Students Dominate on Day 1

A return to the format that will determine the season’s champions saw Uni face-off against Gordon in the first round of two-day cricket for the new year. (This is apart from 1st Grade who have won both of their 2 two-dayers in 2019 – including an outright victory against Penrith last week). And, with daylight established between the Students and the rest on the Club Championship ladder, Uni are now eyeing a new record for Club Championship points in a season.

In 1st Grade, Uni relished the chance to bat first on a batsman friendly Chatswood Oval wicket. However, after a run-stifling opening spell from Gordon’s quicks, the Students lost three of the season’s centurions for only 53 runs. Amidst the carnage, Damien Mortimer capitalised on his flurry of starts – partnering with Ryan McElduff (32) in a vital 85-run stand on his way to a resolute 71. Their twin dismissals threatened the Uni total further, before Tim Cummins frustrated the Stags with a brilliant 80 in partnership with Dugald Holloway (63) and the rest of the tail (combined score of 37). Uni were eventually bowled out for a defendable 316 – an outstanding performance given their early position of 7/161.

At home, 2nd Grade followed the fightback of their brothers to the north – bowling Gordon out for 196 after losing the toss and the first session on a true Uni No. 1 pitch. With (stand-in captain) Dave Miller’s lone wicket the only celebration in the first two hours, Uni primed themselves for an unforgiving day in the field as they entered lunch with Gordon 1/100. But again, the Students hit back hard in the middle session and were led by Josh Toyer who dismantled the Stags’ middle order – claiming 3 wickets in a single destructive spell on his way to 4-35 from his 15 overs. Nahir Ghandi then toyed with the tail to claim 4-25 of his own; Gordon bowled out for 196. With the 30 overs left in the day, Uni made a solid dent as they finished 2/72 with Max Hope and Alex Shaw the not out batsmen on 23 and 12 respectively.

At Killara Park, 3rd Grade continued their form with the ball in a day of comprehensive dominance that sets up a potential outright next week. Led by Murray Watts with 4 wickets, Uni’s fast bowling cartel were rampant in running through the Stags’ line-up as wickets to Lewis McMahon (3), Brody Frost (2) and Henry Clarke (1) saw Gordon bowled out for 60. In response, the Students lost wickets early before Alasdair Grant (32) steadied and Henry Clark partnered with Tom Kiereth (30 not out and 27 not out respectively) to put the Students in prime position heading into next week at 6/159 (a lead of 99).

At St Paul’s Oval, 4th Grade elected to bat on an even wicket that demanded a strong total. However, despite the promising starts from Tom Fullerton, Liam Coehlo and Ed Arnott, none were able to convert, and the hosts found themlseves bowled out for 128 in the 49th over. Despite their disappointing total, Uni were buoyed by the strength of their bowling attack as they took the field. Left arm quick Jazz Rinka delivered on cue with a wicket in his first over to further this energy. Then, crucial wickets from Tom Fullerton and a double-strike from Michael Robinson at the day’s end reduced the visitors to 4/63 with the game in the balance.

In 5th Grade, a commitment to patience from Uni’s bowlers was the key to the Students’ success. After electing to bowl on a difficult wicket, Uni capitalised on the fall of the coin with a wicket in their first over. Regular wickets – 2 each for from Sanjiv Khalkho, Tom Crawford, Billy Barge and Shehan Canagasingham – then saw Gordon bowled out for 116. In reply, the Students are 1-24 with Zahirul Islam and Lewis Ansell the not out batsmen.