After a dominant opening day, the students arrived believing that only the rain could cruel the momentum. Joe Kershaw was withdrawn from the game due to his upcoming Futures League fixture, allowing Tim Ley to come back in to the side.
Hawkesbury started as 3/24 in pursuit of 397. It didn’t take long for Ley to make an impact, demolishing the off stump of the night watchman. He then had Nair nicking to second slip, only for the chance to go begging. A partnership developed between Nair and Gauci, and as the rain continued to fall, conditions for bowling became increasingly challenging. With the once shiny kookaburra resembling a bar of soap, Dugald Holloway entered the attack. Despite the tough conditions, Holloway used his angles intelligently and was able to control his length, eventually drawing loose shots from the Hawks players and breaking the game open.
Joy re-entered the attack, poised on 99 first grade wickets. His celebrated rise from a 6th grade stalwart to one of the best fast bowlers in the first grade competition is the stuff of legends. With Nair approaching a century, Joy wrapped his pads and a strong appeal was rewarded. 100 first grade wickets is a fantastic achievement, particularly for a man who has given so much to the club off the field as well. Malone and Cowan bowled their leggies in tandem as the students sensed a chance to finish off the tail. Cowan surprised even himself with nice flight and control, certainly warranting further overs throughout the season.
Malone showed remarkable skill to be able to spin the ball and largely bowl with control in conditions most wrist spinners would refuse to perform their craft in. He bamboozled the tail with flight and wronguns, claiming three wickets to end the fixture by tea time and ensure the students claimed six points in a round where draws were the order of the day.
Sydney Uni 9-397:
N Larkin 140, B Trevor-Jones 68, D Mortimer 53
D Malone 3-44, J Kershaw 2-16, D Holloway 2-28
Another day and another early morning for the 2’s, who hit the motorways of Sydney’s Suburbia at the crack of dawn in search of 10 points. There was a consistent spray of water from the clouds, rain, but not enough to trigger the umpires to postpone the start time. So, as per usual, the pre-game chatter started between young and old. Shoutout to Jono CD playing barefoot as he forgot his trainers. The game was fast paced and again refereed not by strict rules, but by consensus and volume, with the shout of ‘Low’ being verified only on the basis that 3 or more people had shouted it in harmony. It would have made the many hairs on Mao spine stand up. The tremendous energy had usurped structured rules. This was the same for a goal, which, was cheered with multiple ‘yeeeeaaaaahs’ and thus, must’ve been inside the ill-defined parameters of a goal, regardless. The elderly took the game 2-0 but credit must go to the young who seemed to have built on their performance from last week. It will be an exciting matchup next week.
The wicket was rather different to the previous week, after some difficult weather patterns throughout. The strip was hard underneath a light covering of green grass. Of course, this meant that Jono Craig Dobson was salivating violently to go and take some wickets in the first innings, building on from the 3 wickets last week. He and Lawrence ran through the top order and made a very strong impression on the game. Lawrence finished with 4 wickets, Jono 4. To be frank, the bowling conditions were heavily in our favour, but the ball became wet very quickly and swelled to a more rotund object, with a ludicrous sized seam. This did not deter the two quicks from taking their booty from the sinking Hawkesbury ship.
In order to gain the 10 points, we needed our bowlers to recharge their batteries in order to take another 10 wickets in the 20 minute break. Surprise surprise, Neil Smith ran in again and took another wicket early, and quickly they were 2 down, as the rain set in. As is common in the game, we had almost unanimously decided that the rain had come to stay and that we would be sailing on the high seas home to the Nag’s. This was a mistake in hindsight. We managed to fit in a rapid quiz in the break, something that really tests our team as a unit, led by McMahon. We are beginning to develop different subject specialists for the quiz and thus are assumed as unwavering experts. I, unfortunately, have the French language as my specialist subject for which I know nothing about, but I am from Europe and I know that Allemagne is Germany in French and thus that qualified me enough. I haven’t answered another question correctly since. Holloway has taken a more polymathic stance and delves into many subjects albeit with mixed subject. Again, his conviction is enough for the team to assume he is right.
To the credit of TK and Chip, they pushed to get on as soon as possible and continue to knock over the middle order, which was rapidly an actuality. Holloway took another wicket with his first ball, an expertly measured short ball into the shoulders and caught in comfort by Lew McMahon, who bowled with patience as well. To the credit of Hawkesbury, a fortunate partnership between two of their boys helped drag out the overs and although they were both dismissed before the close of play, they had shown a level of confidence rare within the spooked ranks of the Hawks. The game had been dominated by Uni from the very third ball and frankly, the 6 points were well deserved and were unlucky not to get a better go at 10.
Routines are routines, and as the beverages were supplied by the youth, the team song quickly came into voice with a very impressive solo from Lawrence with both confidence and raw aggression, something that must have transferred from his fiery bowling. Uni have been dominant in their last two fixtures and take on Penrith in a home game next Saturday.
Sydney Uni 6-420:
S Hobson 229*, C Litchfield 94
Hawkesbury 91 & 7-179:
J Craig-Dobson 4-36, L Neil-Smith 4-37 & 2-13
Well, well, well. To say that this was the most unbelievable game that I have been involved in would be an understatement. Given that I am not usually guilty of understating things in my published works, allow me to tell you what occurred on Saturday so you can be the judge...
After Day 1 turned out to be a harrowing bye week (which no-one enjoys), Day 2 was shaping up to be much of the same with showers forecast both Friday night and Saturday. Scrambling around on Friday arvo pre-Pepsi, the Uni groundstaff and a few excellent college gentlemen (Galvin, Hughes, Gibson et al) were enlisted to transport the spare (1 metric tonne) cover down to Camperdown to give us every chance of getting on. We arrived at the ground to find a hard, green pitch and there were good prospects to get most of a full day in.
After an initial rain delay, the game was reduced from 120 overs to 112 overs and a game of Nash was hastened to allow the youth to try their wares against the heretofore superior old. Which they did, and I have cause to eat all my words from this year as the youth (no doubt galvanised by my relentless disparaging/harassment) put old to the sword in a masterful display. Kevvy Jacob had one of the best weekends of his life in the blue and gold, scoring a soccer goal (goal-line technology requested for future Nash games as Duffman wasn’t convinced) and leading the boys in Nash, chat and cricket. Something to behold, he even put his back to the post-match covers in a selfless display.
On to the charade that is the toss of the coin, whereby once again I was informed what we were to do rather than being able to choose (0 from 4). This was to bat, and Hilly and Danno put on a solid start on a seaming pitch to have us well placed to accelerate at the end with wickets in hand. After Danno got out, Kevvy picked up where he left off and a further rain delay meant that we were looking at 53 overs to set a total in a gentlemen’s agreement. Evergreen’s Shane Mott took the ball from the top end and bowled all 27 in a row and as always, he made scoring difficult. A few cameos from the lower order meant that we set a defendable total of 209 from the remaining 53 overs.
The Hawks came out firing and were soon racing along well above the required rate. Some tight bowling either side of a rain delay meant that there was now only 40 overs to reach the target and this got us back into the seesawing contest. Excellent aggressive batting from the top 4 meant that the Hawks were still ahead, and at 3/202 with 4 overs to go even the most optimistic would have had to say it was goodnight nurse for the Units.
That is to say all but Jim Ryan, who so far in his testimonial was dismissed for a duck, wicketless at about 6 an over and had lost Nash. He was however still running in hard and rare as the day is long, which enabled him to make the game turn in absurd fashion. The set batsman holed out to Hillsy at long off, and from that point on every other batsman that came in was looking to strike the winning blow and get off the field. The only issue was that the shots were now going to the fielders and we were holding catches, as opposed to earlier in the innings. Tate picked up a wicket (Kevvy an excellent diving catch to cap an all-round display) and then Jim took another 3 next over which gave him a remarkable 4 wickets in 8 balls and Uni had just taken 5/5 in less than 3 overs.
When Tate started the final over it was 3 to win with 2 wickets in hand. Their number 9 swung hard through legside to rapturous applause, only for everyone to realise it wasn’t going to reach the fence as Michael Robbo chased it down and kept it to 2 runs. This meant that scores were now tied and Tate’s next ball was perfect and disturbed the furniture so that the last man came out with 4 balls left and 1 to win, 1 wicket in hand.
Tate bowled straight and fast, the non-striker attempted to steal a bye and Alan Donald forgot to run, causing outrageous scenes as Powys fed Tate who removed the bails at the bowler’s end. The most remarkable finish to a game that I have seen, Hawks lost 7/7 in 17 balls to tie the match and never has anyone celebrated a tie as much as Kieran Tate after the final wicket. Tate it must be said was outstanding, bowling 17 of a possible 20 from the top end for 4 wickets and a run-out to put the icing on the cake. It will be difficult to comprehend the chaos and the result, it really had to be seen to be believed.
With results on our side across the grade we now return to the top 6, and hopefully that is where we remain. On to round 5 where we travel to the foot of the mountains where Chrissy Withers and his cats are lurking.
Sydney Uni 9-209:
J Hill 39, R Danne 36, K Jacob 34
J Ryan 4-69, K Tate 4-75
Fourth grade jumped back on the motorway under cloudy skies with 150 left to chase and 10 wickets in hand. They were greeted with a wet wicket and outfield and occasional spurts of rain which often delayed play in the first session. An improved showing from the Julios saw a close 1-0 Nash victory, however this proved to be one of the only high points of the day. Unfortunately for Uni, the level of application we showed in the field last week wasn’t quite replicated, with wickets falling at regular intervals. Against a spirited Hawkesbury attack, 170 proved too many to chase, as Uni we’re bundled out for a tick under 100.
We will go back to the drawing board during the week and work towards a return to form and an improved showing next weekend as we head into a string of matches against the historically strong opposition.
Sydney Uni 88:
L McElduf 28, O Thompson 19, J Crowley 19
A Peek 3-33, S Canagasingham 2-15
Sydney Uni 137:
V Umbers 29, R Browne 27, L Hughes 25
M Miles 3-34, J Rinka 2-38
The Metro team travelled to Beauchamp again this week to find a ground and conditions that were in stark contrast to last weeks. The outfield was reasonably drenched and the square had a significant mud patch just over the to the side of our match pitch. The pitch itself had varying small wet patches that had no chance of drying on the day.
With fairness in mind, both captains agreed to give things an hour to try and super soak the square and the surrounding field to see if any significant improvement could be achieved. The Gordon players worked hard pushing a super soaker we believe Captain Cook may have used on The Endeavour to soak up spilt rum. In other words, it looked ancient and wasn't very effective at getting the job done.
At the end of the hour, it was agreed that conditions were unlikely to improve over the rest of the day and the match was called. In the famous words of Kenny Rogers' song The Gambler, 'you gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them' and those lyrics rang true today for the Uni boys. We all train hard and make the effort to get to the ground and want to play hard but fair cricket. The main consideration today is the word fair and chasing 337 in those conditions would not have been a fair fight. The season is long and we will get at least one more chance to prove our worth against the current competition leaders.
We now need to reset and recommit our attitude's and efforts, and keep our standards high this week at training so we can hit the ground running for our home match next week against Randwick.
T Synnott 4-75, P Adikarige 2-31