Sydney Uni 5-324: E Cowan 120, L Robertson 65*, N Larkin 54
St George 305: T Ley 3-33, L Robertson 3-43

The students were back at home to start the new year in an important round for not only the one day competition, needing a victory to qualify for finals, but the overall ladder. St George had struggled thus far in 2017/18, but the season has taught us not to take any side lightly in the first grade competition.

With the coin falling in favour of the Saints, the students were asked to bat on a grassy surface that lacked the hardness we have become accustomed to. Copeland broke through early, finding the edge of the dangerous Kerr. The good news ended there though, as a fit and fresh Ed Cowan strolled to the middle. Cowan looked scratchy early on, symptomatic of three weeks away from playing, but was then quickly into his work. Larkin went about setting a platform at the other end before falling for 54. Cowan surged onwards, racing from 50 off 52 balls to his century off only 71 deliveries. His dominant display came to an end on 120, leaving the team in a strong position going into the final 10 overs.

The middle order did what they have all season, icing the cake, to end the overs 5/324. Cummins 24 (23), Trevor-Jones 22* (27) and Robertson an incredible 65* (41) which included three maximums. Anything in excess of 300 is historically a safe total at Sydney Uni, but the nature of the wicket this season has meant big chases are increasingly possible.

The elder statesman, Tim Ley, bowled beautifully with the new ball, grabbing a double break through to reduce Saints to 2/51. Aggressive batting from Saints kept the scoreboard ticking along, with Malone and Cowan bowling nicely in tandem. Malone took 1/52 from his ten overs, leaving St George needing 200 with 20 overs to go. Wickets continued to fall steadily but the rate never got too far out of hand for the visiting side.

Jono Rose seemed to find the boundary whenever they needed it most. Lawrence Neil-Smith returned to pick up a wicket on debut, bowling Copeland who had made a swift half century. Rose then took a liking to the lanky quick, clearing the ropes on a number of occasions.

The captain turned to experience with the game on the line, with the pairing of Robertson and Ley to round out the final 9 overs. Robertson had immediate impact, taking three wickets in his opening over to complete a great all round display. From there, the Student’s held their nerve to finish as 19 run victors - Ley claiming the final wicket to end up with an impressive 3/33 from 9.1 overs (incidentally the final wickets he will take in his 20’s).



Sydney Uni 4-230: J Larkin 57, J Holloway 53*, R McElduff 44
St George 6-226: R McElduff 2-28, D Holloway 2-55

St George elected to bat on a greenish deck at Hurstville. Opening bowlers John and Joy bowled full and extracted some movement, with John picking up the first wicket caught at mid-off. It was to be a trend of the day, as Holloway replaced Joy and immediately had impact, picking up the other opener in the same fashion. As the heat set in, spin brothers Kierath and McElduff got into their work. They bowled 10 overs without change in an inspiring display of economy and tact. The fast bowlers were certainly thankful when the second drinks break arrived and already 39 overs had been bowled. St George were sitting at 140 at this stage, well behind any par total. Their ‘in’ batsman therefore turned up the heat on our bowlers and deposited anything loose over cover for six in the last 10. Perhaps Joy became too greedy or DHolloway was too wide, either way St George finished with 226 runs and the Uni were pleased to get out of the sun. 

The orders from Captain Larkin were to play with intent and attack the total. Opening batsman Craze would later say that he thought about scooping the first ball. Instead he looped a forward push to gully for a golden duck. Litchfield looked like a new man at the crease, charging the opening bowlers and in one of five attempts hitting him back over his head for four. Meanwhile McElduffwas a rock at the other end, working ones and twos and punishing anything on his pads. It took a questionable dismissal to end the partnership, with Litchfield given out hit-wicket after charging, missing the ball, scrambling back into his crease, and dislodging his own bails in the process. Despite the attempts of incoming batsman Larkin to get a decision reversal, Litchfield was forced to walk from the field. Larkin followed his ownorders and took a liking to the short boundary, swiping sixes and fours from one end. He raced to a run-a- ball fifty, before being caught on the rope, leaving the students with a required run-rate of less than 4 to win. J Holloway came in and struck the ball sweetly, running well with McElduff until the opener was caught short of his ground attempting a three. Salivating at the possibility of red-ink, Shaw strode to the crease and nudged single after single, frustrating St George into defeat. Holloway slapped a few boundaries and reached fifty on the last ball, Uni winning with 7 overs remaining.



Sydney Uni 5-142: M Powys 47, L Bedford 31
St George 8-140: L Whitaker 3-9, J Toyer 3-31

After a delightfully indulgent 3-week break, primarily spent consuming, the units arrived at fortress Camperdown eager to get back into the season and shake off some xmas mud. Your scribe in particular felt under some pressure, and the skins were put to a full test after apparently “shrinking in the wash” during the holiday season, or something.

Nash as always was a good contest and the sweaty conditions suited everyone who wasn’t marking Josh Toyer. The old had the benefit of the extra man and eventually that advantage paid dividends, with a late soccer goal sealing a hard-fought 2-0 win. Honourable mentions to Galv and Furby, dishonourable mention to the Mattress and his distribution from the back. Your scribe much improved after some time in the hall of mirrors midweek, but still off the pace (see previous comments regarding the xmas break etc and so on).

A green pitch awaited and there promised to be a bit in it early, but it would get better and be a belter later in the day (as there is every week, in every 3rd grade pitch in Sydney). The toss was run and won (new year, new me) and the Units elected to bowl and to apply some pressure early before the temperature got too oppressive.

Openers Toyer and Wood got us off to a solid start and some early wickets and good economy rates meant that the Units were soon well on top. The introduction of Danno and L Newington solidified this advantage before some late order cameos and application from the Saints batters turned the tide. It proved to be too little too late however, and 8/140 from the allotted 50 overs was always going to be tough to defend on a good batting track. Toyer picked up 3, Wood 1 and Leggie 1, Danno miserly (bowled well without luck).

Obviously, the main reason for this was the excellent off-spin bowling of Liam Whitaker. The young man has rediscovered his best form recently and it was on full display as he ran through the heart of the Saints batting line up (I believe most of whom he went to school with, fraternising $$$ bolstering the fines kitty). Liam varied his pace and extracted turn and bounce to which the batters had no answer, 2/0 off 4 becoming 3/9 off 10 straight in a match winning performance that was awesome to watch.

After a sumptuous repast at one of the adjacent cafés, it was on to the chase and the unspoken 30 over target to achieve 7 points. Hillsy, fresh off a prolific Harry Kane-esq 2017 calendar year unfortunately nicked off early, but a disquietingly well-groomed Matt Powys and Lew Bedford set about putting together a strong partnership that took the impetus from the St George attack and left us feeling comfortable that the boni would be attained. Danno and Furby chipped in with Powys but after some good seam bowling from the ageless Steve Wark (who I understand grabbed his 700th wicket for St George trapping Danno in front, congrats on the achievement), the mood of the game changed a bit and the Saints sensed that they were in with a sniff.

Some jitters at 5/107 were quickly (and thankfully) eased when Tom Galvin and your scribe got together and set about scoring the remaining 35 runs as quickly as possible (20 balls I think). A couple of massive horns, including an impressive piece of legside hitting from Galvin meant that the game was won 5 down in the 27th over and 7 points attained. A quick trip back to No1 to watch the end of the 1s match and a few schooners capped off a great day for the club.

Back to back bonies and the season is well and truly back on track. It is now on to round 10 where we travel to leafy Mosman to take on Aadil and his Whales in a rematch of last year’s semi-final. Fraternisation $$$ and a hard-hitting contest await as we battle our old foes in another top-6 clash.



Sydney Uni 9-179: T Fullerton 68, AJ Grant 38, B Dilley 30
St George 141: S Canagasingham 3-28, R Browne 3-29, A Peek 2-26

The second half of the season greeted our cricketers with some stifling heat and a contest that could well count toward a finals berth for the victor. St George have always proved a thorn in the side for the Sydney University lower grade sides so our best cricket would be required, especially when first class cricketers of recent eras are named in the opposition. Thankfully, initial signs all pointed to a positive day for the students with the Nuffies gaining the right to claim an undefeated Nash record in 2018 and the skipper got the call right giving us first use of the new facilities at Olds Park. 

A disciplined effort was produced by the batsmen, led by Tom Fullerton's 68, and we were able to accumulate 179 from our 50 overs. Accumulate strikes me as the fitting word as Olds Park is genuinely an enormous oval and the boys were required to physically run for the majority of their runs. Five boundaries were scored across the entire innings despite the skipper trying his darnedest to find the rope. These conditions and the ambient temperatures made the compiled 179 quite a competitive total but still a strong effort would be required from the bowlers.

The bowlers produced a sound showing and the pressure largely remained on the saints young batting group across the after. Each of the bowlers worked hard to squeeze the batsmen and forced the false shot on a number of occasions. As the ball softened our bowlers only got better with a shout out needing to be given to Shehan, Robbie "Golden Arm" Browne and Olly, who put on a restrictive bowling clinic. Wickets started to fall in relatively quick succession and the uni boys were able to move through the afternoon and into a well earned song after dismissing the saints for 141. 

Now in the 6, the focus for the coming weeks will be to keep our momentum and push for March with a strong group.



Sydney Uni 4-210: M Robinson 66, V Umbers 57, J Dimas 46*
St George 209: M Miles 3-40, M Robinson 3-41

Arriving at St Paul’s to an Umpire removing his shirt from the plastic packaging, we knew that it wouldn’t  be a day without controversy. The pitch looked absolutely smashing and it looked that there was going to be runs scored all throughout the day. The late arrival of Islam was ignored by several members of the team and Nash got underway. Rare versus Non-rare Nash, with a few members of the team harshly judged to be rarer than others, much to the disgust of said players. The brand of Nash played was horrendous to say the least. It can really be summed up by the sight of Islam standing in the goals with headphones in trying to get his playlist right for the day. Rare ran out 6-5 winners at the end after a poor defensive start from the Non-rare. Two way running non-existent throughout the game.

The students were made to field, with Johnno grabbing the early scalp after some tight bowling, to start the opening spell well. Miles and Johnno were replaced by Robinson and Draca, with Robinson sliding one on to trap the number 3 in front. The umpire was quick to lift the finger to seemingly give his first dismissal in grade cricket - a special moment. The next period of the game did not go the way of the fielding team. A 40 metre, extremely generous guess, boundary and a pitch that gave nothing to the bowlers, the opening batsmen and their number 4 put on a 130 run partnership that featured some hacking and some undisciplined bowling. It took a drinks break and a spray from the captain to get the students back into gear and back into the game. Some tight bowling from N Barnet and Wilko as well as the heat got to the batsmen and cracks started to show the batting lineup. Disciplined bowling from meant St George lost 8/43, to be bowled out for 209 inside their 50 overs.

After a well earned 45 mins out of the sun, play resumed with Duff and Vince opening up. With the pitch offering essentially nothing now, Uni got off to a good start before 2 quick wickets mean we were 2/39 and under pressure from some constricting bowling from the St George openers. After scratchy starts, respectively, Umbers and Robinson eventually found their groove and put on 104 to swing the momentum back into the students favour. Both Batsmen exploited the short boundary and the tired legs of the fielding team to their fullest, showing a combination of power and finesse throughout their innings. Robinson kicked one first rock off the leggie to depart for 66. The umpiring was once again in the spotlight when Vince was judged caught off the leggie, after he had hit the ball into the ground. The ball proceeded to rebound off the back of his bat and into the hands of the wicketkeeper. It was quite calm scenes was the captain, to the surprise of many at the game and those hearing it second hand, but in the end the students proved too strong. Some power hitting from J Dimas towards the end meant the game was wrapped up with 9 overs to spare and 6 points secured.

Four wins in a row for 5s, allowed for back to back clean sweeps for the club, showing that they can actually contribute to the club championships points tally. The win leaves them just outside the top 10 and with many bowlers and some batsmen starting to find some form, they could be a dark horse in the competition for a place in the Finals. 



Sydney Uni 121: M Ghumman 39
Mosman 125: S Pathak 5-18

First match after Christmas saw Metro travel to beautiful Balmoral Oval to play Mo$man ($35 dollars for parking outside the ground!). Unfortunately on the day it seemed the team was suffering a bit of a New Years hangover with everything being a little sluggish in execution.

Toss is won and we bowl first on a green deck. The field is relatively slow and runs are hard to come by. Each of the early bowlers pick up a pole each before young leggie Shiv Pathak
comes on and demonstrates great control as well as a much improved and wicked wrong'un that
no batsmen was able to read. A wicket in his second over, three in his fifth including a super caught and bowled and Shiva rips through the middle order finishing with 5-18 off 7 overs.

Mosman finish bowled out for 125 off 39.2 overs which in honest assessment was 20 runs too many.

We'll keep things short describing our batting innings because there weren't many highlights.
Frankly we are not batting smart and playing "situational cricket". We must recognise what is happening in the game and adjust our play accordingly. We need to value our wicket more, show a little fight and not just do our own thing thinking the next batsman is going to get the runs if we throw it away. Every player in the team has the talent to make runs from 1-11 and it's disappointing to see potentials not being reached 2 out of the last 3 rounds. The good news is all these things can be addressed down to the man at training in the coming weeks.

We finished 4 runs short of the opposition total with reliable Muhummad Ghumman making 39, skipper Cade 23 and Pathak 16. A day to move on from quickly and start fresh this week with a home game to look forward to and getting back to a positive traditional Uni style of play.



SU Lions 5-181 off 35 overs: Stevens 62, Ghumman 42, Mees 35* 
Paddington 106: Ghumman 6-10

With temps over 40C at 1pm, there was some mumbling about playing a T20 or calling it off altogether.  But St Andrews looked a picture with a hard deck, and after a bit of discussion between the skippers the ‘we’re here we might as well play’ view prevailed.  Happily, we won the toss and had no hesitation is sending Paddo into the field in the heat.  Special thanks to Andrew Wilkinson, who answered a call at 1.30 to come down and help out (after a last minute withdrawal), notwithstanding the 40+ temp.

Angus Stevens opened up with Oscar Kirk from the Green Shield side.  Angus was suffering from his activities the night before, but still hit some out of the middle early. After Oscar departed without scoring Angus was joined by Mo Ghumman, who we have come to expect runs from.  And they were both savage on anything lose, peppering the short square boundaries.  Next wickets did not fall until 108, when Mohammed departed for 42.  That prompted a collapse, as Stevens went for 62, then both Le Couteur and Bibin Anthony without scoring.  We had lost 4-3. Fortunately Pieter Mees and Ajeet Kumar (14), got the scoring going again, and Pieter (35*) had some late help from Andrew Wilkinson (14*).  Each of Stevens, Ghumman, Mees and Wilkinson hit one six, with the highlight being a back foot smash by Mees over the longish extra cover boundary, pretty much the same spot where Stevens had deposited one off the front foot about 25 overs earlier.  The last 5 overs yielded 49 runs, and Vets finished 5-181.

In reply Ajeet bowled some tidy overs, with Andrew Wilkinson generating a bit more pace and outswing from the other end.  Wilkinson had multiple LBW appeals turned down again Paddo’s left handed opener, Carroll, which caused both him and then Carroll to get a bit heated.  Ghumman replaced Ajeet and bowled one of the openers in his first over, and then Wilkinson finally got a decision in his favour against the Paddo number 3.  At the first drinks (12 overs) Paddo were 2-37, and it seemed that Carroll was the only batsman likely to stand between the Lions and victory. And within a few overs of the resumption Ghumman had put an end to that, with further wickets in his 4th and 5th overs, including Carroll, and then 3 wickets in his sixth over.  Mohammed finished with 6 overs, 6-10.  Well bowled sir; full, straight, skiddy and with a bit of inswing!!  Those wickets included two catches in slips, one each to Stevens and Yap - both sharp catches.  By 20 overs the game was over as a contest.  After that we saw a welcome return to the bowling crease for Ross Anderson, and Oscar Kirk take the final 2 wickets.  Special mention to Al Yap, who bowled 5 overs 0-18, while Ghumman was causing carnage from the other end, and went past the bat numerous times.  Paddo were all out for 106 in the 32 over.  A comprehensive victory for the Lions.