A resounding victory for Sydney Uni's first grade side was the only shining light in a difficult round against fellow Club Championship heavyweights, Manly-Warringah over the weekend.
A commanding first innings total is not always guaranteed with a win in the McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket competition, Easts chasing down Bankstown's 411 and Northern District falling 4 runs short of doing the same (though earning a draw) to Randwick-Petersham's 431 as examples, but Sydney Uni made sure of it with an outstanding display with the ball against Manly-Warringah at the Sydney Uni Cricket Ground (Uni No. 1).
A vicious opening spell from Tom Rogers (3-14 from 12) saw him claim the prized scalp of Adam Crosthwaite in the first over to leave Manly reeling and a long way from the target at 2-4. An 85-run partnership for the 2nd wicket steady the ship with Jay Lenton (56) top-scoring and Ryan Farrell (33) working hard to stay at the crease.
Sustained pressure from all of the bowling group saw quick wickets tumble during the middle session. A particularly fiery return spell from Rogers hurried Lenton, hitting him one ball and then producing a mistimed pull shot next ball. But it was the sublime leg-spinning performance from Devlin Malone (5-53 from 23 overs) that made light work of the victory. Often unplayable, Malone claimed the important wickets of James Crosthwaite and Ahillen Beadle before picking up three tail-enders for ducks.
Manly were eventually bowled out for 147 runs just before the tea break.
Sydney Uni sit in 3rd place (18 points) on the ladder as one four sides, Sutherland (19 points), Gordon (19 points) and Penrith (18 points), to open the season with three wins.
Uni take on Hawkesbury at Owen Earle Oval in Round 4.
Uni arrived at Mike Pawley oval for day 2 of the fixture against Manly with a big chase ahead of them following a tough day in the field on day 1. The in-form James Crowley came into the side as Ben Trevor-Jones moved up to replace Ryan Carters in 1st grade. Crowley showed excellent nash-ball keeping skills and another long distance strike from Will Hay was the match-defining moment in the olds win, again a man down.
Manly declared before the start of play, leaving Uni to chase their overnight total of 324. On a good batting surface and fast outfield, the students were confident of batting through the day for a win, but a poor start saw us head into the first drinks 3/17. Ben Larkin and Nicky Craze went about restoring the innings and played well through to lunch before Craze fell soon after for 31, the score 4/80. Some vintage clips through mid wicket and cover drives among big sixes straight and over square highlighted Larkin's innings of 72. Larkin was ably supported by Crowley (26) seeing the students back on track until losing both accomplished batsmen in the 15 minutes before tea to leave the score 6/152. Hayden Kerr (34) and Dugald Holloway (29) demonstrated their all-round prowess with some hard hitting to provide some hope of victory late in the day, but it was too little too late as uni fell 92 runs short.
Improvement to be made in all areas ahead of the next round match against the Hawks at the Sydney Uni Cricket Ground.
With only 166 runs on the board, Sydney Uni's bowlers were going to need to be disciplined early, Manly only requiring a further 60 runs with 8 wickets in hand at the start of play.
Uni got a sense of a miracle when they claimed opener, Aiden Bariol, for 49 runs, but a patient 56-run 4th wicket partnership, lead to the inevitable Manly victory. Jack Holloway claimed 4 vital wickets, including 3 in an over, to ensure Manly could not stretch out in search of an outright.
Manly eventually declared at tea at 7-239, with play called off at the tea break.
Hopes were high for the 4s side after James Crowley steered the side to a strong total of 284.
Unfortunately though Manly batted well and the Uni attack struggled to breakthrough, with Manly passing the total in the 80th over with 4 wickets in hand.
Spinners Nick Powys (2-55 from 26 overs) and Ryan McElduff (2-84 from 22 overs) were the only multiple wicket takers for Uni.
A below par batting effort on day 1 saw the 5s chasing their tail throughout the day as they tried to defend 213 runs at Camperdown Oval.
A batsmen friendly wicket saw the quicker bowlers blunted, and left spinners Connor Slater (3-66) and Zohirul Islam (2-43) as the only wicket-takers, Manly declaring at 5-233.
The Uni top-order negotiating the final 20 overs safely, finishing at 1-39 to ensure no further result.
A disciplined batting effort was going to be needed from the young Metro Cup side to chase down Blacktown's commanding 4-294 (dec) and the side put in a determined effort, finishing all out for 202 from 93 overs with only 9 men.
James Gillespie (61) scored his first half-century for the Club and combined for an 82-run opening partnership with Green Shield opener Ayush Mishra (29). Danny Wicks (44), Jono Phoebus (27) and Brad Osman-Kayani (22) helped push the total forward, but it was a dream too far in the end.
Blacktown decided to inflict punishment on the Uni bowler's by batting again to hit 2-111 from 13 overs in their 2nd innings before play was called to a halt. Green Shield leg-spinner, Shivansh Pathak, claimed 2-18 from his 3 overs, his first for the Club (and his first on turf).