The McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket competition continued to produce magnificent individual performances across the lower grades. The final two-day match before the Christmas break commenced on Saturday with the first day of play for round six. Both batsmen and bowlers used the last long-form games to bat time and bowl long spells, giving themselves the best chance to compile big scores and take wickets.
None more so than Gordon Cricket Club’s Chris Spratt who scored 150 in third-grade against Parramatta at Merrylands Oval. Having lost an early wicket, Spratt steadied the ship with opening batsman Ryan Tullia (30) with a 69-run partnership for the second wicket. That didn’t deter Spratt from his task of anchoring the innings, which he did to great effect occupying the crease for almost to four hours hitting 12 fours and four maximums.
Michael Roberts was the only other batsman to pass the half-century mark scoring 79 in just over an hour with 11 fours and a six to help Gordon post a total of 332 in 80 overs.
St George’s Matthew Grealy was the next best performer with the bat. Having won the toss and electing to bat first against Bankstown at Jenson Park, the third-grade captain opened the batting and lead his side from the front scoring 135 runs, on to be brought undone by a run-out. At 3-30, St George was in need for someone to grind out a big score, and the captain did just that, facing 193 deliveries in his four-hour stay at the crease in a knock that included 22 fours and a six. Grealy had support from middle-order batsman Jackson Shaw (58) and Joshua Moors (74), who scored his third half-century of the season, which helped the Saints declare on 9-317.
Rounding out the big century makers for the week is Matthew Calder from the Randwick-Petersham Cricket Club. The middle-order batsman scored 132 runs in his second-grade match against Penrith at Petersham Oval with 18 fours and cleared the boundary on six occasions. Calder was going toe-to-toe with his opening batsman and wicketkeeper Matthew Everett who also reached triple figures scoring 112. The pair came together with the score 3-58 and took complete control of the match piling on 206 runs for the fourth wicket. Both batsmen, unfortunately, fell in relatively quick succession but the damage was done as the home side dismissed in the 88th over for 308.
On the bowling front, it was Parramatta’s Matthew Drinnan who took the honours on the opening day of round six. The first-change bowler had figures of 6-37 from his ten overs, helping dismiss Gordon for 183 in fourth-grade at Killara Oval. Parramatta found batting equally as tricky, finishing play on 4-41 and still requiring 143-runs for victory with six wickets in hand.
In second-grade, North Sydney’s Harjit Singh made the most of his home conditions at Bon Andrews Oval against the University of New South Wales. Singh picked up 6-52 from his 23 over spell while also stringing together ten maidens to help keep his economy rate below 2.5 runs an over, which is quite an impressive feat in itself at Bon Andrews Oval. University of New South Wales opening batsman Danny Bhandari was up to the task scoring 106 for the away side before Singh eventually dismissed him. North Sydney capped off a great day in the field finishing the day on 1-41 from 14 overs in response to UNSW’s 239.
North Sydney also had another six-wicket taker on the opening day of round six. Fellow clubman Travis McKenna replicated Harjit Singh’s performance in third-grade taking 6-63 from 22.2 overs at David Philips South. It was the opening bowler’s second five-wicket haul of the season and now has 17 wickets to his name at an average of 20.5.
Sydney Cricket Club’s Ash Squire continued his remarkable season thus far. The second-grader took yet another five-wicket haul on Saturday against second-place Sydney University. Squire ran through the middle and lower order on his way to 5-24 from his 17.4 overs. His superb performance was his third-consecutive five-wicket haul and his fourth of the season. Squire now has an excellent 25 wickets making him the highest wicket-taker across the lower grades.
Squire joined by a long list of players who also reached the five-wicket milestone on Saturday. Those players are:
Second-grade: Daniel Friedrich 5-62 (Northern-District), Max McNamara 5-64 (Penrith) and Tony Clark 5-65 (Blacktown);
Third-grade: Cain Brewer 5-46 (Fairfield-Liverpool);
Fourth-grade: Paul Witherly 5-29 (St George);
Fifth-grade: Mark Wall 5-33 (Randwick-Petersham) and Venkatachalam Viswanathan 5-35 (Hawkesbury).
Day-two of round six in the McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket competition will begin on Saturday at 10:30 am for second-grade and 12:15 pm for third, fourth and fifth-grade.