Day two of the fourth round in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition showed the difference a week could make in the game of cricket.
After what was a dominant display from the batsmen on day one, it was the bowlers who responded strongly amid some tricky conditions that threatened play for most of the day.
The ball did plenty of talking in fourth-grade with a trio of magnificent bowling performances.
Bankstown’s opening bowler Chris Stefanish was the pick of the bowlers. Having claimed figures of 5-15 on day one, Stefanish freakishly bettered his effort the very next week taking 8-31 from 15 overs in a valiant attempt to salvage a result for his side, which fell 15-runs short in the first innings against Gordon. Stefanish already has an impressive 21 wickets to his name this season at a great average of 6.4 runs per wicket.
But Stefanish wasn’t the only bowler to take 8-wickets in an innings. Yushan Gunewardhane from the University of NSW fourth-grade side grabbed eight wickets for 70 runs against Randwick-Petersham at Petersham Oval.
Defending 219 for victory, Gunewardhane got off to the perfect start taking two wickets with the first two deliveries of the innings. There was no stopping the opening bowler, who was keen to put in a strong performance following what has been a difficult season to date for the young quick, failing to find any wickets in the opening three rounds. Gunewardhane’s breakthrough performance set up a comfortable 53-run win.
At the close of play on day one, Ash Squire was the only bowler to take more than five wickets. He since finds himself alongside another seven bowlers who claimed a bagful of wickets in round four. Joel Almond from Sutherland put in a terrific solo effort, taking 7-25 against Fairfield in fourth-grade with all of his dismissals coming in the form of bowled and LBW’s.
Ankur Patel also had seven wickets in Parramatta’s narrow win over Blacktown. With the match going down to the wire, it was Parramatta that scrapped home by just seven runs on the back of Patel’s figures of 7-27 from 24 overs, a result that puts his side on the fringe of the top six.
Two bowlers make up our six-wicket takers for the round. Eastern Suburbs Daniel Donato fourth-grade bowler collected figures of 6-29 from 15 overs in a low scoring affair against Manly-Warringah. Donato’s performance wasn’t enough for the Eastern Suburbs side, unable to defend their small total of 64 from day one, as Manly cruised past to declare on 9-136, 72 runs ahead.
After Randwick-Petersham found themselves on the wrong end a devastating bowling performance by UNSW’s Gunewardhane in fourth-grade, they managed to produce a strong individual bowling performance of their own. Third-grade bowler Nigil Singh produced an efficient and economic spell of bowling to take 6-32 from 24 overs, which also included 14 maidens.
Few batsmen found success on the second day of round four. Fairfield-Liverpool third-grade batsman Varanjit Singh scored an unbeaten 126 not out against Sutherland at Sutherland Oval, helping his side hang on for a draw as Fairfield finished the day 8-281 in reply to Sutherland’s 321.
The other notable centurion of the week went to Sydney Cricket Club’s Nick Govers. Striding out to the crease with his side in big trouble on 6-33, Govers went on the attack blasting 17 fours and a six on his way to 121. More importantly, his team just managed to grind out a draw against the Western Suburbs with only one wicket to spare.
It would be hard not to mention what might well be one of the best games of the season. In the third-grade clash between Sydney University and Hawkesbury at Camperdown Oval, Sydney Uni batted first and declared at 9-209 from 53 overs.
Hawkesbury had victory in sight at 3-202, but no one could predict the chaos that followed. Hawkesbury’s set batsman Scott Baldwin was removed for 64, which started a monumental collapse as the students took the last seven wickets for just seven runs to see the two sides finish in a tie and split the points.
Round five of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition is another two-day match will commence on Saturday at 10:30 am for second-grade and 12:15 pm for third, fourth and fifth-grade.