Allan Border Oval is not its full name
The full name of the ground formerly known as Mosman Oval is the "Allan Border would still get runs here, at the age of 62, batting right-handed, Oval".
There have already been plenty of tall scores at Mosman this season, but it's hard to imagine that any of the pitches there this season were more soul-destroying for bowlers than the surface produced for Round 10. The bare scores (which show that 17 wickets fell) are deceptive. Sydney University actually reached 2 for 360 before losing late wickets in the pre-declaration slog. Mosman, in reply, made it to 3 for 192 before losing late wickets to a combination of pressure and reverse swing. There was no bounce or carry for the quicker bowlers, no turn for the spinners. It may be time, at the season's end, to dig up the square and start again, in the hope that something resembling a contest between bat and ball might be restored. We can think of a few bowlers who would be happy to turn up with shovels to get things started.
Give Nick Larkin a road, and he will drive
Whatever the surface, 246 is a lot of runs. Nick Larkin's epic innings for Sydney University against Mosman was only the latest reminder of his dominance over bowlers in Premier Cricket. He batted for nearly six hours, faced 276 balls, hitting five of them over the fence and 25 fours. He was merciless on anything aimed at his pads, drove fluently, despatched anything short, and disrupted the spinners' line with some well-executed reverse sweeps. Records fell around him throughout the day. He equalled the 13th highest score ever recorded in Sydney First Grade (246 was also scored by Balmain's Bill Donaldson and was the highest Grade innings by someone from St George called Bradman). He became only the second Sydney University batsman to score two double hundreds in First Grade (after Greg Mail, who did it three times). He passed 5500 First Grade runs in his career, and he fell only seven runs short of the highest score in First Grade for Sydney University. That record, oddly, is shared by two Test batsmen: Johnny Taylor hit 253 against Waverley in 1923-24 (after winning the inter-college swimming relay for Wesley College in the morning) and Ed Cowan equalled that score against Manly in 2006-07. The highest score ever recorded for University's 1st XI was notched by Tom Garrett in 1888-89, five seasons before the Grade competition was established. The Test all-rounder hit 274 against the Albert Club. As the game's laws didn't then allow for a declaration, University batted throughout the whole of the two-day game, reaching 635, and not allowing their opponents to face a single delivery.
If Daniel Solway passes 20, you're in trouble
Sutherland heads to Bankstown Oval for Round 11 this week, and they need to give serious thought to what to do about Daniel Solway. Bankstown's opener notched his fifth century of the Premier Cricket season against Northern District on Saturday, a relentless 174, sharing in a second-wicket stand of 263 with Brendan Smith. Solway doesn't just make hundreds - he makes big hundreds, with scores of 168, 177 and 174 to his credit already this season. The one glimmer of hope for opposing bowlers is that, to match his five centuries, Solway also has five scores under twenty this season. Bankstown's opponents need to use the new ball wisely and pick up Solway in the first half-hour or so - otherwise, they're in for a long day.
The competition table is taking shape
Two-thirds of the way through the season, the First Grade competition ladder has finally taken on a distinct shape. There's the top six: Campbelltown (still on top despite its first defeat), Sydney University, Sutherland, Parramatta, Sydney and Bankstown - all clustered within five points of each other. Then there are four clubs (Easts, Manly, Randwick-Petersham and Wests) close enough to the top six that a few good results could get them in there. And then there are the bottom ten clubs, whose prospects of playing in the finals rest upon a combination of highly optimistic maths and a very improbable sequence of results. The four clubs filling positions seven to ten on the ladder will take some encouragement from the Round 11 draw: Sydney University (2nd) plays Parramatta (4th) and Sutherland (3rd) plays Bankstown (6th), so it's likely that at least two of the top six clubs won't advance away from the pack.
And then there was one...
Campbelltown-Camden's first defeat of the First Grade season means that there's only one unbeaten side remaining in Premier Cricket: Parramatta's Third Grade, which has managed 9 wins and a rain-affected draw from ten matches. Efficient bowling has been the key to Parramatta's success - in ten games to date, only Gordon (who hit 332 in that drawn game) has reached 200 against them. Anand Verma, once a Gordon First Grader, has led the attack, with good support from captain Jason Coleman and Liam Lofts. Keeper Taylor Charles has batted well, and there have been several good contributions form Green Shield player Harrison King. Barring some major implosion, Parramatta's lead in the Club Championship already looks unassailable, even with five rounds remaining: similarly, its Third Grade side could lose its remaining five games and still play in the finals (not that anyone expects that to happen).