Kurtis Patterson and Sean Abbott were among a host of NSW Blues involved in the first round of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket last weekend and did not miss the opportunity to star for their respective clubs.
It was the perfect preparation for Patterson in the lead-up to Friday’s JLT One-Day Cup opener against Western Australia at the WACA, with the Blues top-order batsman taking no time at all to find his touch.
He was in superior form for St George at Hurstville Oval peeling off 101 runs in a rapid fire innings that lasted just 67 deliveries. His partnership of 170 with opener Mathew Hopkins, who scored 132 himself, was pivotal in setting Hawkesbury a massive target of 338 to win.
Blues captain Moises Henriques chipped in with a very handy 38 from 24 balls. He also picked up 1-36, as Hawkesbury went down by 70 runs despite a valiant knock from Joshua Clarke. Clarke fell just one run short of yet another century, continuing the outstanding form he produced last season where he was the leading run scorer for the competition.
After a season hampered by injury, Sean Abbott also made the best possible start to his season. The Parramatta paceman decimated the Western Suburbs batting order taking 5-15 off six overs to dismiss the Magpies for a disappointing 95. He was ably supported by his opening bowling partner Scott Copperfield who took 3-22.
If that wasn’t enough, Abbott then also led the way with the bat, top-scoring with 44 not out to seal the bonus point victory for Parramatta by five wickets.
Charlie Stobo was another of the NSW Blues contracted players involved in fixtures on Saturday to produce a stand-out performance, but not in the way perhaps many may have expected.
The Gordon fast bowler opened his season’s account with the tidy figures of 1-40, as the defending champions Sydney University set the visitors 298 to take first round honours at Sydney University Oval. Liam Robertson was a key contributor for the students with 102 from 84 balls.
Yet it was with the bat that Stobo almost became the hero. Despite being 8/188 at one stage, the number 9 batsman gave his side a glimmer hope. He blistered 71 from 51 deliveries, to remain unbeaten, as Gordon fell agonisingly eight runs short of the target.
Gurinder Sandhu also started the season in terrific form returning figures of 4-26, leading his side, Fairfield-Liverpool, to a 27-run win over UNSW at Alan Davidson Oval. Fellow Blues squad member, Doug Bollinger, was equally economical but could not add to the wickets column with figures of 0-29.
Jarrad Burke and Phillip Wells were both making their first appearances for Campbelltown-Camden after transferring from last season’s runners-up Bankstown during the off-season. Both made very valuable contributions against Sutherland.
The Ghosts posted 7/261 from their 50 overs with Wells setting the tone, scoring 89 at number 3, and Burke providing some rapid runs in the middle order with 49 from 43 balls.
It might have looked like a target that was well within reach for Sutherland, but Burke changed all that. The captain brought all of his experience and guile to the fore as he spun a web at Raby, taking 6-16 at a miserly rate of about two an over. It was the 13th occasion Burke had taken five wickets or more in an innings. One of his victims included former Australian opener Shane Watson, who was caught by Wells for a first ball duck. The haul guided Campbelltown-Camden to victory by 90 runs.
This match was also notable for the First Grade debut of Austin Waugh, son of legendary Australian captain Steve. Although Waugh missed out with the bat, he took his maiden wicket in the top grade, finishing with figures of 1-42 and two catches.
In the match between Eastern Suburbs and Northern District at Coogee Oval, both sides were littered with NSW and Australian representatives with the home team prevailing.
Northern District batted first and set a total of 6/276 for the visitors to chase down. Opener Henry Hunt was the anchor for the away side with 114 during a stay of more than three hours at the crease. Andrew Harriott (89) passed 4000 runs for his career at an average of 38.64. Blues spinner Will Somerville and quick Harry Conway were wicketless for Easts.
It was then up to Australian Test players Peter Nevill and Nic Maddinson to get the team off to a good start which is exactly what they did. Nevill, 62, and Maddinson, 49 from 39 balls, combining in an opening partnership of 83 to provide the base from which centurion Ian Moran launched. He hit 113 not out to bring up his 18th century and earn an emphatic eight wicket victory for Eastern Suburbs. Nathan Lyon returned figures of 0-49 on a less than ideal day for the record breaking Australian off-spinner.
In other results, Mosman defeated Bankstown by six wickets at Bankstown Oval with Scott Rodgie scoring 126 for the Whales; keeper-batsman Jake Fawcett scored 116 for Blacktown in a six wicket loss to Sydney; Manly-Warringah defeated Penrith by seven wickets with one bonus point and Randwick-Petersham won their match against North Sydney by three wickets with eight balls to spare at Coogee Oval.