always coming to the home team. St George were all out for 170 in the 43rd over.

After demolishing Blacktown a few rounds earlier by putting the foot down, it was nice to see a reminder that not all games require all-out barrage to break partnerships. Wearing down your opponents and bowling away from their hitting zones works just as well under the right circumstances in the short form. In all, another pleasing effort by the boys, featuring contributions from a mixture of familiar names and some new ones at the club.

After this round, the Third Grade Bears sit in eigth place on 13 points, on equal footing with Manly and Bankstown, and only 1 point behind the Mosman outfit that we will come up against next weekend at Rawson Oval. Two rounds remain in the 2021 portion of the season and the chance to solidify a top 6 position into the break is there if we put in the work for it.

Women's 3rd Grade Round 4: UTS North Sydney v Gordon at Tunks International Sports Park 2

Gordon / UTS North Sydney 6/196 (cc) (A Dongre 53*, E McKay 31) def by Gordon 6/237 (cc) (A Dongre 2/29, U Ghadially 2/53)

Our opponents, Gordon, were champions last season, and as much as we love playing them, we always know it will be a tough match.

We won the toss and put Gordon in, with Abby Williams (0/28 off 7) and Anushka Dongre (2/29 off 8) taking the new ball this week after some impressive bowling at training. We know Gordon are a very strong batting side, and they were off to a quick start 15 off the first 3 overs before Anushka found her line and length, pinning them back with 2 maidens in a row. We couldn't get a wicket, but held Gordon to only 0/24 after 8 overs - a good start for us and some great bowling from our opening pair.

Ellie McKay (1-0/16) was kind enough to fill in for us again this week as we were still missing some players, but didn't quite find the great bowling form she had against St George. Urzana Ghadially (2/53 off 8) broke through in the 13th over with a catch from Anushka at square leg, and Emily Aitken (1/36 off 8), playing in her first senior grade cricket match on the same day that her dad played his 500th first grade match, picked up a wicket on debut, with a good catch from Evy McKay at fly slip.

This brought Gordon's firepower to the crease, with their #3 and #4 both retiring at the mandatory 50*. Gordon had reached 2/160 and were looking set to push well past 250. Cabby (Chloe-Amanda) Bailey (0/35), who only picked up a cricket ball a month or so ago, had a mix of excellent yorkers and some really wild deliveries, while Evy McKay's (0/32) usually very effective spin was played with great class and power by the Gordon numbers 3 and 4. When they eventually retired, Urzana (2/53 off 8) cleaned out the stumps of #5 before Anushka picked up 2 wickets. A run out by Amy Gibbons and some tighter bowling towards the end slowed Gordon's scoring rate, but they finished on a very good 6/237 in their 40 overs.

The general consensus from each of our players was that they would like to bat at #6 on the day, so we sent in our first two #6's to open, Evy and Anushka, who batted with a beautiful mix of aggression and defence. After 8 overs we had 0/40, a good 16 runs ahead of Gordon at the same stage! Evy and Anushka kept pushing on, making a new record opening partnership for our team of 94 runs, before Evy was run out on 31 to some great fielding. Our next #6 was Cabby, batting 3rd today, and she was immediately off the mark for a 4 before being tied down and eventually out lbw for 4. Hetti joined Anushka and showed fantastic form and power, making 22 that included 2 fours and the only 6 for our team.

Anushka had two scores in the forties last season and showed guts and determination to make the big milestone this time, with her entire team on their feet applauding as she cracked a four to take her to 53* and a mandatory retirement. Great batting today, really good skill in every department, well done Anushka!

When Amy Gibbons came in, there was a chance, a small but real chance, that we could pull off a most remarkable victory here. Our highest team score before this was 182, and 238 seemed a long way off. Amy knew we wouldn't get there by batting slowly - the perfect recipe for someone still remembering her blazing 34* off 15 balls last season. Amy mixed some solid defence with amazing power, cracking 4 fours before being caught on the boundary at long off, just inches away from being a 6, finishing on 23 from 23 balls. Ellie McKay then combined with Hetti and then with Emily to push the score along, Ellie making 5 and Emily a defiant tail-wagging 12* off only 16 balls. Sarah Gibbons didn't score, batting at the unusual #8 spot today, a position that doesn't really suit her (someone should have a word to the coach-with-the-same-surname about that decision!), and Urzana faced the final few deliveries to add a single. Chloe Blackwell and Abby Williams didn't get to bat today as amazingly we batted through all 40 overs without being bowled out. We look forward to seeing Chloe bat next week, maybe up at #6?!

In the end we made our highest team score ever, 196 runs, and against the current champions! Even more surprising, there was actually a feeling of slight disappointment - our team has reached the stage where we believe that we can beat any team on the day and even when we're setting record team totals, partnerships and personal bests, we're now a team that arrives every week wanting to win. That's a massive shift over last season where we were delighted to just make triple figures! Good on you, Third Grade, let's go get the victories!

UTS North Sydney v St George at Harold Fraser Reserve

UTS North Sydney 8/172 (cc) (N Whyte 59*, B Revai 28) def by St George 6/173 (45.3 overs) (P Lindsay 4/25)

The Bears travelled to Harold Fraser Oval to take on last years’ runner up Saints. Veteran Mike Lloyd was asked to take over calling duties from Skipper Lindsay, and alas the Bears lost their third toss in succession and were asked to bat first again.

200 was adjudged as the par score and Patty Heuzenroeder and the returning Olly Jennings made a steady start with the Bears 0/33 approaching drinks. Sadly, a collapse was triggered by Jennings’ dismissal and the Bears slumped to 6/73.

Ben Revai (28) mounted a fightback with Nuwan Whyte (59*) as they put on 72 for the eighth wicket. Both lads batted with maturity as they strove to post a respectable total. Nuwan’s 50 was his first in grade cricket and is no surprise as he has been putting together some good performances with the bat over the past few seasons. The Bears finished 8/172 off their 50 overs.

Early wickets were needed to unsettle the Saints, however, they replicated the Bears’ start being 0/39 near drinks when Hamish Reynolds struck. The next fie wickets fell to spin and at 6/123 the Bears were half a chance. Alas, some good batting saw the Saints over the line in the 46th over. Lindsay finished with 4/25 off 10 and Hamish Reynolds was the pick of the seamers with 1/42.

5th Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney v St George at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 9/155 (48.4 overs) (D Johnson 40*) def St George 8/154 (cc) (C Fursman 3/22, J Edwards 2/15)

After a wet weekend, the Bears headed back to the home of cricket, Tunks International Sports Park, for the first time this season for their clash with the mighty St George. Sitting even on the ladder, with similar game results, this promised to be yet another close affair for the Cardiac Kids.

The toss was won by St George and they elected to bat, setting the stage for what would be an epic day of cricket...

Early doors, Jack Thomas and James Edwards had the ball swinging and cutting, causing multiple problems for the St George top order. Edwards removed the first batsman with a leading edge to Dylan Johnson in the gully. This was quickly followed by another wicket for Edwards, after he rattled the pads and the umpire adjudged St George's number 3 leg before wicket. Continuing the momentum, Thomas removed the other opener with another catch in the cordon to Johnson, followed by debutant Jed Collins taking his first grade wicket. At drinks St George were on the back foot at 4/34 after 15.

The fightback began from the Saints post drinks, with their 5 and 6 putting together a couple of scores. However, some tight bowling through the middle from Callum Fursman and Alex Perry began to build the pressure on these two, with Fursman ultimately striking and removing the number 6, caught by Collins at point.

The pressure continued to build with Perry and Fursman, with Fursman ending up with three wickets and Perry getting his just desserts with Oli Miller taking a sharp catch at mid-wicket on the second last ball of his tidy spell.

The Bears ended up restricting the Saints to 8/154 at the end of their 50 overs, after tight finishes from Edwards, Thomas and Collins.

To start the chase, Henry Riseborough got hit on the foot with a swinging yorker, unfortunately bringing his run of good starts to an end. Ben Champion and Luke Smith worked through the new ball, taking the brunt of the early swing, before Champion was caught behind. This was the theme for the next few wickets, with four of the top seven getting a start scoring somewhere between 13 to 18 runs and then succumbing to the pressure built by St George in the field.

However, standing tall out of this was Dylan Johnson, putting his hand up and showing the intent to win. At 7/110 and with 45 runs still to go, Callum Fursman strode out to join Johnson in the centre with the game ever so in the balance. The pair played with patience and composure, taking no unnecessary risks and grinding down the total over by over, and picking their 'big' overs.

With victory in sight, Fursman was bowled for 20, leaving five runs to get, with three and a half overs left. James Edwards purposefully strode to the wicket to join his Green Shield compatriot, and quickly sought about finishing the game himself, striking a cut shot for three to end the 48th over. Full of confidence after his last shot, Edwards smoked another one, only to be caught superbly at cover, again leaving the game in the balance at 9/153 with two overs remaining and two runs needed.

Johnson calmly took a single to level the scores at the start of the second last over, leaving number 11, Oli Millar on strike to finish the job. After a solid defensive shot and a play and miss, the young Bear got bat on ball, through the slip cordon, sealing the victory for the Cardiac Kids with 8 balls and 1 wicket remaining.

Living up to their new nickname, the Bears took home the chocolates in another tight game. There were plenty of learnings from this game to take forward into training this week, as the side prepare to cement their spot in the top six against local rivals, Mosman at Balmoral Oval.

Round 4 Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup: UTS North Sydney v Manly at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 7/124 (cc) def by Manly 3/126 (19.2 overs)

It was our first game at North Sydney Oval in the T20 Cup and an opportunity to seek some revenge on local rivals, Manly, who had beaten us soundly in the reduced overs match the previous Saturday. As an added bonus, we had HHH on board to commentate on the match directly onto the Frogbox stream. With our new sponsor, Kieser providing free massages, and sausage sandwiches on offer at the canteen, it was a real party atmosphere.

The pitch was a new one that was much closer to the Doug Walters Hill side of the ground than the previous day against St George in the 50 over game making this an area to target. Despite the overcast and fresh conditions, atypical for December, captain Jagot won the toss and decided to have a bat. It was not going to be easy against one of the best premier cricket attacks in the country. I guess Greg West and Jack Edwards were missing so that was something! It was Ryan Hadley and Mickey Edwards that would open up for the opposition, and Edwards who claimed the big scalp of Justin Avendano in the second over leaving the Bears 1/9. Tom Jagot (16) and Brent Atherton (15) got through the next few overs before both men were dismissed – Jagot by Elliot Herd and Atherton by ex-South African international Morne Morkel – who smashed Brent on the gloves for good measure to rule him out of the fielding innings. This left the Bears 3/38 after 8 overs.

Tim Reynolds came and went quickly and at the halfway point UTS North Sydney were in trouble at 4/47 and in desperate need of a partnership. Olly Knight and Aiden Bariol (21) started to make some progress, but just when things were looking like turning our way, Bariol was dismissed – 5/80. Knight (23) was next to go with the score at 92, once again to Morkel, which was disappointing because Olly was looking as comfortable as anyone on a pitch that was offering a bit for the bowlers. He was also the only Bears player to clear the rope - on two occasions. Jack James (19*) was then joined by Rob Aitken who got the mark off Morkel with a bomb, the third for the Bears, but was dismissed a few balls later. James and Kobe Allison saw out the innings against a rampant Hadley and Edwards picking up some twos and singles but with 124 on the board it was always going to be tough, despite the bowler friendly pitch.

Described in the commentary as the ‘big leftarmer’, Matt Alexander got the home side of fto a great start by skittling Brewster in the first over. Manly 1/2 - game on. Olly Knight followed up with tight over and after Alexander’s second, Manly had just 6 runs on the board, giving hope to the supporters in the crowd and the players on the field. However, a couple of well struck boundaries in the next two overs quickly got Manly back on track. The final over of the powerplay was bowled by Sam Alexander and it was a probing over that tested the batsman only to be undone by four byes sneaking through off the last ball. The eighth was another tight over from Alexander with the Alexander brothers clearly using their inside knowledge of the Manly team to good effect.

Despite the relatively good start and a variety of bowlers used, English allrounder Lammonby and his partner, Farrell, had crept up to 1/60 after 10 overs and it was going to take a herculean performance to stop them with 9 wickets in the sheds. The two batsmen were well and truly set, and by the 15th, Manly had 97 on the board, so the only option was to bring back the big left armer – Matt Alexander. Matt bowled a beautiful over that conceded just one run. In his next over again only one run was conceded as well as a close run-out with Farrell deflecting the ball behind the stumps and keeper Bariol underarming a direct hit to remove Lammonby – who did not appear happy. Alexander’s 4 overs 1/6 was an amazing performance that kept the game alive.

Jack James returned for his second spell in the 17th, and also kept things tight, going for just 4 runs. This meant 25 was needed from 18 balls and the Bears had some hope. Sam Alexander bowled the 18th with just 2 runs off the first 4 balls - 23 off 14 needed. Unfortunately, the fifth ball went the journey, reducing the target to 16 with two overs remaining. New man Beadle swung hard at the first ball of James’s final over and got most of it to collect another maximum and put Manly in the box seat. Beadle then sliced the next ball to backward square and was lucky not to be caught with the ball then beating the fielder for four. James (1/29) got some reward with Beadle hitting down the throat of Tim Reynolds at deep point, leaving just three required from the final over. Olly Knight had the honour, manufacturing a dot from the first ball, but with a four coming from the second, the game was over.

It was a valiant attempt – but in the end the Bears needed more runs to defeat their rivals. This leaves UTS North Sydney with a significant challenge of making finals in the Sixers division. The team would need to defeat first placed St George and rely on losses by Randwick Petersham, Manly and UNSW to sneak into the top four.

Poidevin Gray Shield (T20) Round 4: UTS North Sydney v Manly at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 5/160 (cc) (TL Reynolds 64, J Nevell 27) def Manly 8/145 (cc) (HP Lee-Young 3/31, NC Hay 2/17, B Knox 2/22)

The PGs side came up against Manly at the picturesque North Sydney Oval on a coolish Sunday morning. Early rain halted proceedings, with the match eventually reduced to 17 overs per innings. Sent in after losing the toss, openers Tim Reynolds and Adam Cavenor started strongly, hitting 19 off the first two overs.

The second wicket partnership of 55 between Tim Reynolds and John Nevell (27 off 24) then laid a strong foundation for the end of the innings. Reynolds (64 off 44) was particularly ruthless against spin, with anything slightly overpitched going to the boundary, including two massive sixes.

The Bears were four wickets down at the start of the 14th, and Jimmy Greenslade and Harri Lee-Young were tasked with finishing off the innings. The pair ran hard and regularly found the fence, highlighted by Greenslade’s enormous six over cover. After a brilliant effort with the bat last week, Lee-Young again showed his power-hitting capability, depositing two into the stands in the final over. The Bears finished on 160 from their 17 overs, with Jimmy’s 20* and Harri’s 24 each coming off just 10 balls and the partnership of 48 off just 19.

The Manly openers started well, playing with freedom and hitting anything loose to the fence. At 0/36 after three overs, they were on top of the required rate. Lee-Young then dismissed both openers, with the second wicket a one-handed screamer in the outfield from Benjamin ‘Knoxy’ Knox. Knoxy backed up his fielding effort with a brilliant spell (2/22 off 4), meaning Manly struggled to consistently go at the required rate. Manly finished on 145, falling 15 runs short of the Bears’ total.

It was a clinical win from the PGs side that proved to the rest of the competition what the team is capable of heading into the final round.

U18 Brewer Shield Round 4: UTS North Sydney v Campbelltown- Camden at Raby Oval 1

UTS North Sydney 9/145 (cc) (E Aitken 27*) def by Campbelltown- Camden 3/146 (35 overs)

The Bears Brewers team eagerly travelled to Raby Oval after a bye in Round 1 and back-to-back washouts. The girls had missed all their T20 matches and were keen to kick off the season proper with their first 50 over match for the season.

The team was composed of many new faces and a sprinkling of experienced campaigners. Our ladies slapped on the pads and the openers strode out to the middle under cloudy Campbelltown skies. The Ghosts started with hooping swing at one end and spin at the other, unfortunately Sam Kuncham (1) feathered one in the early overs. Amy Gibbons (13) batted with patience and class against the new ball after being elevated to the unfamiliar opening spot, leaving the ball well and striking the ball powerfully when it was in her zone. She combined with Mayher Singh to see off the new ball before just failing to clear the infield off a powerfully hit drive leaving the team at 2/26 of 10.

Liz Buckley then confidently strode to the crease and picked up from where Amy left off, playing with freedom, fluency and her characteristic power. She quickly moved to 18 before being caught short on a ball hit firmly to the dangerous square leg position, 3/47 off 18. Campbelltown then brought the game to a standstill with another quick wicket 4/50 off 20 and the introductions of a series of very slow bowlers, bowling stump to stump which suited the damp pitch with limited bounce

This contributed to a middle order collapse that claimed Sophie Fischer, Charlotte Moss and even brought Mayher Singh’s (7) watchful innings to an end. The match was in the balance with the team stumbling to 6/64 of 25. However, the innings was soon revived with a bright, well-constructed partnership between Emily Aitken (27no) and captain Mabel Oxenham, both players looking to score with a combination of shots that pierced the infield and some brilliant running between the wickets until one kept low on Mabel (6) 7/76.

Georgia MacDonald (2) looked to pick up from where Mabel left of but was adjudged out on a tight run-out decision. That brought Leyla Ozen to the crease, a few powerful shots clearing the infield in her debut game for the Bears, helped open the field and her combination with Emily worked beautifully for a record ninthwicket partnership for the Brewers of 56 before another ball kept low. Anjali Uthappa then joined Emily to steer us through the remaining overs to finish with a respectable 9/145.

After a quick break for lunch, the girls set about their task knowing they would in all likelihood need to bowl Campbelltown out to win the match. Liz Buckley struck early, clean bowling the Ghosts’ opener in the second over, but the joy was short-lived when the next batter up took to the opening bowlers, plundering a quick fire 33 off 37 balls. At this point ,we had one of the stranger incidents: with Liz falling mid delivery, the ball was collected at short cover.To add insult to injury, instead of being a dead ball it was deemed to be a no ball, with the ensuing free hit sent to the boundary.

Emily Aitken and Mayher Singh then bowled a tight spell, the sustained pressure resulting in a caught and bowled. Mayer was the pick of the bowlers (6 overs 1/14), dismissing Campbelltown’s dangerous no.3 with the score 2/66 or 17 overs. At this point we just needed a few wickets to get back into the match; however, our bowling was inconsistent throughout the innings. Anjali Uthappa came on late taking advantage of the low bounce and picked up an LBW. Campbelltown showed us the benefit of aggressive running between the wickets and the impact on the overall run rate. Despite providing us with a number or run-out opportunities, we failed in our execution when it counted, Campbelltown getting the runs with 15 overs to spare.

Overall, it was a solid hit out for the girls in their first game of the season with a largely new team. They have bonded into a strong unit off the field and we are looking forward to their improved performance over coming weeks. From a coach’s perspective there were some promising signs and a lot to like about this match despite the loss.

Media courtesy of Tony Johnson, David James, Sarah Berman, Adam Cavenor, Malcolm Trees , Gordon Women's Cricket Club and team captains.