Sydney University have defeated Parramatta in a tense encounter at Old Kings Oval on Sunday to claim the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket Limited-Overs Grand Final by five runs, as the home side fell just short of a successful chase.
It was the students’ sixth First Grade title in the last 10 years. Brother of Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, Tim Cummins, received the Michael Bevan Medal as Player of the Match after a game-defining knock of 121 not out from 100 balls to guide his team to 7/277.
The vital innings by Cummins was made even more special by the fact that it was his maiden First Grade century after 141 innings in 163 matches in the top grade. It surpassed his previous best score of 93 not out.
Parramatta finished its allocated 50 overs 8/272. Brenton Cherry (75) and captain Nick Bertus (68) tried their utmost to get the team over the line, but it wasn’t to be.
The dismissal of Bertus late in the run chase ultimately ended any hope of victory for the hosts.
After qualifying for the quarter finals in fifth position, Sydney University had defied the odds in many respects, not least by winning all three of its finals away from home.
Cummins was simply superb as he struck the ball sweetly to the boundary seven times and over it twice.
The wicketkeeper-batsman said it was quite a surreal feeling.
“You come into these games and just hope you win …. to score a couple of runs, to score a hundred, unbelievable,” Cummins said.
He came to the crease with Sydney University in some trouble at 4/86, and together with Damien Mortimer (71), added 122 for the fifth wicket to put the students in a perfect position to increase the run rate late in the innings.
Cummins said there was a clear plan between the pair from the outset.
“It was just literally to tick the scoreboard over, run hard, get twos and get yourself in and then hopefully in the back end, fill your boots.”
Parramatta opening bowler Jack White took best figures for the match. He claimed 4-58 from his 10 overs.
A positive approach was required right from the start for Parramatta in its pursuit of 278 to win and Ben Abbott provided that, with 15 from 14 balls, until his swift innings was prematurely cut short.
He was bowled by Tim Ley (3-48) and it wasn’t long before Parramatta found itself in a similar position to Sydney University in its innings.
Parramatta was 3/88 in the 22nd over, which brought Cherry to the crease.
Cherry and Bertus put on 124 runs for the fourth wicket, before Cherry was stumped by a good piece of wicketkeeping from Cummins off the bowling of leg-spinner Devlin Malone (2-47).
When Malone struck again shortly after, to leave Parramatta at 5/223 in the 44th over, the momentum created by Cherry and Bertus seemed to have been lost.
Parramatta were behind the required run rate for most of the chase, but with Bertus at the crease and wickets in hand, his team was always a hope.
However, wickets continued to fall towards the latter stages and when Bertus found a fieldsman in the deep in the second last over off the bowling of Ley, desperate to find the boundary, the match had all but been guaranteed for the students.
McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket
New South Wales Blues off-spinner Will Somerville has taken his best figures of the season in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket for Eastern Suburbs in their loss to Parramatta on Saturday, while Campbelltown-Camden have maintained equal first position with a remarkable victory over Mosman.
Somerville claimed 6-87 from 23 overs at Waverley Oval. It was the second-best haul of his First Grade career behind 6-60 against Penrith in 2010-11.
Meantime, Campbelltown-Camden chased down 430 within 82 overs, led by a pivotal century to Mitchell Carruthers (127) at the top of the order. His innings lasted just 139 balls and included 14 fours and four sixes.
The Ghosts now share top place on the ladder with Parramatta.
Parramatta joined Campbelltown-Camden in top spot courtesy of its two-wicket win over Easts.
Despite a magnificent performance from Somerville, it wasn’t enough against Parramatta, who resumed on the second Saturday in some trouble at 3/61 in pursuit of 231 to win.
Parramatta found itself 4/83 early after it lost Brenton Cherry (11). Although, some valuable contributions in the lower order by Ben Abbott (44), Luke Dempsey (41), and Owen Simonsen with a better-than-a-run-a-ball 35 from 29 balls, got the visitors to 8/235 and posted the ninth win of the season for the club.
Seventeen-year-old Lachlan Hearne picked up from where he left off the previous Saturday. He improved on his score of 116 not out adding a further 42 runs to post an incredible 158 not out from 223 balls.
No younger player has scored more runs in a First Grade innings and the innings is equalled by only one other batsman in the history of the competition, which was the great Australian and New South Wales batsman, Archie Jackson.
Jackson scored 158 at 17 years and 69 days for Balmain against Mosman in 1926. Hearne was 17 years and 74 days.
After the Whales chose to continue its innings on the second Saturday and passed the 400 mark to post 8/429 dec, the match appeared destined for a draw.
However, the Ghosts had other ideas. Carruthers was a critical anchor to the successful chase, as various batsmen provided support with valuable contributions scored at a good pace.
Jordan Browne made his highest score of the season. His 76 not out from 92 balls ultimately guided Campbelltown-Camden to the win.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Oliver Pope said goodbye to the Ghosts for the season, with a quick fire 67 from 63 balls, which put the visitors on the front foot in the chase.
Runs from Aaron Yabsley (43), Philip Wells (54), and a brisk 30 from 25 balls by Charlie Dummer down the order, all helped the cause, as Campbelltown-Camden scored in excess of five runs per over and completed an unbelievable victory.
Rookie fast bowler Liam Hatcher (3-71) was another Blues player who produced a good performance, for Fairfield-Liverpool in its narrow two-wicket loss to Northern District.
Captain Andrew Harriott (71) and Lachlan Ford (52 not out) both made half-centuries in the win for the visitors.
Hawkesbury all-rounder Josh Clarke (5-100) collected his first five-wicket haul in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket in a 95-run loss for his team to Western Suburbs.
Wests declared at 9/360 early on the second Saturday and the task proved too difficult for Hawkesbury in the end, as it was bowled out for 265.
Leg-spinner Jonathan Cook added to his excellent season with another three scalps. The Magpies’ captain took 3-61 from 28 overs. Adrian Isherwood also produced good figures of 3-62.
Young Blues all-rounder Arjun Nair (88) was impressive for Hawkesbury and was one of the shining lights in a losing side along with captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Corey Lowe (89).
Manly-Warringah young gun Oliver Davies became the second centurion, in the space of a week, born in the 21st century, when he turned 99 not out into 119 from 132 balls.
At 17 years and 140 days, he became the youngest to score a First Grade century for Manly-Warringah.
Unfortunately, Davies couldn’t celebrate the occasion with a win, as St George reached the required 322 for first innings honours with three wickets in hand.
Another prodigious young talent, Blake McDonald (87), top scored for the Saints. He provided the solid platform from which captain Nick Stapleton (64 not out) could guide his team to the win. Best bowler for Manly was Joseph Graham (3-89).
Eighteen-year-old Ryan Hackney became the sixth player under the age of 19 to score a First Grade century this season after compiling 119 not out for Penrith in a four-wicket victory over North Sydney.
In reply to the Bears first innings of 320, Penrith scored 6/333 highlighted by the century to Hackney and a sublime knock by Tyran LIddiard down the order. He scored 90 from 66 deliveries.
The pair shared a partnership of 139 for the sixth wicket.
It adds to a great season for the young opening batsman who made 109 for the Australian Under 19 team against Pakistan earlier in the season and was leading run-scorer for NSW Metro at the Under 19 National Championships.
Sydney batsman Matthew Rogers (151) was another to make a massive score on Saturday in a big win for the Tigers over Randwick Petersham.
Despite taking a patient approach to the chase for first innings points, Sydney comfortably secured victory after finishing 4/306. Suffan Hassan (67 not out) also played well for the Tigers.
It was the second ton for Rogers in the top grade this season. He scored 178 not out in round two against Hawkesbury.
The win moved Sydney to third on the table with just one round remaining before the finals.
Gordon moved into the top six with a big win over Sutherland, which saw the men from the Shire slip to fifth.
Scott O’Brien (4-58) and Matthew Junk (3-74) were both central to the 100-run win.
Bankstown also kept their finals hopes well and truly alive with a convincing 80-run victory over Sydney University.
Wickets were shared throughout the Bankstown attack with Ben Taylor returning best figures for the Bulldogs of 4-53 from six overs.
Nathan McAndrew (3-49) was also key for the visitors, claiming the crucial scalp of Sydney University captain Liam Robertson (67) in the middle-order dismiss any prospects of a comeback from the home side.
The Bulldogs remain just outside the top six in seventh, while Sydney University dropped to fourth.
In other results, UNSW 9/374 comprehensively defeated Blacktown 206 (J Fawcett 75, JM Bennett 4-53, MA Atallah 4-68) by 168 runs.