Christmas came early for numerous players in the lower grades of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition on Saturday in what was the final round of 2017.
At Chatswood Oval in second-grade, Gordon made full use of North Sydney’s decision to bowl first.
Batting at three, Gordon’s Jamie Bekis scored 127 with 13 fours and two sixes. His partnership of 112 with Reagan Klemt placed the home side in a strong position down the stretch.
The lower order used it to full effect even after Bekis departure contributing with quick cameos to close out their teams’ innings of 8-308.
North Sydney was against the odds from the outset, and the result was all but sealed when they slumped to 5-75 in reply, with Gordon running away with a 100-run win.
Sydney University’s Nicky Craze lit up the show with a spectacular 162 not out against Fairfield-Liverpool in second-grade.
Video highlights https://youtu.be/by2r_I-2xmQ
Having won the toss and electing to bat first Sydney University battled hard to set a strong foundation for their innings, but losing wickets at difficult times prevented them from building significant partnerships.
That changed when Alexander Shaw came to the crease. His innings of 43 helped get the students on track. His departure triggered an onslaught from Craze, who managed to clear the fence of the Sydney University Oval on 12 occasions while also picking off eight fours.
At the end of their 50 overs, Sydney University had piled on 5-300 with Craze and James Crowley (11 not out) adding 114 for the 6th wicket, which was enough to secure an 89-run victory.
Our next best batting performer is Bankstown’s fifth-grade opening batsman Harry Brett.
Being asked to bat first by Randwick-Petersham at Kensington Oval, Brett capitalised on the opportunity scoring 117 from 129 balls, striking 12 fours and a six.
Brett also withstood the impressive spell of bowling from Randwick-Petersham’s Alexander Deller who grabbed five of Bankstown’s wickets for 28 runs.
Brett’s hundred extended his recent form with the bat, scoring two centuries and a fifty in his last three matches. Brett’s performance ultimately led to a 43-run win for his side.
Second-grade saw four batsmen score centuries this week. Joining Nicky Craze and Jamie Bekis is Northern District’s David Ball and Sydney’s Matthew Rodgers who both reached the milestone in the same fixture.
Batting first at Mark Taylor Oval, Ball walked out to the middle with Northern District in trouble at 3-30 and opted to go on the offensive with great success as he posted 116 off 109 deliveries with ten fours and four sixes. His counter-attacking partnership with Clayton Waters (77 not out) not only got their side out of trouble but also placed them in a reasonable position to win the contest.
Sydney responded terrifically with Liam Gibson (72) and Matthew Rodgers combining for a 118-run opening stand. When Gibson departed, Rodgers then took the reigns for Sydney’s innings scoring 101 from 127 deliveries. However, the killer blow came when Rodgers was run out in the second last over with 16-runs to win with the remaining batsman only able to find eight runs off the final over to finish 6-runs short of their target.
Two third-graders round out this week’s hundred makers.
Parramatta’s Ameesh Kaul has taken a recent liking to the 50-over format scoring 113 to go along with his 107 not out in fourth-grade last week.
Blacktown’s third-grade wicket-keeper also scored his second century in as many rounds. Having been run out on 99 back in round five, Dhruv Kant has found a way to negotiate the nervous 90’s to post an unbeaten 106 against Hawkesbury, almost equalling his 107 against Eastern Suburbs a week earlier.
The shorter format also presented opportunities for the bowlers in the lower grades.
Jayden Brown from the Northern District claimed figures of 6-28 against Sydney in fourth-grade at Asquith Oval. Brown’s six-wicket haul gifted his side a comprehensive 54-run victory.
Although no one could match Brown’s six wickets for the round, there was however a host of players with five-wickets.
Topping the list was UNSW bowler Gurnoor Singh.
Defending their small total of 97, Singh's incredible figures of 5-16 from ten overs turned the game for his side, but their team dramatically went down to Mosman in the 29th over with just one wicket remaining.
Despite the narrow margin, Mosman claimed a bonus point for reaching the tricky total inside 30 overs.
Hawkesbury had two five-wicket takers for the week. Fourth-grade bowler Bailey Thompson picked up 5-29 from eight overs to dismiss Blacktown for 85 in response to Hawkesbury’s 7-202, enough to secure a bonus point win.
Unsurprisingly, Hawkesbury’s second-grade bowler Salman Irshad features in the lower grade report for his 5-40. It is Irshad’s third five-wicket match in only four appearances in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket Competition. The fast bowler now has 18 wickets for the season at an average of 13.1.