Week 9 Wrap vs Penrith, Parramatta, Gordon and Easts

1st Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at North Sydney Oval

UTS North Sydney 6/274 (48.3 overs) (A Bariol 105, M Jenkins 48*, A Cavenor 41, O Knight 26) def Penrith 5/270 (cc) (R Aitken 2/24)

The Bears named a new-look batting line-up for the crucial Round 9 clash against Penrith with four of the top order out due to a combination of injury, a BBL call-up, COVID-19 and, in Brent Atherton’s case, his partner going into labour on the morning of the game. We later heard of Mason’s safe arrival – congratulations to Brent and Alisha!

Baggy caps were handed out to debutants Adam Cavenor (#679) and Jimmy Greenslade (#680), and stand-in skipper, Rob Aitken, lost the toss. However, it didn’t look too bad a toss to lose, with the Bears asked to bowl first under clouded skies.

Returning to the side after his appendix operation in December, James Campbell got things underway, resuming his partnership with Matt Alexander. However, there was no joy in either opener’s initial spell, and Penrith raced to 0/53 off the first nine overs. The introduction of James Aitken and Olly Knight slowed the run rate slightly, and Knight made the breakthrough on 81 by bowling Nick Adams with a yorker. The next partnership put on 79 before Campbell (1/52) was brought back into the attack and removed the dangerous Tyran Liddiard, caught by Rob Aitken at deep, wide mid-off.

With 160 on the board off 31 overs and wickets in hand, Penrith might have been expected to put on a 300+ score, but they decelerated after the loss of Liddiard. Cameron Weir fell for 65 in the 41st, holing out to the safe hands of Jack James off Rob Aitken, with the score on 207, and this provoked a mini-collapse with three wickets in three overs, courtesy of a classic Matt Alexander in-swinger and then a stumping to Aiden Bariol off Aitken (2/24).

The Panthers closed on 5/270 off their 50 overs – probably below par at NSO and far less than it might have been, but the big question was how would the new, young batting line-up go. The answer was emphatic: they’d go superbly!

Adam Cavenor and Jack James opened up, but Aiden Bariol, promoted to number 3, was at the crease in the second over after James fell cheaply. What ensued was a superb, mature partnership. Bariol was typically on the attack from the start, never letting the Panthers’ bowlers settle and taking all the pressure off Cavenor in his maiden First Grade innings. The 11th. 12th and 13th overs were particularly brutal, with Bariol hitting six fours across the three overs, giving Cavenor only two balls to face, and bringing up his 50 off 49 balls. Galvanised by Bariol and with his confidence growing after a watchful start, Cavenor himself hit the accelerator and hit the Bears’ first two sixes off successive Jason Browne overs, over wide long on and mid-wicket respectively. He was eventually caught behind in the 21st over, just nine short of what would have been a deserved half century on debut.

One debutant replaced another as Jimmy Greenslade strode to the middle with the score on 124 off 21 overs. To the delight of his fan club in the stands, Greenslade wasted no time, hitting 16 runs off 12 balls including a big bomb over long off before being trapped lbw. Replacing him was Mac Jenkins, completing a top five of players aged 21 or under – surely a first!

Jenkins did what he does best with the bat, finding gaps and running hard, playing a great supporting role to Bariol, who was closing in on his third First Grade hundred. The milestone came up in the 29th over off 105 balls, with 13 fours and a six. Unfortunately Bariol holed out for 105, but he’d put us into a very strong position, 4/191 in the 32nd over, needing another 80 off 18 at well under five an over. The way he'd paced the chase made the job so much easier for those who followed.

Knight and Jenkins combined to put on another 48 before Knight fell for a run-a-ball 26. Ray Alexander, on his return to the side for the first time in two seasons, added just three, before the skipper, Rob Aitken, joined Jenkins to finish the job. Jenkins (48*) sealed the deal with a four in the 49th over. There being only nine balls left suggests it was close, but in reality it was a comfortable end to a clinical chase.

With 4s and 5s having won easily earlier, and 3s wrapping up not long after 1s, attention turned to our phones for updates from 2s and MyCricket was refreshed multiple times at the climax of their thrilling game – but no spoilers here!

The win hauls the First Grade Bears up to tenth place, seven outside the top six, so a Finals place isn’t out of the question if we can get on a run from here. 

2nd Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Howell Oval

UTS North Sydney 9/184 (47.4 overs) (B Kumar 50*, J Hedges 35, F Nixon-Tomko 31) def Penrith 183 (48.3) (JD Graham 4/35, J Hedges 4/39)

It was 9:20am, enjoying my piccolo at the local cafe, reading the newspaper and listening to the birds chirping. Ahh the serenity… then Yak calls. “Mate, where are you?” I responded “I’m at the cafe mate, running a bit early, will see you at the game”. He bluntly replies; “we have been warming up for 30 minutes now, you realise we start at 10am”. I hung up, ashamed of my stupidity, and jumped straight out of the chair and bolted to my car where I proceeded to lose all my demerit points along the way. Arriving at 9:57am sharp it was game time, the boys raring to go in the field after winning the toss. I could sense we were on for a couple early ones. And right I was, Jamieson and Savage combined in a brilliant opening bowling partnership, taking it to the opposition with a couple of wickets early. The build-up in scoring pressure enabled Savage to take one early and Jamieson to take four in their respective opening spells. With Jamieson (4/39) all fired up, we had Penrith on the ropes… 5/40!

Jacob Graham was excellent when he was called up after Jamieson’s spell and also got a couple. Samoz combined in tandem with him and bowled most of the middle overs which restricted the Penrith run rate and built significant pressure. Baran then came on late in emphatic fashion to take his first Second Grab scalp. What a man! With Yak finishing off the Penrith innings with two late ones to return 4/35, we bowled Penrith out for 183.

Not long after a well-deserved lunch break, Jordan Vilensky and Finn Nixon-Tomko strode to the crease, full of confidence to take the Penrith bowlers on. Hitting early boundaries and hard running was key in a successful run chase and the boys provided this in full effect early on. Struggling with the heat, Finn played a loose shot on 31 and the Bears were 1/57. Unfortunately, the wickets then began to tumble after a great start, losing 4 for 1.

Small partnerships began to form with Lachie Stewart getting a quick-fire 21 and Harri Lee-Young and Yak combining for vital runs. As soon as we were 7/94, it looked like an impossible climb to reach the target. However after Jamieson and the finisher, Baran, teamed up, the camp's spirits began to lift knowing we could win this. Jamieson and Baran manipulated the field to great effect, getting quick singles left and right and capitalising on the bad ball.

As we closed in on our target, cool calm Baran managed to get his maiden 50 in Second Grade after an intelligent innings. Unfortunately, Jamieson could not finish off a masterful innings and got out for 35 after a partnership of 86, so we needed four runs with two wickets in hand. Sam Alexander walks in…. and out! Chris Savage walks in… and 4!

After nearly giving all spectators heart attacks, the Bears yet again won another thriller. Second Grade have had many close calls this season, and winning these close games could possibly be the key to getting a finals spot in the ensuing months. A big congratulations to Jamieson Hedges, Jacob Graham and Baran Kumar for their outstanding contributions to help win us the game.

Women's 2nd Grade Round 7: Gordon / UTS North Sydney v BYE

3rd Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Bon Andrews Oval

UTS North Sydney 9/177 (41.4 overs) (M Cole 44, H May 35*) def Penrith 9/176 (cc) (N Whyte 2/19, B Wilson 2/20, H May 2/24)

Less than a week after a gritty middle order performance against Campbeltown-Camden, the Bears Third Graders found themselves back once again at Bon Andrews, this time against a Penrith side looking to bounce back from defeat against ladder leaders Northern District.

The lead-up to the match included more than a little wet weather and, with the threat of more to come in the afternoon, it came as a surprise when the Bears were invited to bowl first in arguably bowling friendly conditions.

Harrison May and Brad Wilson got the innings going in fine fashion, grabbing three early wickets with a swinging ball and excellent control. A fourth wicket at the hands of Aidan Thomas with the score at 37 handed the Bears an excellent first session and the worst possible start to the Penrith innings.

Back-to-back breakthroughs by Nuwan Whyte added to the Panthers woes, reducing the visitors to 6/59. It was an excellent showing by the Third Grade seamers on a pitch that was beginning to flatten out under increasingly hot conditions. Penrith did not roll over from there, with a slow and steady addition of runs throughout the remainder of their innings. The visitors crept their way to 9/176 from their 50 overs. This was well helmed by the work of Everett Oxenham and Rhys Burinaga before Brad Wilson returned to the crease to deliver a final blow.

It was a good first half of the game from the bowling unit, although perhaps in hindsight an opportunity missed to press harder towards the start of the final powerplay which may have stymied the batting innings further.

With the target set at 177, the Bears got off to a good start with the 50-run stand between Ben Van der Merwe and skipper Cam New coming within the first powerplay. 120 runs required from 40 overs is an inviting task, but unfortunately wickets were lost in pairs throughout the innings which made building momentum difficult.

Matt Cole stood up amongst the run scorers in the top order, bludgeoning a well made 44 (42) to bring the total past 100.

At 5/110, the match could have gone either way. Harrison May backed up his returns with the new ball in another well-made innings of 35* (34) including his trademark dismissal of any and all opposition seam bowlers. Harry has made a point of stamping his authority as the biggest and baddest throughout the season, rendering his new ball foes at a loss of where to bowl at times. His batting average of 24 now sits higher than his average with the ball and one could argue his status as all-rounder is strengthening.

Not to be outdone, Brad Wilson joined in on the run scoring with a vital 13* (13) to carry the Bears across the line in the 42nd over and claim 6 well-received points. An excellent all-round performance by the two leading quicks who opened and closed the game in style.

With the weekend closed and all five Bears teams securing victory, Third Grade now sit on 31 points in fourth position on the ladder - a good place to be and with a looming opportunity to climb further as we come up against 2nd place Bankstown next weekend and the front-runners Northern District in this season’s first two-day fixture the following round.

Women's 3rd Grade Round 7: UTS North Sydney v Parramatta at Richie Benaud Oval (T20)

UTS North Sydney 3/62 (cc) (A Gibbons 30*, A Dongre 20*) def by Parramatta 9/68 (cc) (G Keating 3/8, A Dongre 2/10)

Almost certainly our most exciting match yet, and definitely our best fielding and bowling performance!

The day started with a few ominous signs: an exceptionally slow outfield, stifling heat and humidity, and "she's a first-grader, and she's a state player". Oh dear. And on our side: welcome to Amy Hessell, who first picked up a cricket ball three days before in a 20-minute training session in the rain!

We won the toss and skipper Hetti Blackburn put Parramatta in to bat. Anjali d'Cunha, who hasn't played since mid-November, opened our bowling with an over that went for 10 runs and ended with her saying "captain, I'm not sure I should bowl again". Every cricketer will love her captain's response: "I believe in you, keep going". And Anjali duly delivered, returning an eventual four overs for only 12 runs! Anushka Dongre (2/10 off 4) wasn't fazed at all by the First Grader and promptly bowled her with her very first ball! A few overs later, one of the moments of the season: Cabby Bailey chased after a ball headed for four with great determination, and with applause and cheers from her teammates and opponents alike, produced our team's first ever sliding pick-up and throw ... in itself a reason to celebrate! ... only to return the throw directly to Anjali for a superb run-out exactly "as seen on TV"! Brilliant. And not finished yet...

Grace Keating (3/9 off 4) and Tilly Kingsmill (1/8 off 3) came on as first changes and kept things equally tight, restricting Parramatta from scoring through a combination of great length and attacking the stumps. Tilly Kingsmill dropped one slightly short and Parramatta's super-star Lucy Wilson (who just last week made 206 - not a typo, that's 206 runs in one innings - off 138 balls in a reps-level U15 tournament in Orange!) played a great shot which looked like another four ... but Hetti had just moved Cabby into short leg ("45") ... yes, Cabby again, superb moment number two as she held a blistering catch in one of the most difficult fielding positions in cricket! The applause from the opposition for the first run-out turned sour, with quite a bit of sledging aimed at Cabby for the rest of the match (something she interpreted as a compliment, though she did maybe tell them that and maybe a few other words!) Grace Keating then efficiently ran through Parramatta's middle order, with two bowled and one lbw to send #4, #5 and #6 packing. Fantastic bowling, directly comparable IMHO to Scott Boland: on the spot, you miss, I hit!

As an aside and while on the subject of the tournament in Orange, another big congratulations to Shiloh Julien, our 12-year old star who we as Third Grade have adopted ever since she came to our training match and very impressively took control as captain, set her fields as she wanted, bowled beautifully and joined Amy in the highest partnership of the day. Shiloh played the same tournament as said Lucy Wilson above and made the 4th highest total runs in the tournament, with the 3rd highest average, that included a spectacular 100* off just 116 balls against a team from Gordon that included most of their Brewers players. Awesome Shiloh, we can't wait to see you in action in Brewers and/or 3rds.

OK, back to our game ...

Parramatta were reeling at 5/34 after 10 overs, then managed a bit of a fightback with a 27-run stand for the sixth wicket before Grace held a good catch at short mid-wicket to give Cabby (1/17 off 3) her first wicket ever as a bowler. Evy McKay (0/6), having kept for the first 10 overs, was given an over of spin and Amy Hessell, in her first game of cricket ever, was given an over which she afterwards described as "I was so nervous because I knew we were doing well and I didn't want to mess it all up!", but her line and length were spot on as she bowled six dot balls and just a single no-ball! Well bowled Amy, welcome to the Bears!

The tail didn't last long and Parramatta were all out for just 68 runs. The slow outfield had played its part ... only three fours in their entire innings ... but of course we would have the same struggle.

However, our real struggle was the bowling ... with speeds that we've never seen before and lengths that can best be described as unplayable, Parramatta were on fire with the ball. Could we cope?

Anushka (20*) and Sarah (1) bravely agreed to open after most players were completely fascinated by their shoes when the coach asked "so, who wants to open today?"! Sarah has been working hard on her batting, and turned a ball on leg stump around the corner for a very satisfying single - a shot she's just recently started to play, great to see it working, and on another field, that may well have been four. But to be honest, in only her second season of red-ball cricket ever she really struggled against the exceptional pace and length, falling to a bruiser on the foot for lbw. But she'd seen off 7 balls from the openers ... 7 fewer for the rest of the team to face!

Grace (1), recently selected for NSW Metro (big congrats Grace, we're very proud of you!) joined Anushka and also found the pace and length challenging, managing to keep out 5 balls before the First-Grader cleaned out her stumps. At 2/7, things weren't looking good.

Amy Gibbons (30*) then joined Anushka (20*) and the pair looked like they were fighting for survival more than anything else. The outfield wasn't giving up fours, so fielders could risk coming in really close and cutting off the ones, plus the line and length bowling at severe pace made scoring incredibly difficult. They squeezed out singles where they could, running hard in the very hot and humid conditions, taking us to 2/11 after 7 overs before starting to accelerate slightly to 2/23 after 10 overs. Amy's powerful drives were rolling up five metres short of the boundary, and it was only when she managed to get some aerial (tough under that bowling length) that she managed the only three fours of our innings. Overs 11, 12 and 14 were better, delivering 7, 6 and 7 runs respectively.

At 45 after 14 overs, we needed just 24 runs off 36 balls to win, with 8 wickets standing. But Anushka was calling for extra drinks and looking a little glassy eyed from running so hard in the heat. The coach ran drinks out at 10 overs and 14 overs and reminded her that she could retire hurt, but she's tough and determined and could see victory in sight....

In Third Grade T20s, the rule is that on 30 runs you have to retire - that was a fantastic effort from Amy, 30* off 48 balls in that heat and against that outfield and that bowling ... genuinely one of her best innings yet! Evy McKay (2) then joined Anushka and realised what all the fuss was about: great bowling and tough scoring conditions, but she threw everything at it anyway in a ferocious effort for her team. Then we saw one of those signals you don't want to see: a batter calling for help. Anushka mumbled something barely audible to the umpire about being unable to continue and made it about 10 metres from the wicket before needing help to keep her upright, water to stem the building nausea and arms to help her off the field and into an ice vest. She had given it everything in fighting for every run: 14 singles and 6 twos. Fantastic effort Anushka!

And speaking of effort, in this incredible heat and humidity, two other people were being just brilliant off the field. Michael Keating and Chloe Blackwell were having a full-on cricket training session next to the scorers (thanks again, Guy Kingsmill!). Chloe is new to cricket this season and Michael was patiently throwing ball after ball for Chloe to learn - fantastic to see. And when Chloe stopped batting herself, she was happily running around fetching balls for other players to do throw-downs. Thank you both, that's amazing. Chloe - you've earned a special right: next match, pick the number you'd like to bat, it's yours.

OK, back to the excitement. Hetti Blackburn joined Evy as the run rate was climbing - we needed 16 off 18 - Hetti swung hard but fell lbw to the same Lucy Wilson, without scoring. Next up, Anna Lucas (3) - her teammates had suggested trying a different approach: drop-and-run the singles! Parramatta were worried about boundaries at this point, so the singles were there if you were smart and quick, and Anna is both. Great backing up, great calling, great scampering, sliding of bat, all there ... Anna was teaching our whole team a new way of scoring runs, something to really pay attention to! As a result, Anna had the highest strike rate of any of our batters ... well batted, Anna!

We needed 13 off 12 balls, Parramatta could feel the pressure ... and that creates mistakes - an overthrow turned 1 into 2, and another 2 ... 4 off the over, 9 needed off the last over....

Heroes, yes. Guts and determination, plenty. Standing tall against the odds, absolutely. Our narrowest margin in a game ever, yes... but Parramatta held on for the win, by just six runs.

Aaaarrrgghhhh!!! So close, so brilliant!

What a game!

Isn't cricket awesome?!!!

4th Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Bill Ball Oval

UTS North Sydney 4/120 (33.4 overs) (D Singh 70) def Penrith 119 (42.2 overs) (D Johnson 3/13, H Riseborough 2/14, J Thomas 2/17, P Lindsay 2/22)

4s were on the road for their 1st game post Christmas (Round 8 vs Campbelltown was washed out) to play Penrith at Cook Park.

Notwithstanding the now standard COVID selection curveballs, a strong team was named. Overnight rain had the outfield damp, but the pitch looked in good shape. Skipper Lindsay won the toss and elected to field, hoping that there would be some juice in the wicket and that it would be easier to bat, with a faster outfield, in the afternoon. Credit must be given to both the umpires and Penrith who were keen to get the game started as soon as possible.

The Bears got off to a sloppy start with plenty of sundries conceded and little to no threat to the batsmen. Penrith moved to 0/58 before Henry Riseborough induced a false shot that was caught by Ben Revai. From here, it became the Harry Davis Show, taking a stumping off Shiv Vohra and then two sharp catches up to the stumps off Henry Riseborough (2/14 on 4s debut) and then Dylan Johnson.

The Bears kept pushing and wickets fell regularly with Lindsay (2/22) and Jack Thomas (2/17) chiming in with Johnson’s 3/13 in his first bowl in 4s. Penrith were bowled out in the 43rd over for 119.

A brief shower during the lunch break didn’t delay the start and Dilraj Singh and Olly Jennings strode to the crease. Olly (3) was dismissed early and Dilraj and Adi Nigul (14) rode their luck to a degree to take the score to 1/72. Dilraj fell for 70, upping the tempo pushing for the bonus point, but it was his innings that the Bears built their successful chase on. Dilraj took the spinners on and it was great to see his positive intent throughout this innings. Ben Revai and Dylan Johnson sealed the result in the 34th over with the Bears four down.

That’s three wins on the spin for 4s, who will look to continue to stack up the Ws as they take on Bankstown next round at Kelso Park.

5th Grade Round 9: UTS North Sydney v Penrith at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 3/101 (17.3 overs) (B Rogers 30*, W Graham 29*) def Penrith 100 (48.5) (C Fursman 2/10, A Perry 2/18, C Bromwich 2/18, W Graham 2/20)

After an extended break due to the washout last round, the top of the table Fifth Grade Bears looked to maintain their momentum that they had generated through the first half of the season against an always tough Penrith outfit, who were looking to generate some momentum of their own.

With COVID-19 playing havoc across all grades and Green Shield coming to the pointy end of the season, availability was scarce this week across the club. As a result, there were plenty of debutants in the Fifth Grade side, and also some veterans winding back the clock.

Some early morning drizzle delayed the start of play at Tunks International Sports Park by 15 minutes, with the toss done at 10am and sides out on the field ready for play at 10.15. Penrith wont the toss and elected to bat, which quickly seemed like a questionable decision...

Making a celebrity appearance, Will Graham took the new rock and caused havoc for the Penrith top order, nicking off their opener cheaply and creating numerous other half chances and shouts through his first spell. Debutant Iain Westbrook bowled well in his first 6 overs with the Bears, beating the bat numerous times and creating a couple of half chances, however didn't get any luck.

Fursman and Perry came on first change, and as per regular programming, kept things tight, building pressure to create wickets. Fursman struck twice quickly with stand in opening batsmen Zac Kalogerou taking a screamer at first slip, before Fursman made a mess of the stumps having Penrith 3/16. Just before drinks, Perry struck with Kalogerou taking another excellent catch at slip, having the visitors 4/23 at the first interval.

A well thought-out first ball from Rob Lavery secured the Bears’ fifth wicket of the day, removing their captain caught and bowled. The dual off spin attack continued to keep things tight and a sharp catch to veteran Keith Lawrence at mid-wicket off Perry soon after saw Penrith in trouble at 6/46.

The pitch began to flatten out and became easier for batting with the sun beating down. Debutant Clem Bromwich took over from Perry at the Southern end, and made a quick impact, striking with a beautiful stumping from the recently selected NSW U14 Metro keeper, Jack Mannix. The leg spinner continued to stamp his mark on the game, with an extraordinary run out, with a direct hit from 3/4 of the way to the point boundary, sending another Penrith batsmen back to the sheds.

After a brief fight back, Bromwich and Graham picked up the final two wickets, Westbrook taking a well judged catch off Bromwich, and Graham trapping the final batsmen leg before. Penrith scratched their way to an even 100, and after one of the most well-rounded performances with the ball and in the field this season for the Bears, with everyone contributing to restrict the Panthers to a low total.

The job now turned to the batsmen, and with weather still sniffing around, the key was to make sure a result was reached. Rogers and Kalogerou stode out to the middle, the pair intent on getting this done quickly, keeping the score ticking at four an over before Kalogerou was caught and bowled after one stuck in the pitch.

Rogers was then joined in the middle by North Sydney enigma, Michael Lloyd. Both Rogers and Lloyd took to the Penrith attack, Rogers pulling short balls to the fence and working a lot of twos through the backward point region, while Lloyd in his classic style, sent the ball to all parts, including a monstrous straight six which thundered into the cliff face at the southern end.

Lloyd unfortunately went for one too many slaps, and one kept low and snuck under his bat, bowling him. With the momentum rolling, Will Graham strode out to the wicket intent on finishing the game and get out on the circuit. Graham hit three fours in a row from his third, fourth and fifth ball out in the middle. This trend continued, with Rogers and Graham guiding the team home in the 17th over, securing the bonus point after some controlled hitting.

It was a complete performance, with every player contributing to the win and getting the team over the line. The Bears continue to pace Fifth Grade, clear top by two points. They look to continue the momentum heading into a clash next week against Bankstown, back at the home of cricket.

U18 Brewer Shield Round 7: UTS North Sydney v Gordon at Beauchamp Oval

UTS North Sydney 7/52 (cc) def by Parramatta 4/53 (12.4 overs) (MR Oxenham 4/6)

The Bears’ Brewers team re-commenced the season after the Christmas break by travelling to Beauchamp Oval to face Gordon. The team list required a bit of a shuffle due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, with some players coming down with the virus and others coming back after their recovery. It appears that the Council was also a little understaffed as the mower clearly remained secure in the groundsman’s shed and the lush, green outfield was ankle high.

Our girls won the toss and the opening bats trudged out to the middle hoping to get first use out of a low, front foot wicket. Liz Buckley (4) started with a bang, lofting a boundary over the off side before going across the line to a low bouncing short ball. Amy Gibbons (10) then came to the crease and shared a partnership with Emily Aitken (14), our stand-in opener. Both players worked hard to accelerate the run rate, but were hampered by the exceedingly slow outfield, the umpires’ very lenient approach to wides, and the wicket that was already ankle high. This contributed to the demise of Amy, unsuccessfully attempting to loft the ball to the boundary. India Keating (6) played a number of crisp aggressive shots with limited reward. A savage cover drive, possibly the shot of the day, zoomed through the covers off her bat only to pull up so sharply that the fielder who turned chase it embarrassingly continued to run towards the boundary well after the ball had stopped in the long grass. Fortunately for Gordon, there was no need for a search party to be mounted and the batters had to opt for a quick single. Once again, needing to hit out against wide ones that weren’t called wide and the slow outfield forced an error and India departed. This was very much the pattern for the remainder of the innings with all remaining batters being restricted to single figures and a total of 53 to defend.

The Gordon innings began slowly but confidently. The openers batted with patience and composure, defending the stumps against the new ball and waiting for width when it was presented. Their total slowly began to mount, assisted greatly by the ten extras gifted to the opposition, meaning that the Gordon batters only really needed to knock off 43 runs. The UTS North Sydney medium pace bowlers were slowly bleeding runs through short singles and the vacant third man area when Mabel Oxenham (4/6 off 4) commenced with her looping leg spin. Her impact was immediate, dismissing a previously untroubled opener and then proceeding to rip through the top order. All batters were troubled with her flight in a spell that included a sharp caught and bowled, plus a magnificent over head catch by Amy Gibbons in the off side. Sophie Fischer (0/2) and the ripping leg spin of Mayher Singh (0/3) also looked dangerous, but unfortunately our medium pacers were not able to consistently maintain the pressure.

The Gordon batters eventually hauled in our total with a few overs to spare after striking a boundary off a free hit. The Gordon opener deservedly carried her bat and the Bears were left wondering what might have been if they had taken just a couple more wickets. The fielding performance was a notable bright spot, with many examples of neat work on the ground and in the air. Georgia MacDonald was particularly impressive in the outfield, saving numerous runs by attacking the ball and speedy returns to the keeper. Karman Jawanda and Amy Gibbons deserve special mention for their tidy glove work on a low wicket and with a medium pace attack that proved to be wayward at times.

U16 AW Green Shield Round 7: UTS North Sydney v Eastern Suburbs at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 9/167 (44.4 overs) (H Reynolds 77*) def Eastern Suburbs 7/166 (cc) (EJ Oxenham 3/37)

Sunday brought the final round of the Green Shield regular season, and after an eventful week with a tie vs NDs and a DLS loss to St George, the Bears needed both a bonus point and other results to go our way in order to qualify for Finals.

Hamish Reynolds, playing as a batsman ahead of the U17 State Challenge in Dubbo this week, won the toss and invited Easts to bat first at Tunks, and James Edwards got a breakthrough in the third over with the catch taken by Thor Harradine. A couple of partnerships got Easts to 3/110 before their top-scorer, Tiwary, was removed for 51 by Everett Oxenham in the 38th over. Thanks to the tight work of our bowlers, all of whom returned economy rates under four an over, the Dolphins never really got going and finished 7/166 off their 50. Everett Oxenham secured the last two wickets with run-outs, to add to his 3/37 with the ball.

In reply, all of the top five got starts, but only Hamish Reynolds went on, and wickets fell at the other end at two clumps. It quickly became a question of whether Hamish, who seemed to be batting on a different wicket, would run out of partners. At 9/124 after three wickets fell for one run, most people’s money would have been on the Dolphins – but this is the Bears in 2022, and our last wicket pairs don’t give up! Henry Riseborough was unfazed by the challenge and held firm for a remarkable 49 balls for his critical 8*. When the pair scampered through for a bye to win in the 45th over, they had put on 43 and Reynolds finished on 77* off 88 balls – an innings made all the more remarkable by the inclusion of only a single boundary.

The only shame is that the brilliant win wasn’t enough to see us through to Finals cricket, but it was a tremendous, spirited effort from the Bear Cubs. We finish on 24 points with three wins, a tie and three defeats in a very tough draw, and Hamish Reynolds is the fourth highest run-scorer in the competition to date.

Huge thanks are due to Jason Krejza and Lachlan Reynolds for their work as coach and manager, nurturing this talented squad. It’s been brilliant to see so many of the boys make waves in Grade cricket already this season and we know it’s only the start of their careers with the Bears.

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