The students took the foot of the mountains eager to continue the form shown thus far. Winning the toss and electing to bat on what looked a batting day the students found themselves in a spot of bother early. Losing 4 wickets with the score on just 70 it was up to the the middle to rescue the ship, and rescue the ship they did. A counter attacking innings by Damien Mortimer (75) and Hayden Kerr (60) led the fightback for the students who quickly turned around the poor start.
A few more quick wickets and again Uni were under some pressure. Enter Tim Cummins against his old side, he mixed delicate touch with some powerful stroke play to lead the charge well into the final session. Ably supported by strong contributions right down the order in the form of Tim Ley and Dugald Holloway the students were eventually dismissed for 320 with Cummins left stranded on 70*. A mark of the uni side so far this year has been the ability to find necessary contributions when desperately needed. A good sign for the season ahead. With Penrith 0/3 from 3 overs, the 2nd days play is well poised.
Sydney Uni 320: D Mortimer 73, T Cummins 70*, H Kerr 59
Sydney Uni 281: N Craze 129, J Craig Dobson 37, R Danne 31
Day 1 of Round 5 saw the Units travel out to Bill Ball aka Cook Park to face the cats at the foot of the mountains. Various means were used to arrive (ours was the classic meet at Essence and then M2/M7/M4), but in an unprecedented display everyone managed to arrive on time and the full XI was (relatively) bright eyed and bushy tailed for Nash.
Wholesale changes due to unavailabilities this round meant that the youth were missing their top 3 (such has been their lack of quality that now Kevvy could be considered top 3) and this coupled with old having the extra man meant that there was only ever going to be one result – an absolute rout. Normal service was restored and the mercy rule was applied with old approaching 10 and young failing to have a shot on target. After multiple $$$ were incurred by your scribe, among others, for fraternising with the opposition, the toss was arranged. Speaking of normal service, Penrith won the toss (seems like all anyone has to do is simply attend the toss to win it against me) and their skipper Pete had no hesitation in choosing to bat on a hard wicket that looked perfect for batting.
Toyer, bald and the recently returned Sam Wood (a genuine candidate to take Danno’s place as No1 contender for the “Jack Maddocks perpetual Best Young Rig” trophy) opened the bowling and bowled with quality pace and accuracy to make scoring tough. Both were rewarded with early wickets and the Units were further emboldened by the Alpha wicky, Jack Hill and Tom Fullers being flawless in the cordon with all picking up catches.
The spin twins Whitaker and Lawson (combined height 3.2m, combined rare 18.7) then entered the attack and pressure was mounted from both ends with each delivering their best spell of the year. Both Liamo and Leggie Newington bowled accurately and scoring was stifled as the spinners turned the screws and the Units took control. After a sumptuous repast (best tea in grade cricket), further wickets to Toyer and Wood and an excellent piece of foxing from Tom Galvin to force a run-out meant that Uni took 10 wickets for 132 in just over 54 overs. Despite taking out the tin can and oiling up the shoulder, your scribe was not required to attempt some burglary/legside stumpings and overall it was a high-quality bowling and fielding effort from the entire side in a pleasing turnaround from last week.
The Units were faced with 23 overs to eat into the deficit and openers Hill and debutant Dilley strode out to the crease to face a hostile spell from former Uni stalwart, mostly coloured-in gentleman and all-round good guy Chrissy Withers. Withers wound back the clock and bowled with pace, accuracy and most of all aggression (which was directed in order at himself, the umpire, the universe, the batsmen, his teammates and finally, himself). A few wickets fell but at the close we are well placed at 3/68 with the Alpha wicky 20* and Michael Robbo at the crease.
Further fraternisation awaits week 2 as the units will endeavour to tick off the required and then see what can be made in the afternoon.
Sydney Uni 3-68: J Hill 21, J Crowley 20*
Penrith 132: S Wood 4-37, J Toyer 3-38, J Lawson 2-34
Sydney Uni 85: A Bell 32, L McElduff 17, M Miles 15
Penrith 2-27: S Canagasingham 1-6, J Rinka 1-7
We were greeted at Rance Oval with an encouraging message for the day ahead, bellowed from the passenger seat of a moving car; the exact wording indistinguishable from the revving of the engine. If local knowledge is much to go by they must have said "Rance is a road mate, win the toss and bat" - perhaps foreshadowing the day ahead. Putting this helpful piece of information aside we began to balance teams for Nash. Unable to find enough Olds and with a flood of Nuffies, teams were instead chosen by the colour of one's shoes (white vs coloured). Some poor keeping early on meant the white wheels went up 2-0. Jono Phoebus left his mark on the game by slotting a header into the bottom left corner to put the colours well ahead. In a desperate attempt to bring his team back into the game, Jarrod Morley matched up against Islam in a goal line collision that saw the latter man out for the remainder of the contest (see photo). Colours finished the victors at 5-2 despite losing their match defining presence in goals.
The coin seems to be landing on tails as often as I write match reports this season and the students were put to the field. The home team started quickly albeit unconvincingly with many of their runs coming off the outside edge. Tom Draca bowled with ferocity and pace with the new ball - especially troubling the left hander. Phoebus made the first breakthrough swinging the ball around the batsman and into off stump. Tight bowling and disciplined fielding held back the flow of runs until the tea break where we were rewarded with a diverse and substantial array of food.
Having been energised during the break Penrith's batting set out with a renewed vigour, intent on pushing the run rate and scoring freely on a wicket that was now giving little assistance to our bowling. The wisdom of the drive by local from the morning was starting to sink in. Nick Mortimer managed to burgle the wicket of their captain who was taking immense pleasure in sending the ball further over the fence with every hit. Islam and Shivansh Pathak also bowled well and were rewarded with wickets before the home team declared at 8/294. Sent out to negotiate a short period before the end of the day the students are 2/19 with Islam dominating the run scoring and looking to build his contribution for day 2.
Sydney Uni 2-19: Z Islam 13*
Penrith 8-294 (dec)
A dramatically inexperienced team but a welcome home game this week for the Metro side vs Randwick Green. A physically lost but principally won toss as Uni is sent in on a flat deck, with a quick field and on a sticky warm day. An exciting trifecta and an opportunity to take control of the day from the beginning.
As usual, a pregame plan is discussed and new opening pair Rahman and Kirubanandan take to the crease. A solid start and a slowly climbing run rate as the pair's confidence began to increase.
A slight lapse in concentration and Rahman is out caught for 27. An opening stand of 56 off just 11 overs. Kirubanandan was in fine touch, placing the ball exquisitely into the gaps on either side of the field and never looked like getting out by the bowlers on merit. Then a moment of madness as Ashwin is dismissed for 48 "mankad" by Randwicks salty captain.
The less said about the incident the better...
Veteran presence Sivapalan joins Synnott at the crease and things keep rolling on steadily until Tim is caught behind for 32 just as he was looking most comfortable. 3/125 off 27 overs. Sivapalan played a calm and careful innings playing each ball on merit and taking opportunities when presented. 53 in his first match for some time a good sign of things to come as he get's more matches under his belt. Our "wild thing" Jon Aylward returns to the team after an injury lay off to play as a batsman. As usual, a patient start for Jono, hitting his first three balls for 4,4 and 6!
From then on the young hitter played an extremely mature innings displaying extraordinary power and placement on his way to a career-high 102. Greenie's will look forward to Jon joining them this season. Special mention goes to the big fella Muhammad Ghumman who finally getting a chance to bat dispensed the ball to all areas of the construction sites around the ground for a quick fire 51.
With all original targets exceeded a declaration comes at 6/330 off 53.4 overs and a chance to get a head start on next weeks tasks. Kirubanandan and Shanahan take the new ball and a nervous start with both bowlers struggling a little to find the "4th stump" line initially. Some adjustments are made and Max claims the first wicket with a sharp chance going to Tim at gully. 1/8 and we're off and running. Ashwin found his range and bowling with good heat claimed his first scalp for the club finishing the day with 1/16 off 9 overs. Oli Ottosson getting his first chance with the team this season came on and bowled with good shape finishing with 0/8 off 6. Team leggie and "shirtless scorer" Tim Synnott bowled a consistent little spell claiming a vital pole and mental victory for the team in the final over of the day. 1/0 off 2.4 overs.
Randwick 3/50 off 24 overs at stumps and with the job only just over half done we know what needs to be worked on at training this week for us to claim the 6 points with the expectation of going for 10. Overall a very fine and fun day with all the boys starting to buy into what it means to play for our mighty club!
Sydney Uni 6-330 (dec): J Aylward 102, S Sivapalan 53, M Ghumman 51
Randwick 3-50: T Synnott 1-0, A Kirubanandan 1-16, M Shanahan 1-17