Sydney Uni 7-413: N Larkin 246, L Robertson 66, B Trevor-Jones 59
Mosman 276: J Kershaw 4-41, T Ley 3-74, B Joy 2-53
The coin fell favourably once more for the good guys and the captain swiftly elected to bat on a grassless surface at Alan Border Oval.
A slow start by the opening pair of Trevor-Jones and Larkin wasn’t assisted by a thick outfield and defensive field set. The scoreboard began to tick over as spin was introduced to the attack, the Students heading to lunch at 0/92. Runs began to flow after the break, only for Trevor-Jones to chop on for a well compiled 59. Mortimer came to the crease and batted nicely for 20 before slipping and treading on his stumps, leaving University in a good but not dominant position at 2/180.
The in-form Liam Robertson strode to the middle to join his captain, and the pair went about erecting an imposing total. Larkin found his stride as he passed 100, milking the spinners with ease and square driving the medium pace bowlers into submission. Robertson began to up the rate, playing some savage strokes on his way to 66, as he combined for a 180 run stand with Larkin. Larkin opened the shoulders as he moved toward and beyond 200. Suddenly a declaration within the day looked on the cards.
Larkin powered on, finding strong support from the middle order as he flayed the Mosman attack to finish on 246 off 276 balls - narrowly missing the club joint record of 253, held by JM Taylor and EJM Cowan. The declaration came at 413, leaving four overs to be bowled prior to stumps. The Mosman openers negotiated the period well and finished 0/11.
Coming back on Sunday, the bowling attack knew it would take a full day of effort to dismantle a strong batting line up on a lifeless surface. Good attacks find a way to create chances when the going is tough, and the University quicks were up to the task. A strong wind meant tough work from one end all day, and no one shied away from the toil that was required. Kershaw and Ley bowled beautifully with the new ball, owning their lengths and forcing the batsmen to play. Ley broke through early, trapping Dassanayake LBW.
Ben Joy, back into the side after a brief period in second grade, delivered real pace and extracted whatever variable bounce the surface offered, both threatening to sneak under the bat and also hitting the stickers and gloves regularly. LBWs to Joy and Kerr kept the Students on top and hopeful that a result could be forced in tough conditions. As the ball began to reverse swing, Kershaw was reintroduced into the wind and began to threaten regularly.
Just as Adlam and Pisel had found their groove and looked to be playing toward a draw, Tim Cummins came up to the stumps to the usually fierce pace of Kershaw. As one tailed down the leg side with the reverse swing, Cummins was able to execute one of the finest stumpings in SUCC history. Pandemonium ensued as Pisel had to leave the crease and the belief was firmly there that victory was possible. Kershaw took four wickets with a spell of reverse swing bowling that changed the game. Clean bowling Adlam for 130, then forcing Day to drag one into his stumps, and finally having Keely strangled down leg side (another good catch by Cummins).
Joy was reintroduced with the wind, continuing to bowl with real pace. Hearn clipped one off his pads and Malone took a hot chance at short mid wicket. At eight wickets down and 174 runs in arrears, it appeared there could only be one winner. Stubborn resistance forced Larkin to take the new ball. Whilst it cost a few runs, the hardness of the new Kookaburra allowed Ley and Joy to hit the wicket hard.
Ley continued to steam in with venom, thumping some fierce bouncers into the pitch to a field packed with catchers around the bat. Kerr took a smart catch running toward leg gully, before Ley again delivered a throat high short ball to the number 11, who could only fend it haplessly to Malone at short mid wicket. It was nothing short of elation as Malone pocketed the final catch and the Students secured six incredibly valuable points and moved to second on the ladder. The hardest and most satisfying win of the season thus far, set up by clinical batting and relentless fast bowling in trying conditions.
Sydney Uni 159: D Visser 50, A Shaw 48*
2nd grade took to the University Basin in what loomed as a top of the table clash against a strong Whales side. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Uni faced a strong bowling attack on a wicket that made run scoring difficult early on. Unfortunately we did not weather the storm well enough, although credit to the Whales' bowling attack. Darius and Shawry came together and batted well, with D making a good 50 on return from injury, and Shawry contributing as well with anohter red stinker just short of his own fifty.
The tail didn't wag as it has done many times this season, and we were bowled out for around 160, which was not par, but wasn't massively beneath it due to the tricky wicket.
Lawrence and Dugald came out and both bowled well, and were unlucky not to pick up more than 1 each, with Dugald channelling his inner Josh Toyer after each chance letting out a primal unintelligible scream. Mosman batted well and turned over the strike consistently, ending up cruising to the total 2 down, in what can only be described as a comprehensive victory. Uni will look to bounce back next week against Parramatta and further our position in the race for finals.
Sydney Uni 7-259: R Danne 108, M Powys 75
Mosman 159: J Toyer 4-31, J Lawson 2-44
Regular followers of my published works will know that on occasion I am prone to wax lyrical when compiling my account of the proceeding Saturday’s play. This would serve to be one of those occasions, so strap yourself in Jack Holloway.
What a day. The Units arrived to take on the 2nd top Whales at Rawson Oval in search of many things, redemption for a tough loss in last year’s semi-final, a chance to cement our spot in the top 6, and that rarest of all things, triple-back-to-back-bonies (something that I understand has never been achieved by any team in the history of the competition [fact check please 5 things]).
Nash was a hard-fought win to the young and after a jittery start to the season, it now appears that the old and young teams are pretty evenly matched, with the extra man being telling in each of the last few rounds. Honourable mentions to Galv, Furby, Powys, Toyer and Tate, dishonourable mention to your scribe who was laughably inept in front of goal to the outrage of old, particularly Furby who occupied his customary position in the aggression chair.
The toss was run and lost, my new year’s resolution, like many January gym memberships and healthy eating plans lasting all of one week. Aadil had no hesitation in sending us in on a soft pitch that promised to do a bit early but then settle down etc and so on.
Openers Hill and Powys got us off to an interesting start, as Hillsy seemed to be facing a nightmare of quality fast bowling whereas Powys seemed to be facing the U/14s, such was his dominance. The run rate ticked along nicely but after Powys departed for an excellent 75, Mosman came back into the contest and the rate dipped to 4 an over which was not expected to be enough on a rapidly improving pitch. Concerns were to prove unfounded however, as firstly Galvin, then your scribe, and Toyer combined with the man of the match Ryan Danne to create a match-winning total of 259 from the allotted 50.
The performance of Danno cannot be understated, his innings was without doubt the finest of his life and after snicking off for a few well-made 30s (both on and off-field) he finally broke through. He was circumspect and did the tough work early which enabled him to flourish and really cash in towards the end of the innings. In a statistic that will no doubt find its way onto his Tinder profile, we scored 113 off the last 14 overs, Danno scored 70 of these with 5 sixes (2 Mail 6s, 3 proper 6s incl 1 “which went to the moon”). It was remarkable ball striking and positive running and the Whales simply had no answer. The unbridled jubilation from the Units after another hard run double to reach 100 is something that I can’t remember seeing before, such is the level of love for the young man amongst the team. Hopefully someone got it on snapchat or something. Shout out to Merv who, after 10 years of toil has finally seen his son make a 100, it’s unclear whether this will impact on his desire to attend future fixtures (hopefully not, he is by far the best clubman in the family).
So, 259 on the board and a shortened lunch break meant that the Units were scrambling to get back from downtown Mosman after tucking into some luxuriously appointed sandwiches. Some extremely positive batting from both Mosman openers and a 30kph southerly meant that bowling changes were made early, and this served to allow Golden Arm Danno a chance to break the partnership and get the Units back on top. The rare twins combined once again in a great partnership (20 overs, 3 wickets, 64 runs, 19.0 rare) and Toyer (rejuvenated no-doubt by switching ends) put the middle order to the sword with some quality fast bowling, including wild, guttural ululations after each wicket which struck fear in the heart of everyone that heard them (i.e. those within 8kms). Tatey was also on-song, and Danno as always went for less than 2 an over. The only blot on the copybook was the last wicket, whereby both batters placed a high value on their wickets to put the boni just out of reach. It took an exceptional piece of fielding from Galvin to grab the last one, and in the end a comfortable 100 run victory was very satisfying.
A trip down to the Buena for a schooner and fines capped off a remarkable day, and I understand a few of the younger brigade ventured out to try and help the hero attain the 3rd C, but unfortunately it was also just out of reach.
Things are tightening up at the top of the table now, with the exception of the runaway eels, which we will be looking to rectify next week.
Sydney Uni 2-70: A Bell 33*
Mosman 69: O Thompson 2-1, J Rinka 2-15, S Wood 2-16, A Peek 2-18, AJ Grant 2-19
The students were buoyed to return to the adopted fortress Cahill Park for a round 10 clash with the Whales. Special thanks must go to all those who made the journey out to Wolli Creek the night before to do the covers and ensure play got underway on time the following day.
Nash was a free flowing affair with the Nuffies prevailing to continue an undefeated 2018 record. The Julios will rue failing to capitalise on a clear run through that would have sealed the win, only for Queenslander Browne to claim he wasn’t aware of the scoring rules despite it being January.
Nevertheless we were greeted by a soft green seamer, which had the Meds Cartel salivating at the prospect of ball in hand that morning. However, skipper AJG was momentarily dismayed following the toss of the coin, only for the opposition to hesitantly elect to bat, a strange decision to say the least. Whilst fortune may have handed the Units favourable conditions, ruthless execution was still the order of the day in the first session.
Unperturbed by the lack of an aggression-filled Friday night pump up message from Grant or a strong Pepsi, Wood provided the perfect start, crashing into the surfboards of the opening stick to take a wicket on the first ball of the match. From here, it can be said that the pattern of the game continued in a similar flow, with the students refusing to relinquish momentum, rolling through the opposition batting order. Wickets were shared with all bowlers relentless, 2 poles each for Wood, Rinka, Grant, Peek and Thompson. Even more credit must be extended to the bowling attack, creating 14 chances in 26 overs to bowl the Whales out for 69, a total that could have been even lower had the Units maintained the high standard of catching displayed in the previous 9 rounds.
The small chase was made easier by the aggression and intent of Bell, using his feet fearlessly against the spin and slashing hard against any width provided by the seamers. An 8 wicket, bonus point win was thoroughly deserved with contributions shared throughout the side. The Units will now look to carry this momentum into a round 11 clash with a strong Parramatta outfit.
Sydney Uni 97: H Farrow 50
Mosman: 120: N Barnet 5-22, M Miles 2-10, S Pathak 2-34
Sydney Uni 6-315: N Mortimer 161*, M Veltro 63, G Cade 32, M Ghumman 26
UNSW Black 243: P Adikarige 4-36, M Shanahan 3-52, J Aylward 2-20
A Metro home game on a surprisingly hot and sticky day against the side one place below us on the ladder, UNSW Black. A test of how we can bounce back after last game. Toss is lost and we are sent in on a green but flat looking deck. As per recent history, movement is expected early and we weren't disappointed. UNSW had a very accurate opener who while not express gave us much trouble with his excellent yorker and sideways control of the ball. 3/30 odd and as a team we needed to decide if we were to have a repeat of last week or regroup and post a competitive total on what would no doubt be a road after the break.
A vital partnership began to develop between mini-Mortimer, Nick, and Max Veltro. Max returns after being out of the side due to our strong depth and has been training hard thus his opportunity in the team. Both guys played really positive cricket and both shared equal amount of strike. A 104 run stand with Max finally departing for a well earned over run a ball 63 including 3 sixes.
Captain Cade joins Morts and in the context of the match, another partnership is required in the middle overs to assure the tail is not exposed too early. Plenty of singles on offer per over and the loose balls are also put away. The run rate ticks over nicely until the second drinks break. Like a switch had been thrown the break was the worst thing for the batsmen as suddenly the runs started drying up. Many mid pitch discussions and the resolution is to try and fight through it rather than throw it away at this particular road block.
Fortunately things came good in a big way. Morts started freeing up again and scoring freely with boundaries coming at every opportunity. The bowling side were broken as Morts passed his maiden century for the club. Once the milestone was achieved and starting to tire, Morts made the decision to go for broke and unleash the beast, looking to find the construction site at every opportunity. Cade is yorked with a few overs left for a club high 32 and the 135 run fifth wicket stand is broken. Mortimer dispenses the last two balls of the innings for six finishing on 161 not out with 16 fours and 6 sixes.
The team finishing the 50 overs on 315. Nice! With 315 on the board it's hard not to relax a bit but we decided to go hard early and try to force UNSW to throw up the white flag. Sudden injury to opening bowler Ashwin meant his participation was limited to a few overs at the end so Prasan Adikarige took the new ball. An early breakthrough for Prasan and UNSW are 1 for 0. Tight bowling from Max Shanahan followed, sharing some poles with Jono Alyward.
At this point being a few down for not many you can either try and shut up shop or simply start swinging at everything and UNSW chose the latter once their Captain came to the crease. Captain Tan played some fantastic 9 iron shots with the ball lofting as high as the nearby cranes on occasion but frustratingly out of range of our fielders. He was joined by young left hander Finklestein who took a shining to Max Veltro's part time offies.
For a minute or two, it was entertaining to watch but we needed to refocus and not let things get away from us. Ashwin had recovered sufficiently to come on and restrict the runs with Max Shanahan picking up the vital wickets from the City Rd end. Prasan came on to relieve Max and picked up the final 2 wickets in his first over. Prasan finishing up with club best figures of 4-36. Great work from Prasan who has deserved this kind of haul in previous fixtures but has simply been unlucky.
UNSW finally finishing with 243 off 43 overs. We meet again in a few weeks and I'm sure both teams are looking forward to the rematch after such an enjoyable match.
We return to Paul's this week looking to put back to back wins together. We line up against Blacktown. The current rivalry with the Warriors goes back to the bitter grand final of 2013/14 where the students took the prize in a rain effected clash away from home.