by Andrew Deitz
Round three of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket came to an end on Saturday, and it was the bowlers who continued to shine across the lower-grades with nine 5 or more wicket performances coming from the Fifth Grade competition.
The highlight of the weekend has to go to Sydney Cricket Club bowler Ryan Corns. After his fellow clubman Craig Di Blasio picked up an hat-trick in third-grade against Campbelltown, Corns went one better, going on to take an impressive double hat-trick at Birchgrove Oval.
Having not picked up a wicket from his two appearances of the season in the first-grade side, Corns returned to form in second-grade finishing with figures of 5-36 from 15.5 overs to wrap up a convincing 185 run win.
In what was an uncomfortable weekend for many batsmen across the lower-grades there was one particularly impressive performance. Manly fifth-grade opening batsman Dominic Wheeler posted a mammoth 167 not out against their cross-town rivals North Sydney.
Finishing day one with the score 0-164, Wheeler went on a relentless charge on a quest to find quick runs and to give his bowlers the best chance to take ten wickets in a rain-affected game. Wheeler took just ten overs to double his overnight score of 88, blasting 21 fours and three sixes to lift his side to 1-267 from 63 overs.
The Manly bowlers successfully capitalised on their dominant position, dismissing North Sydney for 176 thanks mainly to opening bowler Glyn Archer who took 6-33. The result has placed Manly inside the top six on the table after three rounds.
UNSW third-grade Aditya Ramakrishnan also had a standout performance with the ball in his clash with Parramatta. Defending 177 for victory, opening bowler Ramakrishnan collected figures of 7-83. But it wasn’t enough for the students Parramatta went on to post 243 in reply to claim victory.
There were another three bowlers added to the list of six-wicket takers from the first day of play. Vikrant Nehru’s figures of 6-8 for Gordon on day one were matched by his teammate Aaron Crofts who took 6-35 from 17 overs in the second innings of their match against Northern District. The back-to-back six-wicket performances gave Gordon an outright win, which has seen them skyrocket to the top of the fifth-grade ladder on 23 points.
The final six-wicket haul of the round went to Western Suburbs fifth-grade captain Dominic Marsh. Defending just 153 runs, Marsh led from the front taking 6-35 from 20 overs. It proved to be a match-winning performance for his side that won by only two runs in a nail-biting finish, picking up their first competition points for the season in the process.
Round four is another two-day fixture that will commence on Saturday at 10:30 am for second-grade and 12:15 pm for the third, fourth and fifth-grade competitions.