Lower grades of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket returned to action on Saturday’s Remembrance Day round. Following on from last weekend’s Tibby Cotter round, clubs joined in unity as Premier cricket across the nation stopped to honour the sacrifices made on the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Players were eager to perform on one the most significant days on the nation's calendar, and there was an added incentive for those competing in the second-grade clash between Mosman and Fairfield-Liverpool at Allan Border Oval. Each season the Mosman Cricket Club award the Sergeant Ernest Bennett Trophy for the player of Remembrance Day at Allan Border Oval. Ernest Bennett was a Mosman player and groundsman at Allan Border Oval (then called Mosman Oval) who lost his life in WW1.
Luckily the home side had some worthy contenders in the match. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Mosman was off and running with the opening pair combining for 93 before John Procajlo departed for 58, but the home side showed no sign of slowing. Opening batsman David Lowery continued to devastate the Fairfield-Liverpool attack striking 23 fours and a trio of sixes in his incredible knock of 170, making him the deserved winner of the Sargent Ernest Bennett Trophy.
Lowery’s fellow partner Lachlan Hearne almost miraculously beat his inspiring knock with Lowery’s dismissal putting an end to their 252-run partnership. Despite losing his partner, Hearne continued the onslaught by going on to score 153 runs that included 20 fours and three maximums. After Hearne was removed with Mosman already on an imposing total of 422, the middle order of Michael Bryant (71) and Nicholas McCamley (59) hammered home the advantage to see the home set a near-impossible target of 5-542 from just 82 overs. The Fairfield-Liverpool openers safely navigated the remaining 12 overs to finish the day on 0-36.
At the other end of the spectrum, nothing could separate Gordon and Manly-Warringah in their fourth-grade match at LM Graham Reserve. Gordon could only manage 88 after winning the toss and electing to bat first. But the away side quickly put their batting troubles aside to dismiss Manly for 88 as well. Both sides will take home three points apiece if there is no result in the second innings, but whichever team can gain the edge needed to win outright will walk away with a useful eight points leaving their victims with just two competition points.
Moving on to this week’s individual performances, four other players made impressive centuries across the lower grades. Manly-Warringah’s Oliver Davies followed up his half-century from last round with a commanding 167 against Gordon at Manly Oval. With 13 fours and eight sixes, it only took 174 deliveries for the NSW Metro U/17 captain to compile his score, while also receiving support from wicketkeeper Aiden Bariol who posted 52 to help the home side reach 321.
The Manly attack struck early to put the home side in a dominant position at the close of play. They made good use of the 12 overs remaining before stumps, taking six wickets for just 33 runs on the back of Nick McLachlan (3-10), Joel Foster (2-14), and Jake Carden (1-9).
Four other batsmen scored centuries in second-grade on Remembrance Day. Nicky Craze from Sydney University held firm with wickets falling around him to score 129. His patient knock came from 259 deliveries, and with healthy contributions from the tail end helped lift the student to 281 runs.
Sydney Cricket Club’s Tristen McDonald scored his second century of the season against St George. His teammates capitalised on his innings of 120 at the top of the order, with Suffan Hassan (113) and Matthew Pasternatsky (105 not out) also reaching the milestone in their team’s total of 4-410.
Sydney’s Stephen King also passed the 120 mark with his innings of 124 in third-grade. Striding out to the middle with his side 5-107, King’s counter-attack got the Tigers past the 300 mark at Harold Fraser Reserve with the help of Nicholas Taylor (64) and Marlon Rodrigo (73) who both went past 50.
With the ball, it was Western Suburbs’ fifth-grade captain Dominic Marsh who collected the best figures for the weekend. His performance of 5-32 from 19 overs is his second five-wicket haul in as many matches, restricting the Northern-District side to 134. Northern District responded with a five-wicket haul of their own. Fourth-grader Jack Straw claimed figures of 5-82 in his marathon 29 over spell.
Fourth-grade was also the competition, which veteran Rodney Stafford picked up his five wickets. Stafford used 19 overs to claim 5-37 against the winless Blacktown side at Jim Hanshaw Oval.
Hawkesbury’s Pakistani import Salman Irshad has produced impressive figures of 5-46 on Premier Cricket debut against UNSW.
Irshad, who hails from the mountains in the Inner Himalayan region, was discovered during the Lahore Qalandars talent identification trials. Reported to consistently bowl at 144kph, his unique bowling action is said to resemble that of Pakistani fast bowling legend, Waqar Younis.
Defending just 220 at David Philips South, Irshad’s efforts have made for a tight finish in next weekend’s action with UNSW still needing 31-runs to win with only three wickets in hand.
The final five-wicket taker for the week was Manly-Warringah’s Glyn Archer. Opening the bowling for his fifth-grade side against Gordon, Archer put together an economical spell of bowling to take 5-59 off a lengthy 25 overs.