Sydney Uni had another strong round against the powerful St George DCC with victories in 1st, 2nd and 5th Grade over the weekend, including claiming the O'Keeffe - O'Sullivan Trophy for the first time in its history.
Skipper Larkin won the toss and elected to bat on a sunny but windy morning at Hurstville Oval.
A conservative start from openers Cowan and Larkin saw Sydney Uni creep to 0/25 after the first ten overs. Disciplined channels from the St George bowlers along with some tidy fielding made scoring tough. Slowly the batsman gained some momentum, pushing the rate up above four an over before Cowan fell for a gritty 54 with the score at 131. Larkin followed soon after for a well compiled 87. Superstitious anyone?
At 2/151 with after 38 overs, Carters and May had a significant task in front of them to help SUCC post a defendable total. May continued on with the strong form he showed in round one, making 37 off 30 balls before falling in the pursuit of quick runs. Carters showed all his skills as he ramped, cut, pulled and stroked his way to an unbeaten 57 from just 44 deliveries. The highlight being back to back sixes off Trent Copeland from the final two balls of the innings. The versatile right hander looks to have found his mojo and showed why he has been so successful as 'the finisher' for NSW in the past.
SUCC 3/254 off the allotted 50 overs.
St George got off to a rapid start, with McCabe taking on Tom Rogers with success in the opening overs. Debutant Kieran Elley bowled with maturity beyond his years, containing both batsmen and building pressure in the face of some strong hitting.
Devlin Malone was introduced to the attack with instant success, Carters whipping of the bails to remove last weekends centurion Watkins.
Ben Joy joined the attack and found McCabe's edge, ending the onslaught at 41 off 33 balls. St George 2/63 after twelve overs.
Australia A batsman Kurtis Patterson was joined by Australian test and one day allrounder Moises Henriques. Both took their time to get in, but controlled the tempo of the game, as the SUCC bowlers were strategically rotated in the hope of a breakthrough.
With the game shifting in St George's favour, former Dragon, Ashton May, snuck one past Henriques, bowling the NSW captain for 54 off 55 balls.
The momentum swung back in Uni's favour as Joy and Malone squeezed the new batsman, Malone breaking through again in his final over to finish with 2/42.
Joy found the edge through to Carters a further two times to finish with 3/52. A lengthy spell which combed pace and control, the lanky Englishman looks back to his best.
With two overs remaining St George needed 20 runs with four wickets in hand. Patterson still at the crease and looking dangerous, was joined by former Sydney Uni player Darius Visser. The task of delivering the penultimate over fell to the reliable Robertson, a man who has stood tall in similar situations in recent seasons. With Patterson targeting the small boundary, Robertson did well to concede only 11 to the rampaging left hander.
6 balls remaining, 9 runs to win. New recruit Tom Rogers was tasked with delivering under enormous pressure. Deliver he did, nailing his length and ensuring both Patterson and Visser couldn't get under the ball. With four required of the final delivery, Visser could only find a single to third man, as yet again Rogers found the mark.
One of the best wins in recent times for the Sydney Uni first grade side, against a high quality opposition. More importantly, two from two to start the season and plenty of players in good form.
The O'Sullivan/O'Keefe trophy will be held by SUCC for the first time since it's inception. A game truly worthy of Micko's name.
2nd grade won the toss and didn't hesitate to bat first on a flat Uni #1 deck, with Dave Miller and James Larkin getting off to a brisk start. Miller made 52 before departing with the score on 81, bringing Trevor-Jones to the crease. From there, Uni consolidated and built the platform for a commanding total, with Trevor-Jones (47) and Larkin (118) controlling a well constructed innings with a 130 run partnership. Larkin with his maiden hundred in second grade was all class, dispatching the Saints bowlers to all parts of the ground with many glorious cover drives, pulls and sweeps. A late cameo from the slighter Ben Larkin (19) saw the students finish with a very defendable 271.
Full of confidence, but knowing defending would be a tough ask on a flat wicket and quick outfield, the boys started well and took wickets early through Hayden Kerr and Dugald Holloway to have the Saints struggling at 3-69. The visitors put together some solid partnerships with Bartier (68), Turnbull (23) and Edwards (44) keeping them alive. Some tight bowling at the death by all of the Uni quicks and a good piece of fielding from Nick Arnold to run out the St. George captain held off a late charge by St George. The Students holding on for a 17 run win which was probably tighter than the scores reflect. A great bowling effort by the young attack, with Lawrence Neil-Smith impressing on debut and Kerr bowling brilliantly at the death in just his second match. Kieran Tate bowled well and had the pick of the figures for the Uni bowlers with 3/44 from his 10.
In the end a solid all round performance resulted in a great victory over the strong St George team, and marks a step in the right direction for the 2nd grade boys with their first points of the season after a disappointing performance in round one.
The defending premiers suffered a tough loss after posting a competitive 6-206, unable to make consistent breakthroughs to be passed with 7 wickets and 6.1 overs remaining.
For Sydney Uni, Matt Powys hit 63no, Kevin Jacob with 49 and Ed Arnott scoring 30 runs.
A 116-run opening partnership from St George set the tone for the run-chase with only Ryan Kurtz (2 wickets) and Xavier Frawley (1 wicket) able to claim wickets. Jono Craig-Dobson was excellent as well conceding just 27 runs from his 10 overs.
Fellow defending premiers also suffered a 2nd round defeat, though in a much heavier fashion.
A strong team effort with the ball had Uni confident of victory at the lunch break with Uni restricting St George to 176. Six bowlers claimed wickets with Lewis McMahon, Sameer Murthy and Henry Clark each claiming 2 wickets.
A disastrous batting performance followed however with Uni bundled out for just 76 inside 20 overs. Only Jake Day put up any sort of resistance, hitting 33 not out whilst no other batter reached double figures.
Youngsters Braydon Dilley (75) and Doug Rogers (40) laid the platform for the Fifth Grade total of 234 runs.
Consistent breakthroughs were the cornerstone of the victory, with the largest St George partnership being just 36 runs. Lead by stand-in skipper Andrew Wilkinson (3 wickets) together with Ryan Holcroft (2 wickets) and Doug Rogers (2 wickets), Uni dismissed St George for 187 runs.
With Wilkinson moving up to Fifth Grade and numerous last minute changes to the line-up, a very young side took to the field against Gordon. Tristan Mears (39) and skipper Ethan Clout (16) were the only bats to reach double figures in Uni's total of 93. Uni were unable to take any wickets in defence.
Milestones this week for Keiran Elley, Nick Larkin, Ben Joy, Charles Litchfield, Lawrence Neil-Smith, James Larkin, Dave Miller, Dugald Holloway, Kevin Jacob, Ed Arnott, Matt Powys, Sameer Murthy, Munab Shirazi, Braydon Dilley and Hamish Rogers.
Zohirul Islam maintains a slender lead in the batting stakes despite James Larkin's round 2 century, whilst Devlin Malone's strong start to the season has seen him claim 6 wickets in the opening two matches.