by Andrew Deitz
Overcast and wet weather conditions produced mixed results across the lower grades on day one of round three in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket.
Some brilliant individual batting performances helped overshadow a difficult weekend for some teams with five teams across the grades dismissed for less than 100.
The highlight batting performance this week went to Bankstown’s third-grade captain Iain Ridley. Batting at four, Ridley was called into the action early after Penrith picked up two early wickets to have the away side 2-7 at Bill Ball Oval. With only one teammate scoring more than 20, Ridley led from the front scoring 169 in a knock that featured 14 fours and a trio of sixes to see Bankstown post a respectable total of 260 from 79.1 overs.
Despite only 48 overs being played on a rain-affected day at Bensons Lane, Eastern Suburbs fifth-grade batsman Darcy Matthews scored a quick-fire 144 not out against Hawkesbury. The damaging number three batsman hit 16 fours and a six to have the away side in a commanding position at 4-251 at the close of play.
Rounding out this weekends batting performance is Suffan Hassan from the Sydney Cricket Club. The second-grade batsman scored an impressive 125 against a strong Campbelltown-Camden side who are undefeated after the first two rounds of the competition. Supporting the middle-order batsman were captain Daniel Jacob (54) and Tristen McDonald (63) who continued his impressive start to the season scoring 268 runs at an average of 89.3 after three innings. Sydney declared on 6-331 and claimed two wickets late in the day to leave Campbelltown-Camden 2-11 at stumps.
Some bowlers across the grades made the most of their bowler-friendly conditions in the lower grades. Craig Di Blasio took a hat-trick to cap off a tremendous bowling performance for Sydney’s third-grade team against Campbelltown-Camden. At 7-86 Di Blasio’s stunning effort cleaned up the final three wickets to set a total of 87, which was quickly passed in the afternoon to claim first innings points on day one.
The Northern District fifth-grade batting line-up had no answer for Gordon’s Vikrant Nehru who took 6-8 off his seven overs. After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Gordon’s opening bowling pair removed the opening batsmen before Nehru came into the attack to slice through the middle and lower order to dismiss the home side for 97. The performance helped Gordon collect the first innings points finishing with 5-172 at stumps.
Two other bowlers managed to take six wickets a piece on day one of round three. Northern District second-grade bowler Joshua Miller had figures of 6-44 from 8.4 overs to dismiss Gordon for just 96 runs. Miller continued his impressive form from the previous round where he also had figures of 6-28 and already has 15 wickets for the season at an average of 7.3.
The final six-wicket performance also came from the second-grade clash between Bankstown and Penrith at Bankstown Memorial Oval. Winning the toss and asking the home side to bat first, Penrith opening bowler Kaine Balgowan had an immediate impact picking up two wickets with the first two deliveries of the match. Bankstown struggled to build any partnerships as the relentless Penrith attack found regular wickets to remove the home side for 92. Their batsman hammered home the advantage to finish play on 9-282 on the back of half-centuries from Cameron Weir (82) and Tyran Liddiard (58 not out).