Steve Smith and David Warner are among six current and former Australian Test cricketers to play for their clubs in a blockbuster opening round of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition on Saturday to mark the start of the 125th official season of Sydney First Grade.
Smith and Warner will join Australian Test pacemen Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, as well as former Test players Ed Cowan and veteran Blues seamer, Trent Copeland, for the round of limited-overs fixtures. Former Test allrounder Shane Watson was set to join Smith in the Sutherland side to play Mosman at Glenn McGrath Oval, but has been ruled out with injury.
Sutherland welcome back Smith for his first match in McDonald’s Premier Cricket since September 2014, while Warner returns to First Grade cricket for Randwick Petersham in what will be his first match for nearly five years in Sydney Grade Cricket.
When Warner takes strike on Saturday for his club Randwick Petersham against St George, he will face two familiar bowlers to open the attack for the Saints, with Hazlewood and Copeland expected to take the new ball.
Current Australian Under 19 captain and emerging Blues batsman, Jason Sangha, will also play against St George in this highly anticipated clash.
Cummins has been named for Penrith against Hawkesbury in what promises to be another enthralling match. Former Blues batsman Peter Forrest makes his return to First Grade in that fixture, as captain of the Hawks, and the Panthers will also include Brisbane Heat and former Blues fast bowler Josh Lalor.
It will be the first match for Hazlewood and Cummins since the third Test of the series against South Africa in April.
Former Australian Test and Blues opening batsman Ed Cowan will play for Sydney University against Manly-Warringah at University Oval. The students are the defending premiers in the First Grade Limited-Overs Cup.
Pakistan-born Perth Scorchers leg-spinner Usman Qadir will return for Hawkesbury against Penrith after he burst onto the Premier Cricket scene last season. He claimed 35 wickets from just 11 matches.
Gordon will also have the services of a First Class player on Saturday with Blues seamer Charlie Stobo named in its team to take on Bankstown.
Mosman face a significant task to beat the men from the Shire with Blues leg spinner Dan Fallins and talented allrounder Austin Waugh joining Smith in the Sutherland side.
Smith was the leading run-scorer in Test Match cricket throughout 2017 with an extraordinary 1,305 runs at the imperious average of 76.76.
The champions of the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup last season, Sydney, face Western Suburbs at Pratten Park.
Wests are to be led by Bill O’Reilly Medallist Jonathan Cook, who finished last season as the leading wicket-taker with 56 scalps at 15.52.
The defending premiers of the Belvidere Cup, Parramatta, take on Eastern Suburbs at Old Kings Oval.
Blues batsman Nick Bertus will again captain the reigning champions against a strong Easts outfit featuring Blues rookie wicketkeeper, batter Baxter Holt and new recruit and opener Henry Hunt, who arrives at the club from Northern District.
The minor premiers in McDonald’s Premier Cricket last season, Campbelltown-Camden, will host UNSW in the first round, at Raby Oval No. 1.
The Ghosts will be captained by Jarrad Burke who enjoyed a superb return to the club last season after eight campaigns with Bankstown. Vincent Hreszczvk will debut for the students.
Burke was a pivotal component in the turnaround for Campbelltown-Camden from last in 2016/17 to minor premiers in 2017/18. The crafty left-arm orthodox spinner finished as the leading wicket-taker for the club with 49 wickets at 21.16.
In other matches, Blues rookie and, new recruit for Blacktown, Jordan Gauci will lead the Western Sydney club against North Sydney and Northern District host Fairfield-Liverpool.
MCDONALD'S PREMIER CRICKET
FIRST GRADE TEAMS:
ROUND 1: LIMITED-OVERS MATCHES.
10:00am Saturday 22nd September 2018
Bankstown v Gordon at Bankstown Oval.
Bankstown: Michael Stretton (c), Kyle Brockley, Mitch Brown, Nick Carruthers, Peter Dignam, Liam Marshall, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Ridley, Daniel Solway, Benjamin Taylor, Rhys Williams.
Gordon: Steve Colley (c), Tym Crawford, Axel Cahlin, Harry Evans, Elliot Richtor, Scott O'Brien, Glenn Winsor, Max Newman, Charlie Stobo, Alex Patterson, Matthew Junk.
Blacktown v North Sydney at Joe McAleer Reserve.
Blacktown: Jordan Gauci (c), James Newton, Matthew Day, Abdul Hameed Kherkhah, Toby Flynn-Duncombe, Jaskaran Cheema, Anjan Oberai, Mohammad Shinwari, Daniel Nicotra, Faisal Nasim, Asfar Riaz, Smit Raval.
North Sydney: Thomas Jagot (c), James Aitken, Robert Aitken, Matthew Alexander, Benjamin Bryant, James Campbell, Adam Crosthwaite, Oliver Knight, Tim Reynolds, Ryan Van Kemenade, Bennett Walsh.
Campbelltown-Camden v UNSW at Raby Oval 1.
Campbelltown-Camden: Jarrad Burke (c), Mitchell Carruthers, Aaron Yabsley, Philip Wells, Jake Cormack, Jaydyn Simmons, Jarred Lysaught, Jordan Browne, Luke Webb, Samuel Skelly, Iain Carlisle.
UNSW: David Dawson (c), Vincent Hreszczvk, Matthew Gilkes, Connor Jackson, Marcus Atallah, Nivek Tanner, Brandon McLean, Suthangan Thanabalasingam, Hayden McLean, Declan White, Joshua Bennett.
Northern District v Fairfield-Liverpool at Mark Taylor Oval.
Northern District: Ben Davis (c), Neil Kimberley, Andrew Harriott, Tom Felton, Daniel Anderson, Clayton Waters, Zak Honeybrook, Chad Soper, Charles Taylor.
Fairfield-Liverpool: Harmon Sandhu (c), Raveesh Srivastava, Viraj Kadam, Param Uppal, Luke Ohrynowsky, Jeremy Cashman, Wendel Delpechitra, Liam Hatcher, Chad Sammut, Jeremy Maher, Damien Aviet.
Parramatta v Eastern Suburbs at Old Kings Oval.
Parramatta: Nicholas Bertus (c), William Affleck, Luke Dempsey, Trent Crittenden, Liam Lofts, Luke McNaught, Brenton Cherry, Ben Martin, Adam Turrell, Ben Abbott, Bradley Taylor.
Eastern Suburbs: Angus Robson (c), Harry Dalton, Adam Ezekiel, George Furrer, Baxter Holt, Henry Hunt, Jack Preddey, Jack Remond, Will Simpson, Thomas Skelly, Tas Yazdani.
Penrith v Hawkesbury at Howell Oval.
Penrith: Ryan Smith (c), Brent Atherton, Patrick Cummins, John DiBartolo, Ryan Hackney, Luke Hodges, Tyran Liddiard, Cameron Weir, Trent Weir, Brent Williams, Joshua Lalor.
Hawkesbury: Peter Forrest (c), Chris Lawrence, Matthew Frame, Aidan Van Den Nieuwboer, Joshua Clarke, Dale Mckay, Timothy Wilson, Kerrod Gordon, Jake Wholohan, Usman Qadir, Nikethan Radhakrishnan.
Randwick Petersham v St George at Coogee Oval.
Randwick Petersham: Anthony Sams (c), David Warner, Shaun Eaton, Jason Sangha, Alexander Kemp, Soumil Chhibber, Kushaal Ram, Adam Semple, Riley Ayre, Matthew Everett, Daya Singh.
St George: Nicholas Stapleton (c), Matthew Hopkins, Blake Macdonald, Jonathan Rose, Luke Bartier, Tom Engelbrecht, Kaleb Phillips, Peter Francis, Mitchell Gray, Thomas Ortiz, Michael Kennedy, Josh Hazlewood, Trent Copeland.
Sutherland v Mosman at Glenn McGrath Oval.
Sutherland: Chris Williams (c), Aiden Bariol, Jarryd Biviano, Jamie Brown, Jayden Brown, Daniel Fallins, Flynn Parker, Tom Pinson, Steven Smith, Austin Waugh, TBC.
Mosman: Scott Rodgie (c), Anthony Adlam, Danul Dassanayake, Pat Pisel, Jake Fawcett, Lachie Hearne, Ash Doolan, Luke Shelton, Jake Turner, Dean Crawford, Greg West.
Sydney University v Manly-Warringah at University Oval.
Sydney University: Liam Robertson (c), Ed Cowan, Ryan McElduff, Ben Joy, Damien Mortimer, Nicholas Walker, Timothy Ley, Devlin Malone, Hayden Kerr, Nicky Craze, Joe Kershaw.
Manly-Warringah: Ryan Farrell (c), Ahillen Beadle, Timothy Doonan, Jake Carden, Oliver Davies, Joel Foster, Sam Gainsford, Joseph Graham, Elliott Herd, Michael Visser, Logan Weston.
Western Suburbs v Sydney at Pratten Park.
Western Suburbs: Jonathan Cook (c), Jason Hughes, Michael Tudehope, Nicholas Cutler, Samuel McMahon, Isaac Taylor, Ayden Brown, James Shepherd, James Psarakis, Joel Abraham, Adrian Isherwood.