Week 8 Wrap vs St George, Easts, Bankstown and NDs

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

UTS North Sydney 9/355 (T Jagot 141, T Reynolds 91)

We were greeted by beautiful sunshine and pool table like outfield at Hurstville Oval. From a distance the pitch looked to have a tinge of green, but underneath was a rock-hard surface that would provide many runs. Captain Avendano won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first. Max Papworth joined Jack James at the top of the order for the first time this season after some stellar performances in second grade including a magnificent hundred a few weeks back.

The new ball bowlers had the ball nipping around on occasion and created a chance from each batsman, with both catches going down. Jack (12) punched two square drives for four early, but was caught behind off the back of the bat with the score at 17.

Justin Avendano was next man in and, after taking a few balls to get his eye in, he got the scoreboard ticking over. Unfortunately, he went after a wider ball and was caught in the gully for 14. Max soldiered on soaking up plenty of balls and taking advantage of two down leg that were neatly clipped for four. He too perished, bowled by the leggie for a valuable 19. At this stage the Bears were 3/53 and in need of a partnership. Tom Jagot had accumulated around 10 runs from his first 30 odd balls, but hung in there with Tim Reynolds, who also took his time. The pair built slowly but before long had a 50 run partnership (104 balls). There were a few half chances, but as the wicket started to flatten out, neither man looked like getting out. The 100 run partnership came up after 193 balls. Tom and then Tim reached fifty as they guided the team to 3/170 at tea (62 overs).

With more than 30 overs remaining, the Saints life members on the balcony, who were wondering when the next breakthrough would come, were hoping for something under 300. The scorers thought 350 was possible, but first stop was to take the score beyond 200. The resumption saw the Bears batsman take 10-9-7-10 runs from the first 4 overs and with that the 150 run partnership from 270 balls. Nothing was going to stop the two in-form players as the partnership reached 200 from 343 balls. Tom celebrated his second century of the season and eighth in the top grade to go back atop of the run aggregates for the competition. He reached the milestone in 245 minutes from 181 balls. Tim moved into the nineties and, in a rare moment of indecision, decided to glide the ball past the keeper only to collect a fine edge straight into the keepers’ gloves. He had to go but can be well proud of his efforts scoring 91 runs with 10 fours and 2 sixes in a partnership of 204 that took the Bears to 4/257 from 78 overs.

Aiden Bariol (24) gave himself a few balls before playing some of his trademark sweeps and lofted drives over the bowlers’ heads. One such shot was not quite high enough but almost took off the bowler’s hand as he attempted to catch the returned ball. Aiden and Tom added another 50 runs to the total in quick time with Aiden falling at 310 and then Tom at 320. Tom finished with 141 runs from 213 balls in 303 minutes with 14 fours and 2 sixes. His last three hundreds have been 156, 149* and 141.

With six overs, remaining James Aitken once again showed his batting class scoring a quick-fire 20 with all others making single figure scores and the Bears finishing with a total of 9/355 from the allotted 96 overs.

2nd Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Tunks International Sports Park

St George 189 (R Aitken 4/37, M Alexander 3/43, N Naguleswaran 2/41) v UTS North Sydney 1/21

Tunks Park looked more resplendent than ever, the outfield and wicket immaculate, a picture perfect location for the always competitive clash of north Sydney and St George. The second grade side arrived at the ground with much enthusiasm and energy, and a few changes to the line-up, invigorated the squad.

The wicket was flat, dry and hard with an even cover of grass. The conditions looked perfect for batting. As the coin came down at the toss in favour of the opposition captain, he had no hesitation in immediately saying, ‘we’ll have a bat’ with a knowing smile. On a wicket that flat, it was going to be a difficult task for the second grade side, and it would require an impressive effort.

Before the day’s proceedings commenced in show of solidarity players from both teams gathered for a Barefoot Circle acknowledgement of Country, to mark the NAIDOC Week and to pay respects to Indigenous culture and history.

The Bears had immediate success with the ball with “The Big Horse” Harrison May taking a wicket in his first over. Both opening bowlers defied the conditions by bowling beautifully. The St George batsman fought hard against wonderful spells, with the ball beating the bat on too many occasions. Matthew Alexander was exemplary in efforts, demonstrating that he was a class above - unfortunately too good for the batsmen to even edge the ball. This seemed to lift his partner, with Harrison giving one of his best spells of the year. His figures (1/50 off 15) do not reflect the opportunities and chances he created - no balls can be costly.

Enter Robert Aitken into the bowling attack, and he ripped the St George top order apart! His fizzing spin ripping both ways bamboozled the batsmen and he took three quick wickets to take the score to 4/44. He skill and craft well beyond the ability of those that faced him, and he proved just what a dangerous bowler he is. Unfortunately, a few very close LBW shouts and a few missed opportunities didn’t allow Rob the 5-wicket haul he deserved. His bowling controlled the flow of the game and he finished with 4/37 off 25.

After lunch, the St George team showed the grit and determination that their club is known for and fought back with a series of partnerships. The bowling unit performed admirably, but unfortunately dropped chances and missed opportunities cost the home team. St George moved from 5/64 to 6/158. Matthew Alexander (3/43 of 24 overs) combined with Niranjan Naguleswaran (2/41 off 16) to take a few quick wickets and bring the Bears back into control. Special mention has to be made of Brent Atherton who took a one-handed snare of the season, off his old friend Niranjan, to dismiss the set batsman for 69. The catch was only surpassed in its greatness by the celebration afterwards! A tireless Matt Alexander closed the innings in style by smashing the stumps to dismiss St George for 189.

UTs North Sydney faced 10 overs in the afternoon to finish the day 1/21, unfortunately losing the wicket of in-form batsman Brent Atherton (11). Jordan Vilensky and Ray Alexander will resume the run chase next week. 168 runs stand between the boys and victory.

It was a good day out for the second grade XI, with an impressive display from a quality bowling line up in condition that did not suit them

3rd Grade Round 2: UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Trumper Park

UTS North Sydney 8/223(C Lloyd 53, A Cavenor 48, B Van der Merwe 28) def Eastern Suburbs 84 (J Graham 3/12, F Noack 3/26, C Savage 2/15)

It was a fine hot day – perfect for cricket. The pitch was uncut and we lost the toss – not perfect for batting! Unfortunately, the Bears were sent in to bat on what looked to be a diabolical pitch.

Despite our fears Ben Van der Merwe and Cam New put together an excellent partnership for the opening wicket. Ben VDM was the first to fall with Cam New shortly after. Chris Lloyd (53) and Adam ‘Cav’ Cavenor (48) then put on an even better partnership, which turned the tide and the match firmly in the Bears’ favour. Cav fell just short of his 50 but Lloyd powered on, helped by Izaak Merlehan, unbeaten until the second drinks break. A flurry of wickets after second drinks including a tight run-out to Lloyd hurt our total but we batted the 50 overs and made a defendable 223.

The opening spell between Nuwan Whyte and Chris Savage was clutch. The 3/29 off 13 overs between them (2/15 to Sav, 1/14 to Whyte) had the Dolphins on the back foot and well behind the required rate. Fraser Noack was introduced and also provided the goods, taking the key wicket, the captain, on his way to 3-fa (3/26). He was ably assisted by the Bears’ captain Jacob Graham at the other end, who also took 3-fa (3/12 off 6) and was at one point on a hat-trick. The innings was wrapped up when the 9th wicket was taken, the last batsman hampered by a torn hamstring in the first innings.

Easts were all out for 84 and astonishingly 50 runs behind the required total to prevent the bonus point win. 7 points to the Bears.

4th Grade Round 2: UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 1/112 (C Spratt 61, F Nixon-Tomko 36*) def Eastern Suburbs 110 (K Allison 5/28, F May 2/17, T Laybutt 2/26)

4s were looking to bounce back after a close defeat to Sydney in Round 2 and hosted Easts at Bon Andrews. Perhaps haunted by being asked to bat first last week, skipper Lindsay won the toss and sent Easts in on hard surface with an even covering of grass.

The bowlers didn’t let the skipper down, with Fletcher May (2/17 off 7) and Toby Laybutt taking 3 early breakthroughs. Kobe Allison was then introduced and proved to be a little to hot to handle for the Easts batsman removing the #4 and #5 in quick succession to have the Dolphins reeling at 5/42. Easts consolidated and took the score to 75 before the re-introduced Laybutt (2/26 off 10) took the breakthrough. From then on wickets feel regularly with Kobe Allison the star of the show, picking up another three to finish with 5/28 off 9.2. Kobe bowled with good wheels and, for the most part, had the Easts batsman jumping and looking to survive. Also, special mention to youngsters Luke Opacic and Hamish Reynolds who bowled tightly in the middle overs with no luck.

Chris Spratt and Finn Nixon-Tomko strode to the crease seeking to chase down the 111 required. We started in the best possible fashion with Spratt smashing 2 fours in the first over and then continuing to bat positively. When he was dismissed for 61 (41) the match was effectively over with the Bears 1/87. From there Finn (36*) and Luke Smith (10*) saw us home in the 20th over to win comfortably with a bonus point.

Onto St George.

5th Grade Round 2: UTS North Sydney vs Eastern Suburbs at Snape Park

UTS North Sydney 119 (O Jennings 41, B Kumar 19) def by Eastern Suburbs 7/120 (J Thomas 3/21, A Rana 2/13)

UTS North Sydney 119 (O Jennings 41, B Kumar 19) def by Eastern Suburbs 7/120 (J Thomas 3/21, A Rana 2/13)

With the sun shining and the crisp smell of freshly cut grass in the air, UTS North Sydney fifth grade rolled up to Snape Park eager to repeat their performance from last week. Baran Kumar and Shiv Vohra were back in the line up along with Aden Clark for the first time this season. After an energetic warm up, Alex Perry won the toss again, and elected to bat on wicket that looked like crumbling in the afternoon.

Olly Jennings opened the innings with a new partner this week in Kumar, and it was off to a great start, working the score past 30 with ease until Kumar edged one to slip. John Nevell and Perry didn’t last long and the score quickly slumped to 3/69, a similar position to the previous week. Jennings and Nick Hay ground out a tough partnership until both were trapped in front in quick succession, Jennings with a hard fought 41 - the highlight of the innings. Drew Sellers and Clark put up a wall with the objective of ensuring the Bears faced all of their 50 overs. Sellers was unfortunately bowled around his legs and Clark quickly followed hauling out in the deep. Jack Thomas put his hand up again in the tail playing a handy cameo to help nudge the final score up to 119.

Acknowledging this was a disappointing performance with the bat, the Bears turned their focus onto what they could control, their bowling and fielding. Following the lunch break the intensity was off the charts, plenty of chat in the field and there was a genuine belief that the Bears could still take the 6 points. Again, like last week, there was a great opening spell for Thomas and Sol Balbi, bowling strong in partnership, with Thomas taking two early wickets to put the game in the balance. Kumar chimed in getting their number 4 caught behind. Aki Rana bowled extremely well with his 10 straight overs, taking 2 crucial wickets for minimal runs. Vohra came into the attack and bowled Easts number 6 first ball, putting the game on a knife-edge, with the score at 6/82.

With 13 overs left after drinks, the stage was set for an exciting final session, and Thomas took a wicket early to put the pressure on the cautious Dolphins. However ultimately the Bears didn’t have enough runs on the board to win, with Easts passing our 119 7 down in the 46th over.

It was a valiant effort with the ball and in the field, with some of the best energy and intensity the fifth grade side has produced, fighting till the last ball. The Bears look to bounce back next week against St George.

Poidevin-Gray Shield Round 3: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 275 (K Allison 84, T Reynolds 75, A Bariol 52) def by St George 3/276 (M Jenkins 2/56)

From the desk of Ben Knox

Keen to continue their run of form, the Poidevin-Gray side arrived to a warm, humid Bon Andrews to play St George in a one day game. The Bears won the toss and chose to bat on a very flat wicket, and after losing James Leary early, Tim Reynolds and skipper Aiden Bariol steadied the ship with a partnership of 75. Bariol hit a quickfire 52 off 40 balls, including nine 4s and one 6, before being caught chipping one to midwicket.

Jake Hardy joined Reynolds at the crease, and the two looked very comfortable against the St George attack, putting on a 58 run partnership. Reynolds attacked the spin, hitting several huge bombs before driving one back onto the stumps at the non striker's end via the bowler’s hand, effectively running Hardy out. Reynolds fell soon after for a well made 75, and after a very good start, the Bears found themselves at 5/154.

Enter Kobe Allison, who was simply hungry for slapping 4s and 6s. Allison partnered with the middle and lower order of Finn Nixon-Tomko on his PGs debut and Fletcher May to blitz his way to 84 off 52 balls at a strike rate of 161, including twelve 4s and three 6s. Unfortunately, wickets continued to fall at the wrong time for the Bears, and after Allison was dismissed trying to send one to the Union Hotel, the tail was only able to grind for another 19 runs before UTS North Sydney was bowled out for 275 off 48.1 overs. Despite being below par considering where they were positioned earlier in the innings, it was still the second highest score of the round.

The St George opening pair attacked straight away and notched up a 75 run opening stand, broken by Mac Jenkins (2/56) with a caught and bowled. Following this was a long day in the field for the Bears, who unfortunately didn’t take their chances in the field, and didn’t execute fully with the ball in hand. St George chased the target of 275 three wickets down in the 44th over. The Bears will look to bounce back next week against Sydney in a T20 fixture at Tunks International Spors Park.

Women's Third Grade Round 5: UTS North Sydney v Bankstown at Tunks Inernational Sports Park 2

UTS North Sydney 7/115 (A Dongre 30*, C Thomas 20) def Bankstown 4/105 (A Dongre 2/19)

Our women’s 3rds recorded their first win ever! What an exciting match and a well-deserved victory for a team that has been improving in every match this season.

With our captain (and leading batsman in the competition) Hetti Blackburn sidelined due to an ankle fracture, our vice-captain Anushka Dongre stepped into the role for the first time and ably led our team to victory, starting with winning the toss and asking Bankstown to bat. From the very first ball by Urzana Ghadially we could see that our training on improving our bowling length was working - we were immediately troubling the openers and giving them nothing short to work with.

Amy Gibbons had an excellent match behind the stumps for the first 15 overs, keeping everything tight and putting pressure on the batsmen with at least one stumping chance that looked incredibly close. Our ground fielding was excellent and great throwing produced two run outs, both from captain Anushka. Tilly Kingsmill held a fantastic catch at point and tight bowling kept the run rate down, resulting in Bankstown posting only 4/105. Anushka Dongre was the pick of the bowlers with 2/19 from her four overs She was assisted by great economical bowling from Lucy Warren 4 overs 0/15 and Anjali d'Cunha 4 overs 0/16. Hayley Yeomans also bowled really well and beat the bat time and again and we had some good fielding from our newcomer, Lara Eastman, now settling well into the team.

In our reply, Tilly Kingsmill opened for the first time for 3rds, batting really well for 13 and absorbing some excellent opening bowling. Lucy Warren made a quick-fire 16, Anushka Dongre a blazing 30* off 26 and Caitlyn Thomas a fantastic 20 off 21. What the numbers don't show is just how much we have improved our running between wickets, looking to turn dots into 1s and stealing 2s, vital to keeping the scoreboard ticking along even when the bowling was tight and the boundaries had dried up. It was then up to our middle order to bring us home - Hayley Yeomans added 6, Jillian Edwards was brilliantly selfless in pushing hard to steal a second only to be run out from great fielding, and Jasmeet Bedi hit the winning runs with her first 4 ever! The entire UTS North Sydney team had been camped together on the sideline, counting down every run needed, cheering loudly for every boundary and equally loudly for every single, erupting with joy as we passed Bankstown's score with 7 balls to spare for our team's first win! We continued batting in the pursuit of bonus points (a new concept for us!), with Bella Bursill making 6 from 5 and Urzana Ghadially scoring her first four ever to bring us home on 7/115, a win by 10 runs and a bonus point earned!

Well done 3rds! A great victory - may there be many more.

Brewer Shield Round 5: UTS North Sydney v Northern District at Mark Taylor Oval

Northern Districts 2/131 + 15 penalty runs (G Keating 2 run-outs) def UTS North Sydney 113 (E Buckley 50*, G Keating 32*)

The Bears went into this week’s game believing they were in the hunt, but again luck deserted them with another toss lost and Northern District chose to bat first (I'm sure Lucy is looking forward to a home match and at least getting a call). This week also saw the next generation of Bears cricketers play at the top level with Emily Aitken, the daughter of first grade lifer and club stalwart Rob, making her debut for Brewers.

The Bears got off to a wobbly start with the ball, going for 38 runs from just 4 overs. They were able to drag themselves back into the contest with some great bowling from India Keating and Charlotte Moss to have NDs 0/55 after 8. Chloe Day then came on to bowl the spell of the day going for just 2 runs from her first over and then backing that up with a maiden, but the lack of wickets hurt with both NDs openers scoring 50s. Despite some variable bounce late in the innings, the girls were only able to take two wickets through run outs, both to Grace Keating late in the innings, which did little to stem the tide with Northern District finishing at 2/131.

On the back of last week's record setting performance, and despite being a big total, the girls believed they could chase the 131 down. At this point the team’s inexperience hit hard with the umpires slugging the team with a 15-run penalty for a slow over rate that pushed the total required to 146. Despite this the girls headed out to bat with a certain amount of confidence, which was short lived with the loss of two quick wickets in the first over (last week's top two run scorers) leaving us at 2/1 off 1. Even more concerning was that the pitch was showing its teeth in the second half of the match with a number of balls short of a length whistling through at ankle height. The Keating sisters then steadied the innings but struggled to pierce the field early, and after 5 overs it was 2/12.Realising the game was slipping away, they upped the ante in the 6th & 7th overs and scored 22 runs before India took one risk too many being stumped in the 8th over.

With Amy Gibbons suffering from heat exhaustion following her keeping effort, Liz Buckley swaggered to the crease to join her long-term friend and partner in crime. Liz was able to deliver the innings her coaches knew that she is capable of. Sitting on 44 runs at the start of the final over and stuck at the wrong end of the wicket, her chances of making fifty looked slim until, on the second ball of the over, Grace pushed one straight to the fielder but charged to the danger end knowing a direct hit would see her out, just to allow Liz a chance at her 50. Needing 6 runs off the last 4, Liz lofted a drive over mid off, with Grace again running hard to complete the second. With 2 balls remaining, Liz got the ball she was waiting for and pounded the ball along the ground through cow corner beating deep mid wicket to the boundary for her first half century. Despite the slow start, the girls put on a brave chase and ended up falling short of the total by just 18 runs scoring 113 runs vs NDs’ 131 (penalty excluded).

Unfortunately, the 15 run penalty denied us a realistic opportunity to win the match. However, looking at the positives, the side for consecutive weeks have had members of the team score 50 whilst recording our highest T20 scores, the girls are improving each week and are just a few early wickets away from taking our first win of the season. Some solid batting from the top order over the last couple of matches has the team looking forward to the longer games where they will look to take advantage of our batting strength and bat themselves to victory. This should also provide some opportunities to some of the girls missing out on time in the middle due to the short format of the T20 game.


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