Week 9 Wrap vs St George, Bankstown, Campbelltown and Sydney

1st Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Hurstville Oval

UTS North Sydney 9d/355 (TA Jagot 141, TL Reynolds 91) def by St George 9/359 (J Campbell 5/87, J Aitken 2/52, JN James 2/64)

The Bears arrived at Hurstville Oval and declared on their closing score from Day 1, hopeful that the 9/355 we posted, thanks to Tom Jagot and Tim Reynolds’ heroics, would be sufficient to secure six points. So the day began predictably enough, but very little of what followed in an extraordinary day’s cricket could possibly have been imagined. To a neutral observer it could be described as a fairytale comeback win for St George – but neither the author nor most of the readers of this report are neutral observers!

The other thing that could probably have been predicted was a fiery opening spell from James Campbell to start proceedings but, even by his own exacting standards, this one was pretty special. In his first three overs, Campbell ripped through the Saints’ top order, with one bowled, one caught behind and two LBWs on successive balls to give himself figures of 4/2 and leave St George reeling at 4/11. It was later described by umpire Darren Foster as one of the best opening spells he’d ever witnessed. At the other end, Will Graham was unlucky not to have a wicket or two of his own, with a couple of edges flying to the boundary that on another day would have gone to hand.

Campbell took a short break with the amazing figures of 4/6 off 7, to be replaced by Olly Knight, and James Aitken took over at Graham’s end. Aitken provided his usual challenging line, length and movement, giving away nothing and finding success in his fourth over with the wicket of Bartier. St George 5/47 and still half an hour to go until lunch. Campbell was recalled to go in for the kill before the break and had immediate success, finding the edge of the Saints’ keeper Vane Tempest to give a straightforward catch to his Bears opposite number, Aiden Bariol. St George 6/52, Campbell 5/6. Surely six points in the bag? I daresay there was some talk of ten.

The sixth wicket brought Andrew Walsh to the crease, first to negotiate a tricky few overs until lunch with partner Engelbrecht, and to survive a couple of early chances as he played himself in. The pair then accelerated after lunch, punishing any loose bowling and plenty that wasn’t really loose at all, before James Aitken removed Engelbrecht for 64 thanks to a sharp stumping by Bariol, ending a partnership of 60. St George 7/112.

The partnership that followed has already had many column inches written about it. The combination of Walsh’s power hitting and Graham’s stoic defence yielded 90 runs together before tea, but at 7/202, the Saints were still a long way adrift and the Bears had a chance to regroup. Regroup they did, and the spin twins of Mac Jenkins and Jack James combined to produce a couple of chances either side of Walsh’s 100, which unfortunately didn’t stick. Will Graham was recalled to the attack before the new ball was taken and found a few more edges that flew to the boundary not to hand, and by this point Walsh seemed to be hitting boundaries for fun. It was now clear that he wanted to win the game, not just to save it. The new ball was taken after 80 overs at 7/278, with the Saints needing another 88 off 16 overs for a victory that no longer seemed quite so unlikely, and Walsh was 150*. James Campbell had been kept fresh since tea for the new ball and we all knew he’d be bowling until the close, despite having already done a mountain of work for the day, while James Aitken stepped up to bowl his 18th with the new pill. We still knew that one wicket would open the door. There was still time.

It took until the 90th over for the partnership to be broken, when Graham miscued a lofted drive off Jack James, and James Aitken ran under it to take an excellent catch. The relief of the Bears supporters and scorer can be heard on the Frogbox replay! 8/325, 31 to win off 32 balls. Game on, but we needed Walsh.

The new man, Ortiz, stonewalled while Walsh continued his onslaught, reaching his double ton with a six. In his final over, the 95th, James Campbell had a huge caught behind shout against Ortiz turned down, so with one over left the score was 8/351 and all four results were possible. Jack James was handed the ball, but not before Ortiz retired hurt, perhaps doing himself a mischief running a single on the final ball of the over so Walsh could keep the strike. On the first ball of the 96th, Walsh tried to finish the game in one shot, smashing the ball towards deep cow - and the hearts of the Bears supporters not at the ground stopped as the live stream froze! But Tim Reynolds kept his cool underneath it and took the catch on the fence. Walsh finally departed for 208 off 209, but was it too late?

Ortiz re-emerged, with a runner – another quirk in a day where we’d seen it all. It seems fit at this moment, when writing about a day where we’d seen it all, also to mention (and thank) the revolving door of Bears substitute fielders following both Justin Avendano’s illness and an injury to Olly Knight white bowling. Brent Atherton, Jack Thomas, Finn Nixon-Tomko, Cameron New and Todd Harper all took to the field (some shuttling in their cars between games) to ensure we weren’t a man down. Ortiz and his runner were at the non-striker’s end and no.11 McKenzie faced his first ball. One run, target 4 off 5. Dot. Two to Ortiz, 2 from 3, all four results still possible. One to Ortiz, scores level and a debate amongst the scorers about how many points for a tie and how many for a draw with the scores level. The debate was moot – McKenzie smashed the final ball back over James’ head and somehow St George had won a topsy-turvy, crazy game that none of us will ever forget.

Missed chances will be rued and wounds licked but, with two rounds left before the Christmas break, all eyes will be on Coogee Oval where we take on reigning Premiers Randy Petes over the next two Saturdays.

2nd Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Tunks International Sports Park

St George 189 (R Aitken 4/37, M Alexander 3/43, N Nageleswaran 2/41) def UTS North Sydney 167 (J Leary 71)

The Bears returned to Tunks Park to resume their run chase, 1/21 off 10 overs with a target of a further 169 in their sights for victory. The conditions were very similar to last week, except for a noticeable sluggish outfield.

The Bears settled in for what was hoped to be a long day watching us pile on the runs. Unfortunately, things got off to a slow start. Consistent line and length challenged the batsmen and the slow outfield did not allow for any flow of runs or momentum for the home team. This allowed for the opposition to pressure the top order. Unfortunately, wickets fell consistently throughout the first session, with all batsmen getting starts but not going on with it. The Second Grade side were struggling as they went into lunch at 5/60. The St George team was confident of an easy result.

The bad news continued after lunch immediately, with the home side losing the crucial two wickets of Skipper Glenn Aitken and the ever-ready clutch player Niranjan Nagleswaran. Things were dire for the Second Grade sorts at 7/70. However, a fighting partnership formed between James Leary and Matthew Alexander. Up against all odds they showed the required commitment and passion. Both batsmen withstood the confident verbal and bowling onslaught, batting for most of the session. Matt Alexander was dismissed for 13 runs, bringing Sam to the crease to replace him. Luckily the second XI has a long batting order and, inspired by the fight of Matt and James, Samoz showed the same determination. He scored 14 off 53 balls, and in a rare moment outscored his older brother. Sam and James Leary put on 35 valuable runs, taking the Bears to 9/128.

The fight of the side was seen, as the team slowly crawled closer towards the total, the batsmen grinding hard against a dominant and aggressive opposition. James Leary in particular was singled out by the visiting side for special treatment and this seemed to inspire Leary to new heights. He showed the strength and individual courage to post the only significant total of the innings. His 71 of 173 balls was a pleasure to witness. As the scores slowly drew closer, James looked like he was about to pull off an unlikely win. In a last-ditch effort by a nervous Saints skipper, the second new ball was taken and then promptly sent to the boundary in a flurry of shots from Leary. Unfortunately, with the victory in sight, Leary chanced his hand at a lofted drive and was well caught by mid off.

It was a great comeback inspired by the hard work and tenacity of James Leary.

3rd Grade Round 4: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Harold Fraser Park

UTS North Sydney 140 (J Holmes 33) def by St George 1/141

St George are a typically strong outfit. Round 4 was no different with the Bears having a day to forget down at Harold Fraser Park.

With the sun beating down and the pitch looking dry, hard and flat, the Bears’ captain Jacob Graham won another toss and decided to have a bat. After the effort last week, everyone was licking their lips at what could’ve been a rather large total. This was an opportunity to put an exclamation point on our fast start to the year after two big scalps.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, as some tight bowling and some late swing proved to be the downfall of our top order. A couple of loose shots here and there left the Bears reeling at six for 60.

The counterpunch came when debutant Kobe Allison strode to the crease and combined with Jake Holmes for a handy little partnership that started to swing the momentum back in the Bears’ favour. A big total was no longer front of mind but we felt we could certainly do more than just be competitive with anything around 150 on the board. Kobe fell just before the 40th over which left Jake to maturely bat through the last 10 with the lower order. 140 all out was the in total as Jake finished with a match high 33.

Unfortunately, when it was the Bears’ turn to bowl, no one could find their line, length and rhythm for much of the first 15 overs and, as such, we didn’t look like taking a wicket. The St George opening pair, whilst streaky at times, kept the scoreboard moving and it was only when the game was virtually done and dusted that the first wicket was taken through a good catch in the gully by Ben Van Der Merwe off the bowling of Graham.

The other opener carried his bat through the innings and finished with a total of 80 odd as St George past our 140 on the last ball of the 30th over to finish with a bonus point win.

A day to forget for the boys, but a lot of things to learn coming into what will be at a crucial Round 5 clash against Randwick Petersham, who will be looking to bounce back after a five-nil drubbing through the grades at the hands of Manly in round three.

4th Grade Round 4: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Olds Park

UTS North Sydney 211 (L Smith 83, L Stewart 43) def by St George 9/233 (P Lindsay 3/32, J Thomas 3/41, F May 2/51)

4s were away at Olds Park to play the Saints in Round 4. The wicket looked a little tacky and the Bears elected to bowl after winning the toss.

We got off to a great start with Fletcher May and Jack Thomas taking wickets in their first overs, and we then had the Saints 3/21 with May’s 2nd. After this, the wicket flattened out and the Saints has a couple of good partnerships. The Bears pulled things back well to have the Saints at 9/233 at the finish of their 50 overs. Lindsay and Thomas finished with three wickets each and May with two.

Our chase got off to a poor start with Spratt LBW in the 1st over., but Luke Smith and Finn Nixon-Tomko steadied the ship, adding 61 for the 2nd wicket. Following Finn’s dismissal, Lachlan Stewart and Smith took the score along to 137 and the Bears were cruising. Both lads were in great touch.

Unfortunately Stewart was adjudged LBW for 41 and we lost some momentum. When Smith was run out for a stylish 83 with the score on 163, the game swung the way of the Saints. Although Charlie Rose (23 off 24) fought gamely, the game slipped away with the Bears bowled out for 211 in the 49th over.

On reflection, 4s were second best for most of the day and will need to apply themselves better in the coming rounds to stay in touch with the leading pack.

5th Grade Round 4: UTS North Sydney vs St George at Cahill Park

UTS North Sydney 6/252cc (J Nevell 117, O Jennings 44, NC Hay 36) def St George 229 (S Balbi 3/28, B Revai 3/53)

Another gorgeous morning in Sydney, another hopeful victory for the North Sydney Fifth Grade side. The squad made their way just past the quiet international airport to Cahill Park to take on a tough St George outfit.

The pitch was flat and hard, and with a day of sunshine forecast, captain Alex Perry won the toss and elected to bat, with confidence in the top order. This was not misplaced, as Jennings and Kumar tidily saw off the new ball at 4 an over before Kumar was dismissed for 8. Enter John Nevell. The pair piled on the runs, staying together at the next drinks break to take the Bears to an ominous 1/78. The score progressed to 109 before Jennings was dismissed in the 40s for the second week running, a classy innings again from OJ. As he was joined at the crease by Hay, Nevell continued his onslaught, playing with both power and touch to pass 50, with no signs of slowing down. Hay calmly stroked singles before deciding that was enough was enough and almost broke a car windshield in the car park at the southern end. From here the Bears accelerated, with Nevell edging closer to his maiden grade 100. On 98, a glorious pull shot off a length ball went all the way to the fence, giving the young man the chance to take off his helmet, and soak in the echoing applause of his team mates and spectators.

Hay shortly departed for a well made 36, with the pair putting on 99, taking the score to 208 after 43 overs.

Perry strode to the crease intent on finishing off the innings and setting an imposing total, Nevell continued to stroke his way to 117 before playing across the line and missing one. It was a glorious, chanceless innings, which set up his team for a grand stand finish.

Sellers, on the same wavelength as Perry, made his way out to the centre, and the pair were intent on turning the strike over and cashing in on the bad balls. Sellers got to 12, including a massive bomb, before mis-hitting one down mid on’s throat. Some more dynamic running from Clark and Perry brought the score to 252, setting the Saints a big chase for victory.

Hungry for early wickets, Balbi and Kumar took the new ball with intent, however there was not much luck on this rock solid track. St George battled their way to 60 before losing their first wicket, which fell to returning quick Ben Revai, fresh off the HSC. Rana and Revai toiled away in the tough bowling conditions, keeping St George under the required run rate.

Another frustrating partnership saw St George climb to 132 before Vohra stepped up, trapping their opener in front for 58. From there, the Bears smelt victory, and fought their way back into the game, which was hanging on a knife’s edge. A huge second spell from Kumar, including a key wicket, and a cameo from Hay with the ball, set the stage for a huge last 10 overs, with St George needing 70.

Balbi and Revai bowled extremely well at the death, causing extreme pressure forcing St George into two run outs (Rana and Kumar), as well as a plethora of chances being created, all of which were taken. The Bears ended up rolling the Saints for 229 in the 49th over, which was not reflective of how close the game felt.

Although Nevell was man of the match for his performance with the bat, the team showed great heart, and everyone contributed in their own way, which is extremely promising for the games to come.

Brewer Shield Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Campbelltown at Raby Oval

Campbelltown Camden 5/121 def by UTS North Sydney 3/122 (C Thomas 29*, G Keating 25)

The girls headed out west arriving at Raby oval, it was a perfect cricket day, not too hot with a hint of a cool breeze blowing across the ground. There was an air of excitement as we were ready to take on Campbelltown, who were just one spot above us on the ladder. We continued with our statistical anomaly by losing another toss and this record-breaking team may just be chasing down another record!

Campbelltown, after winning the toss, elected to bat first. Mabel Oxenham our resident spin queen, opened the bowling and got us off to a great start, going 0/4 of her first 2 overs. Lucy Warren then did what we have struggled to do for weeks and clean bowled one of the openers in the fourth over, finishing her first spell at 1/11 off 2 overs. Unfortunately, again we struggled with our lines against the left and right handed batting combination and were unable to take more wickets as we leaked a few boundaries and let Campbelltown back into the match finishing the first 10 at 1/58.

We were then a little up and down in the back half of the innings, but Zoey Ridgway picked up a runout with a throw from keeper hitting the stumps at the bowler’s end, and Grace Keating followed this up a few overs later with a caught and bowled. Liz Buckley then ran out the troublesome left-handed opening batsman (44) who had caused so much grief with a pinpoint throw from the boundary. Charlotte Moss was the pick of the bowlers with 1/8 off 3 overs and, after a sharp catch from Grace at short cover, the innings ended at 5/121. Although improving, we again struggled a little with our fielding positions, with consecutive no balls for overloading the leg side and then three behind square on the leg side.

A last-minute change to the batting order saw Liz (11) open with Caity Thomas (29* still yet to get out this season). The girls started the innings with some great intent with some loose bowling and great running between the wickets seeing the girls take 12 byes and finishing the first 5 overs at 0/36. The girls stayed on target throughout the first 10 overs, reaching the halfway point at 2/61. Lucy Warren (6) then pushed a little hard at one and holed out just as she was getting started. Caity, who had batted so strongly early, then hit a rough patch with the fielders really picking up the intensity and cutting of the singles, Grace Keating came to the crease in the 10th over and really pushed the run rate with a quick fire 25 off 28 balls.

Despite this, the run rate had slowed and with 2 overs left we needed 17 runs. This was looking like a bridge too far until Zoey Ridgway announced her arrival. Still new to the crease but realising the predicament, Zoey opened her shoulders and went for it and, after a couple of agricultural swings early, she got her in eye and pounded two boundaries in the 19th. This left us needing 4 runs to win in the last over, and the girls picked those up in the first 2 balls with a no ball hit with 2 runs and then a single to see the Bears take their first win of the season.

Congratulations to the girls on their well-deserved victory. They have improved each week with both bat and ball, and we are looking forward to seeing how they fare once we hit the 50 over matches.

Kingsgrove T20 Cup Round 8: UTS North Sydney v Sydney at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 8/132cc (R Aitken 43* (35), M Alexander 31 (22)) def by Sydney 3/133 (16.4 overs) (M Jenkins 2/31)

After a strong performance in the PGs warm up game, hopes were high of a repeat performance against arguably the best short form team in the country at Premier Cricket level.

The toss was won and all that was needed was a strong batting performance to put the reigning national T20 champions under some pressure. Alas, this wasn’t to be with new opener Aiden Bariol out in the first over. Brent Atherton quickly followed in the second over to leave the Bears reeling at 2/2. They say that it is very tough to win a T20 after losing two early wickets. Well the task got even harder with both Tim Reynolds and Jake Hardy falling in overs four and five leaving the Bears 4/19.

Tom Jagot, who had watched the carnage from the other end, was joined by Jack James and the pair commenced a rebuild, moving the score to 38 before Jagot was dismissed. James played aggressively, reaching 17 off 14 before he too was dismissed with the Bears in deep trouble at 6/45. Enter the club’s most experienced player in Robbie Aitken who continued to stay positive despite losing James and then Mac Jenkins a few overs later. At 7/70 after 13 overs there was Rob, two Alexanders and Campbell to bat. The next six of those overs saw Aitken and Matt Alexander (31 off 22) dominate the Sydney attack in a partnership of 55 for the eighth wicket.

James Campbell came in at #10 in the 20th over after Matt’s dismissal, but did not get an opportunity to swing in anger as Aitken picked up three twos from the last three balls to reach 43* off 35 balls and UTS North Sydnety had reached a respectable 8/132 – but surely not enough against such a powerful batting line up.

Jack James (0/14 off 3) opened the bowling, going for just two runs off his first over, before the Sydney batsmen showed our boys how it is done, reaching 45 without loss from the first five. However, in the sixth over, the crowd on the hill went nuts when Sam Alexander (1/10 off 2) took the key wicket of Justin Mosca. The wicket was Sam’s 50th for the club since joining two seasons ago. Mac Jenkins got in on the action removing the other opener with the first ball of his spell to have Sydney 2/72 after 9. Jenkins also removed the dangerous Eskinazi to finish the game with 2/31 (4 overs). In the end Sydney cruised to victory mid way through the 16th over. A special mention must go to Jack Thomas who stepped up to sub field for Jake Hardy who is another in a long list of players with injuries and niggles at the club.

Poidevin-Gray Shield Round 4: UTS North Sydney vs Sydney at Tunks International Sports Park

UTS North Sydney 6/137 (19.1 Overs) (JN James 60 (61), J Hardy 28 (21)) def Sydney 4/136 (M Jenkins 2/56)

Back to one of the great grounds of Premier Cricket, the PGs boys turned up to Tunks Park knowing they needed a win to remain within reach of the top four. In short, the season was on the line.

Captain Aiden Bariol won the toss and elected to bowl, seeking another good T20 bowling performance to set the scene for a comfortable chase, similar to our first match against Randy-Petes. Savage and Jenkins opened up with a tight couple of overs before the pressure became too much for Sydney’s opener with Whyte taking the first, getting the Bears off to a good start. From there, a couple of good sticks consolidated and batted well as our spinners, Jenkins, James and Knox, went to work – rarely leaking a boundary throughout the middle overs. Some quick wickets at the end from some good death bowling, particularly Fletcher May and Mac Jenkins, helped keep the total to 4/136 – a total we were confident in chasing. Special mention to Nick Hay who came on to the field due to an injury and fielded his backside off, restricting plenty of runs on the fence and taking a good catch.

Jack James kickstarted the chase with good aggression, targeting the areas without any fielders in sight. Unfortunately, Reynolds and Bariol came and went, which left the Bears under the pump with the game threatening to go either way. Needing some sort of a partnership to keep us in the game, James and new batsmen Jake Hardy came together to put on a crucial 52 runs to take us within 32 runs of the total. It was especially good to see Hardy (28) start to play with the freedom that we know he plays with at his destructive best. The same goes to James who played aggressively without any fear of getting out which saw him score a run-a-ball 60, perfectly playing the role which was needed by his team. Lacking the clinical finish that would have been ideal, a few wickets and run-a-ball scores under 10 left a few of us on the edge of our seats before May steadied the ship with Jenkins, who sealed the win on the first ball of the last over with a fine sweep for two.

Overall, it was good for the PGs boys to come back strongly with a win after our disappointing last display against St George. We’re still in the hunt for a finals place but will need to win our last two games against a couple of teams ahead of us at the moment to guarantee it.

Women's Third Grade Round 6: UTS North Sydney v Bankstown at O’Neil Park

UTS North Sydney 6/64 (A Dongre 26) def by Bankstown 5/115

After our win last week we were scheduled to play the same team again, this time at their home ground at O'Neill Park in Yagoona.

Bankstown would not underestimate us again and they came out with a much more polished bowling attack from their younger players, bowling incredibly good line and length throughout the match, in much the same way we did to them last week. Our openers braced themselves against a fearsome attack, with Evelyn McKay falling early and Tilly Kingsmill digging deep to hold them out - scoring only 1 run off her first 19 balls faced! Even Anushka Dongre at #3, who batted faster than run-a-ball last week, was only on 6 off 15 balls faced, such was the stranglehold Bankstown managed to put on us. When Tilly retired on 12, Sherrie Elliott did well to rotate the strike and steal quick singles before falling on 5, bringing returning captain Hetti Blackburn to the crease. Hetti is known for powerful shots and fast scoring, but found the going as tough as the rest, scoring only 5 off 9. With Anushka eventually making a fine 26 and the others not troubling the scorers, we finished on only 64 runs. We knew that probably wasn't enough, but, showing great character, we took to the field for a determined fight and showed no signs of waning energy or withering smiles.

Urzana Ghalliady, Anushka Dongre and Anjali d'Cunha opened well with the ball, keeping the score to only 1/26 after 7 overs, with Anjali especially getting a great deal of swing and taking out their #2 with a fantastic yorker. However, Bankstown settled well, passing our score in the 13th over, but not before Jillian Edwards picked up a 'bowled' against her name. The match continued in pursuit of bonus points - Evelyn McKay earned herself a great stumping off Sherrie Elliott's bowling, Anushka picked up yet another run out with fine fielding from square leg, and Hetti Blackburn held onto a nice catch to give Urzana a well-deserved wicket. It was fantastic to also see Lara Eastman have a go, bowling her first over at this level - all about building experience.

The game ended with happy smiling faces on both sides - Bankstown satisfied with their revenge and UTS North Sydney recognising the power of incredibly good bowling. Our team continues to love their cricket and develop their skills in every match and training session and it's very pleasing to hear players say "if only the game was a bit longer, we could all have done more" ... perfect timing as we switch into the 40-over format after Christmas!


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