Players across the lower grades of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition were eager to start their 2018/19 season with some strong individual performances. None more so than Penrith Cricket Club’s Luke O’Hare who notched up an impressive 157 in his limited overs match against Hawkesbury at Rance Oval in fifth-grade.
The damaging opening batsman struck 20 fours and seven sixes to help his team post 334 in the first innings to set up their 142-run bonus point victory.
The next best performer with the bat was Sydney University’s third-grade batsman Steven Hobson.
Hobson’s score of 122 also came at the top of the order, which led his side to a comfortable 52-run win in what was a dominant weekend for the students who swept last season’s club champions Manly-Warringah in all five grades.
Manly-Warringah also had a standout performance of their own in the form of fifth-grade batsman Lachlan Charles who scored a century at St Paul’s Oval. However, it wasn’t enough for his side who went down in a heartbreaking loss in the final over by three wickets.
The other century-maker for the round was Fairfield-Liverpool’s Zach Johns who scored 116 in his team’s 44-run victory over the second-grade defending premiers Northern District at Rosedale Oval.
The opening game of the season also proved to be fruitful for the bowlers across the lower grades with eight bowlers taking five-wicket hauls.
Bankstown’s Bradley Simpson was the pick of the bunch claiming 6-25 in second-grade against Gordon. Defending a modest total of 196 at Chatswood Oval, Simpson’s lively nine over spell ensured his side got over the line by 72 runs.
Gordon also had a five-wicket taker in the same match with Ashwin Premkumar taking 5-23 from his ten overs.
Northern District bowler Jason Pereira was another bowler to collect six wickets in his match against Fairfield-Liverpool in third-grade. Pereira’s 6-31 restricted the visitors to 178 which his side successfully chased on the 49th over.
Sydney Cricket Club’s third-grade captain Craig Di Blasio led the way for his side with figures of 5-22 from his ten overs against Western Suburbs.
Western Suburbs had no answer for the finger spinner who rolled through the home side’s batting line-up to inspire his team to a 29-run win.
Blacktown’s Amir Khan also started his season off with a strong 5-26 against UTS North Sydney in fourth-grade.
Khan used the new ball to good effect as well as some skilful bowling late in the innings to dismiss UTS North Sydney for 168, 26 runs shy of Blacktown’s total of 194.
Avi Bansal was Blacktown’s second five-wicket taker for the round as he also claimed 5-28 in his team’s narrow two-wicket defeat.