A Wet Saturday

Saturday’s weather saw no play in 1st grade and heavily affected games across the other grades.

At Uni No. 1, 2nd Grade elected to bat on a good wicket that (despite the overcast conditions) offered an even contest. And, after only 13.5 overs of play, are currently 3/55 – Nicky Craze and Matt Moran not out on 34 and 3 respectively.

At Sutherland Park, 3rd Grade were sent in to bat by an energetic Sutherland side – keen to have ball in hand. However, a solid opening stand – led by a half-century from Jack Hill (53) – staved off any chance of early wickets. After 52 overs of play, Uni are 2/120 with Ben Larkin on 37 not out and Will Masojada not out on 11.

In 4th Grade, after 2 overs of play, Sydney Uni have Sutherland 1/1 – Tom Hill claiming the sole wicket before play was stopped.

In 5th Grade, Sydney Uni elected to bowl and have Sutherland 0/3 - play stopped after only 2 overs.

A SUCCessful Sunday

On Sunday, Sydney Uni hosted Gordon in their 1st Grade Limited Overs semi-final clash.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Gordon’s top order were dismantled by the evergreen partnership of Joe Kershaw and Ben Joy – the visitors finding themselves 4/33 and then 6/61 (after Malone and Robertson combined to remove the middle order). A brief, but potent lower order order resistance eventually saw the Stags to 8/227 from their 50 overs – well below par on the true Uni No. 1 pitch.

The Students were largely in control throughout their chase, as partnerships were regularly built and wickets fell few and far between. Hayden Kerr opened the innings with a typically entertaining 48 from 39 deliveries (including 3 sixes) – combining with the in-form Mortimer (38) to have Uni 3/107. Ed Cowan then made sure of it – striking another cool half-century (64 from 61 deliveries – including 2 sixes) – to finish not out along with Ryan McElduff (who scored a classy 34), victory secured in the 44th over only 4-down.

Captain’s Call

This Sunday, Sydney Uni 1st Grade face-off against Sydney CC at Drummoyne Oval in a bid to defend their title as the 1st Grade Limited Overs Champions. By way of preview, I caught up with 1st Grade captain Liam Robertson to get his thoughts on the match-up.

Apart from being Runners-Up in this season’s Kingsgrove Sports T20 Tournament, Sydney Uni 1st Grade are also the defending champions in the Limited Overs competition. What is it about this group of Students that makes them so successful in the shorter formats of the game?

LR: As a group we generally play our best cricket regardless of the format when we are positive and look to take the game on. Both T20 and 50 over cricket force that out of us and so naturally white ball cricket tends to suit us. It has also helped that of the 11 players we turn out, all are capable of winning us the game one way or the other, so regardless of who has the ball or is at the crease we are confident they are able to do the job. Last year in winning the limited overs competition, we used 15-16 players which is a good example of depth we are fortunate to have.

Playing against Sydney CC at Drummoyne Oval will not be a stroll down Eastern Avenue. What are the challenges you expect to face against such a consistent opponent like Sydney?

LR: We expect a tough challenge on Sunday. Sydney have been consistent performers for a number of years now and are definitely a club we respect. They play an aggressive brand of cricket and deserve their spot in the GF on Sunday. They have a good quality bowling attack and a long batting line-up, so we need to be ready to compete for 100 overs.

Does anything change this week in terms of the squad’s preparation for the grand final – physically or mentally?

LR: Nothing changes. Without being cliché, we still have another important on fixture on Saturday that we are also preparing for and so I can’t see our week being any different. There will no doubt be an extra buzz around the squad which is great, and we will have a long overdue team dinner on Thursday evening.

Uni’s 1st Grade has made a habit of getting out of difficult positions to win games consistently and convincingly. What are the key points the squad will go back to, particularly with the bat, should things go awry early?

LR: As touched on earlier, having 11 players capable of winning us the game always helps when it comes to difficult situations. It’s not something we prepare for, but have the confidence to continue playing a positive brand of cricket regardless of the situation we find ourselves in. There isn’t a better example than last year’s Grand-Final where Tim Cummins made a match winning hundred from number 7 after we had lost a few early wickets.