by David Gavin
The batsmen were in their element on Saturday in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket with five centuries and one double century from an in-form Blues opener wreaking havoc on the bowlers, yet one spinner certainly stood out.
A number of NSW Blues returned for the second week of round three fixtures and Daniel Hughes continued his fantastic run of big scores. He racked up 379 runs at an average of 63.16 during the JLT One-Day Cup campaign – the fourth most runs for the tournament – and turned his first century for his new club into a double.
Coming at first drop for Mosman, the NSW opener sent the ball to the boundary 31 times and cleared it twice on his way to 203 not out from 234 balls, dashing the hopes of Sutherland in the process. The next best score was Anthony Adlam with 45. Hughes’ highest First Grade score contributing to a comprehensive first innings victory to send the Whales into the top six.
The all-round performance of the day belonged to Chris Green, who added another three wickets to his tally from last week, to finish with the outstanding figures of 7-64 which was then backed that up by 69 not out, to give his team a chance of outright victory. The haul took him to 14 wickets for the season, equal leading wicket taker for the competition with Jarrad Burke.
After dismissing North Sydney for 233 early on, Manly-Warringah found themselves in trouble at 4-119 before Green and Jack Edwards (64 not out) arrived at the crease to steady the ship. The Northern Beaches club declared at 4/236 and left themselves just under 30 overs to grab an invaluable 10 points.
However, Ben Bryant (55 not out) and Justin Avendano (39) helped guide the Bears to 3/109 to ensure they avoided the outright loss. The win sent Manly to top of the table, one point ahead of Eastern Suburbs after its first innings win over Hawkesbury.
The home side would have been confident of at least achieving a draw against Eastern Suburbs, but another two Blues had something to say about that. Jordan Gauci (84) and Corey Lowe (81), both scored half centuries, yet once they were dismissed, Hawkesbury fell apart, losing 5 wickets for 48 runs.
Samuel Doggett was the major destroyer taking 6-80 for the visitors before Peter Nevill (130 not out) and Nic Maddinson (94) went to work. The pair combining for a 178-run opening stand, to set up a first innings win, achieved at a rate of five runs per over. Easts finishing the day 4/333 with NSW Blue Arjun Nair picking up 3-112 from 24 overs for Hawkesbury.
Sean Abbott demonstrated his all-round capabilities in fine style against UNSW. He was the equal third leading wicket taker for the JLT Cup with 12 wickets, and cleaned up the tail on Saturday with 3-1, to dismiss the students for 351. Although, it was his bat that did all the talking.
Batting at no. 5, Abbott scored 102 in an innings which included 10 fours and two sixes. It was his maiden First Grade century, and highest score at this level, surpassing his previous best of 91 not out made in a T20 fixture last season. Wicketkeeper and captain, Nick Bertus, also made a valiant 87 at no. 3, going down by 68 runs on the first innings. Josh Bennett (3-64) and Marcus Atallah (3-76) were the best of the bowlers for the students.
Despite the best endeavours of Ryan Gibson, Penrith were all out for 254 against Bankstown falling 25 runs short. The NSW representative scored an unbeaten 105 for the Panthers coming in at the unusual spot of number nine. The knock rescuing his team from what was a potentially very embarrassing defeat, as it slumped to 7/118 after being 6/72 at stumps the previous Saturday. The wickets were shared amongst the Bulldogs’ bowlers with Ben Le Bas the most impressive returning 2-47 from 22 overs. McAndrew (2-27), Brown (2-48) and Taylor (2-5) also fared well with the ball.
Henry Hunt was another to make a century posting his highest score for the season along the way (160 not out). Gordon earlier set Northern District a significant task declaring at 5/329 led by its captain, Steve Colley, who fell ten short of his second First Grade century (90). It was then Hunt who was the talisman greatly assisting the hosts to 7/327 by stumps. Daniel Anderson (79) was also key in that batting effort with Matthew Parkinson taking 3-115 for the visitors.
St George recovered from 1-8 at the start of play to claim first innings points by six wickets over Blacktown, as Matthew Hopkins (121) starred for the Saints. It was his second century for the season to take his aggregate to 262 at an average of 131. The next best was Blake McDonald with 69 and Kurtis Patterson also pitched in with another half-century (50).
In other matches, Campbelltown-Camden drew with Sydney (J Burke 87no, J Browne 53, B Manenti 5-63); Western Suburbs scored 4/258 to upset Sydney University on the first innings (N. Cutler 73no, A Baldwin 69); and Fairfield-Liverpool likewise defeated Randwick Petersham who were bowled out for 244 (J Hughes 83, P Uppal 5-80, G Sandhu 3-34).