Manly-Warringah are the early front runners after two rounds, but a number of teams are keeping pace, as the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket heads into round three this weekend.
On Saturday, the ladder leaders will host local rivals North Sydney to start the two-day match. In a blow for the home side, Australian spinner Stephen O’Keefe has been ruled out with a broken finger and could be on the sidelines for some time.
However, Jay Lenton will make a welcome return to the side after being released from the New South Wales JLT Cup squad.
The men from the Northern Beaches currently maintain a slight one point advantage over the competition courtesy of a bonus point victory against Penrith in round 1.
Bowling has been the key to their opening two victories with the captain showing the way. Chris Green has taken six wickets at an average of just 8.8, including 5-42 against his former team, Northern District last weekend.
North Sydney will be seeking to break their duck, hoping captain Justin Avendano can continue his consistency with the bat. Avendano averages 40 at the crease so far this season and is coming off a half-century on Wednesday night for the Sydney Sixers Academy, who went down to the Thunder Academy in a practice match.
There are five teams which trail Manly-Warringah by the solitary point. Among the chasing pack are the defending champions, Sydney University.
The students set the foundation for a comprehensive first innings win against Blacktown, in round two, thanks to an outstanding performance by the top order.
Both Ben Trevor-Jones, 144, and Damien Mortimer, 107, spent plenty of time in the middle during that match along with James Larkin (96). All three batsmen will be key wickets for the Western Suburbs attack this round.
The addition of New South Wales Blue’s opener, Nick Larkin, will add even further strength to the Sydney University side, as he prepares for his first match back from injury. The very talented Devlin Malone also joins the eleven for the fixture at Pratten Park.
Another of the two teams in the top six are Campbelltown-Camden and Sydney, who play each other at Raby Oval.
Since returning to the Ghosts this season, captain Jarrad Burke has certainly made his presence felt. Burke is the early leader for most wickets in the competition, taking ten scalps, equal with Sydney University’s Tim Ley. He has also been vital in the middle-order, scoring a crucial 61 not out against Fairfield-Liverpool, guiding his team home in a tight contest.
Fellow new recruit, Philip Wells, is another batsman in form for Campbelltown-Camden. Consecutive scores of 89 and 82 at No. 3 would suggest that he will be top of mind for the Sydney bowlers.
Sydney will be likewise full of confidence after taking honours in the first innings against Hawkesbury. Matt Rodgers, 178, was central to the win, as the Tigers chased down 342.
Sixth spot on the ladder is currently occupied by Randwick Petersham after wins against North Sydney and Mosman respectively.
They travel south-west to play Fairfield-Liverpool, who have had a solid start to the season, despite only posting the one win. A first round win against UNSW kicked things off in fine style, and the team was far from disgraced in their loss to the Ghosts.
Luke Ohrynowsky will be the batsman that Randwick Petersham will be hoping to remove early on, after a big hundred (141) in the last round. The No. 4 for Fairfield-Liverpool currently averages 99.5.
Randwick Petersham’s Jason Sangha will also be full of confidence off the back of his maiden First Grade century, an unbeaten 162 against Mosman last Saturday. Daniel Sams will lead the attack for the visitors. He is in good form, taking seven wickets at 14.4 from his opening two matches in the top grade.
Mosman’s Scott Rodgie has not only been leading the way as captain this season, but also the run-scorers for the competition with 290 runs, featuring back-to-back centuries and being dismissed just once. He will be eager to continue in that vein when the Whales take on Sutherland at Allan Border Oval.
Wicketkeeper Michael Stretton makes his return for Bankstown as captain against St George for his opening match of the season, adding some more depth to the line-up. New South Wales Blues’ paceman Trent Copeland will again skipper his club as they look for their second win.
In the other matches, Blacktown play St George at Joe McAleer Reserve; Hawkesbury host Eastern Suburbs; Northern District are at home to Gordon; and UNSW are away to Parramatta.
FIRST GRADE TEAMS:
10:30am Saturdays 14 & 21 October 2017
Blacktown v St George at Joe McAleer Reserve.
Blacktown: Daya Singh (c), Jake Fawcett, Nicholas Watkins, Kurt Niess, Dean Crawford, Gabriel Joseph, Nathan Hinton, George Greenway, Usman Butt, Daniel Nicotra, Timothy Doonan.
St George: Nicholas Stapleton (c), Matthew Hopkins, Blake Macdonald, Jonathan Rose, Luke Bartier, Chris MacDougal, Dylan Smith, Adam Whatley, Matthew Lacey, Andrew Walsh, Oscar Oborn-Corby, Trent Copeland.
Campbelltown-Camden v Sydney at Raby Oval 1.
Campbelltown-Camden: Jarrad Burke (c), Philip Wells, Aaron Yabsley, Jaydyn Simmons, Jordan Browne, Nathan Baker, Mitchell Carruthers, Luke Webb, Samuel Skelly, Iain Carlisle, Oliver Pope.
Sydney: Harry Dalton (c), Justin Mosca, Matt Rodgers, Anthony Mosca, Matthew Pasternatsky, Ryan Felsch, Beau McClintock, Benjamin Manenti, Nicholas Bills, Alex Glendenning, Ryan Corns, Tom Ortiz, Delray Rawlins.
Fairfield-Liverpool v Randwick Petersham at Rosedale Oval.
Fairfield-Liverpool: Harmon Sandhu (c), Damien Aviet, Jeremy Cashman, Anthony Clark, Wendel Delpechitra, Viraj Kadam, Luke Ohrynowsky, Chad Sammut, Raveesh Srivastava, Vishal Vuppalapati, Russell Wilcoxon, Liam Hatcher.
Randwick Petersham: Alexander Kemp (c), Shaun Eaton, Anthony Sams, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Adam Semple, Francois Neser, Riley Ayre, Kushaal Ram, Soumil Chhibber, Joshua Bohannon.
Hawkesbury v Eastern Suburbs at Owen Earle Oval.
Hawkesbury: Jay Dyball (c), Pat Lawrence, Joshua Clarke, Abdul Hameed Kherkhah, Dale Mckay, Toby Flynn-Duncombe, Luke Courtney, Ryan Mizzi, Corey Lowe, Jordan Gauci, Jaskaran Cheema.
Eastern Suburbs: Gregory Clarence (c), Ian Moran, Jason Ralston, Peter Lazarus, Will Simpson, George Furrer, Samuel Doggett, Baxter Holt, William Somerville, Jack Preddey, Angus Robson.
Manly-Warringah v North Sydney at Manly Oval.
Manly-Warringah: Chris Green (c), Adam Crosthwaite, James Crosthwaite, Ryan Farrell, Taylor Beatty, Michael Visser, Jack Edwards, Matthew Alexander, Jay Lenton, Ahillen Beadle, Joseph Graham.
North Sydney: Justin Avendano (c), James Newton, Ryan Van Kemenade, Benjamin Bryant, Anjan Oberai, James Campbell, Oliver Knight, Niranjan Naguleswaran, Glenn Aitken, Tim Reynolds, Patrick Lindsay.
Mosman v Sutherland at Allan Border Oval.
Mosman: Scott Rodgie (c), Anthony Adlam, Danul Dassanayake, Patrick Pisel, Varun George, Matthew Day, Kurt Neely, Nicholas White, Jake Turner, Nathan Doyle, Sam Sykes
Sutherland: Chris Williams (c), Jarryd Biviano, Shane Watson, Jamie Brown, Tom Doyle, Peter Saroukos, Austin Waugh, Daniel Rixon, Jake Wilson, Tom Pinson, Jayden Brown.
Northern District v Gordon at Mark Taylor Oval.
Northern District: Andrew Harriott (c), Jonathan Whealing, Tom Felton, Henry Hunt, Jonte Pattison, Daniel Anderson, Chad Soper, Ross Pawson, Lachlan Ford, Aaron Bills, Taylor Scott
Gordon: Steve Colley (c), Harry Evans, Elliot Richtor, Cameron Eccles, Axel Cahlin, Ashley Doolan, Tym Crawford, Daniel Smith, James Kennedy, Matthew Parkinson, Matthew Junk.
Parramatta v UNSW at Old Kings Oval.
Parramatta: Nicholas Bertus (c), William Affleck, Trent Crittenden, Owen Simonsen, Timothy Ward, Brenton Cherry, Ben Martin, Adam Turrell, Ben Abbott, Scott Copperfield, Bradley Taylor.
UNSW: David Dawson (c), James Henry, Joseph Byrnes, Nicholas Selman, Nicholas Walker, Jack Scriven, Rico du Plessis, Marcus Atallah, Hayden McLean, Declan White, Joshua Bennett.
Penrith v Bankstown at Howell Oval.
Penrith: Michael Castle (c), Brent Williams, Luke Hodges, Ryan Hackney, Ryan Smith, Jonathon Sammut, Nick Carruthers, Brenton Loudon, Michael Collins, Jake Wholohan, John DiBartolo.
Bankstown: Michael Stretton(c), Luke Reece, Benjamin Taylor, Nathan McAndrew, Mitch Brown, Ben Le Bas, Daniel Solway, Brendan Smith, Jake Cormack, Wallace Marshall, Kyle Brockley.
Western Suburbs v Sydney University at Pratten Park.
Western Suburbs: Jonathan Cook (c), Alec Baldwin, Isaac Taylor, Nicholas Cutler, James Psarakis, Adrian Isherwood, Ned Eckersley, Sam Pararajasingham, James Shepherd, Darren Bourke, Ayden Brown.
Sydney University: Nicholas Larkin (c), Ben Trevor-Jones, Damien Mortimer, James Larkin, Hayden Kerr, Tim Cummins, Ryan McElduff, Joe Kershaw, Dugald Holloway, Devlin Malone, Ben Joy.