Almost 1,000 runs were scored on Uni No. 1 Oval over the weekend as Sydney Uni's 1st Grade side set up a strong position in their Round 3 clash with Manly, and the Poidevin-Gray Shield team secured a nail-biting victory over Bankstown.
Following two strong batting performances from Uni in the opening rounds, skipper Nick Larkin wasted no time in winning the toss and electing to bat, and with great reason.
Larkin together with the perennial Greg Mail strode to the crease and almost five hours later had written their names into the record books with a 337 run opening wicket partnership.
Mail dominated early to scorch his way to 179 runs before Larkin took the honours with his first double-century in 1st Grade, finishing unbeaten on 206 when he decided to declare the innings closed at 1-424.
The partnership was a record 1st-wicket partnership in Sydney Grade Cricket, whilst falling short of the all-time Club 1st wicket record of 348 runs set in 1888-89, and the all-time Club record partnership of 390* (2nd wicket) between Mail and Matthew Phelps.
Ryan Carters joined the party with 36no to help lift the score above 400.
The declaration leaving Manly with a tricky nine overs to face in fading light, Tim Ley getting a vital breakthrough before stumps were called. Manly will resume next weekend on 1-4.
A similar story was written for our second grade side, unfortunately in reverse, as our bowlers toiled hard all day to restrict Manly to 6-324 from their 97 overs on a batsmen friendly Mike Pawley Oval.
Off-spinner, Liam Whitaker (3-74 from 22 overs), and medium-pacer, Jono Craig-Dobson (2-95 from 23 overs) were the only Uni bowlers to claim wickets.
A big chase lies ahead, but with the likes of skipper Dave Miller, last start centurion, James Larkin, brother Ben Larkin and 1st Grade keeper Ben Trevor-Jones all capable of batting long periods, anything is possible.
Another poor batting performance has left Uni's 3rd Grade side in a tight spot at the end of day 1, falling for 166 in 52.3 overs before closing with Manly on 2-106 after 25 overs.
For Uni, youngster Kevin Jacob (42) was strong opening the batting, and with six scores between 10 and 26, Uni batsmen will rue lost opportunities to convert starts into decent scores.
Xavier Frawley and Lewis McMahon claimed a wicket each, but more will be needed from the entire bowling group to come from behind to claim the points.
Stand-in skipper, James Crowley (92) set the tone for the Uni batsmen to set an imposing 284 runs against Manly at Graham Reserve. He was well supported by teenage keeper-batsman Cristian Lorenzato (77), Vince Umbers (37) and Brodie Frost (33).
Manly were 0-9 after a short 3 over burst from the Uni bowlers.
Uni's 5th Grade side had a tough day at Camperdown, but a 96-run 8th wicket partnership between Aiden Peek (63) and Jarrod Morley (33) helped post a competitive total of 213 runs after falling to 7-98.
Alex Bell (32), Brayden Dilley (18) and Murray Miles (12no) were the only other batters to reach double figures.
Manly will resume on 0-25.
A young side again took the field and fought admirably in tough conditions to hold Blacktown to 4-294 (dec) from only 50 overs. Natesh Yoganand was the pick of the bowlers to claim 2-60.
The Uni openers held firm through the final 25 overs of the day to remain unbeaten on 0-50 and with a full day to bat.
The opening round of the PGs season was always going to be a tough one up against the powerhouse Bankstown club, but two months of heavy preparation paid off in the crunch to see Uni home in a tight affair.
Uni set a terrific platform for a big score through seven innings' of 19 runs or more, but with Charlie Litchfield top-scoring with 56, no-one took the next step to ensure what should have been a 280+ total, eventually held to 9-258 from their 50 overs.
The lack of one batsmen going on with it looked set to haunt the Uni side as Bankstown comfortably reached 1-150, but the Uni side was able to take crucial wickets when it mattered and kept the scoring rate in check.
With pre-season tours to Brisbane, Perth and Sri Lanka under their belts, the young Uni side were battle hardened and stood up when it counted. Dugald Holloway (3-50 from 10 overs), Kieran Tate (2-50 from 10 overs), Devlin Malone (2-59 from 10 overs) and Kieran Elley (1-51 from 10 overs) hit their lengths at the end of the innings and restricted Bankstown to 9-255 runs from their 50 overs.
A promising start from the PGs lads who after two disappointing seasons are hungry to prove their worth in this tournament. They take on Sutherland at Glenn McGrath Oval on 6th November in their next match.