So, apparently “retired, sledged” is now a thing
For an hour or so, the game between Western Suburbs and Randwick Petersham was more or less normal. Anthony Sams won the toss and batted. Michael Tudehope made an early breakthrough, getting through Matt Everett’s defence. David Warner settled in comfortably, and moved sedately enough to 35. And then apparently Jason Hughes said something, which may or may not have head-butted the line, which caused Warner to ask the permission of the umpires and leave the field for two minutes. And then he resumed his innings.
It’s a fair guess that nothing quite like this has ever happened in First Grade. Which is not to say, necessarily, that it’s a bad thing. Warner has a history of responding unwisely to provocation in Grade games, and he knows he’s under scrutiny, so if he took time to compose himself that might have avoided unnecessary trouble. Although our advice is that you do not try this if you’re a number nine batsman in Third Grade. Anyway, if someone was trying to unsettle Warner, they needed a Plan B - he ground out 157 in six hours.
Daniel Solway is human
It would be nicer to write about Daniel Solway when he scores a hundred, but this is Five Things We Learned, and we already know he can score hundreds, since he does it every other week. It comes as more of a surprise when he misses out. University of NSW’s 299 looked slightly under-par at Bankstown Oval - and it could have been much worse, because the Bees were 7 for 136 before in-form Matt Gilkes (with 128) and the tail made the score respectable. But there were three overs left before stumps, and the balance shifted when Declan White bowled Solway first ball. It was Solway’s first duck for Bankstown since the 2016-17 season, when he recorded three (all of them lbw). It’s only fair to add that he’s racked up ten centuries over the same period.
The Bees maintained their early-season momentum by holding on to win by 31 runs, with off-spinner Marcus Attallah doing most of the damage. Solway resumed normal service in the T20 game against Blacktown on Sunday, belting 77 from 50 balls.
Penrith means business
After Round Three, we mentioned that Penrith owed a good deal of its success to the opening partnership of Gibson and Hackney. Well, the Ryans missed out against St George - the consistently excellent Nick Stapleton accounted for them both - and they still destroyed their opponents. Cameron Weir hammered a career-best 180, Brent Williams added a rapid 90, and Penrith closed at 5 for 420 with still enough time to reduce St George to 5 for 20 by stumps. St George staged an impressive recovery on the second day, largely due to the fact that Kurtis Patterson came in at eight and Matthew Hopkins hit a century from number nine, but the result was never in doubt. Penrith is mostly a home-grown side, with few obvious stars, but a group of players who all appearing to be maturing well together. Its position at the head of the First Grade table is no accident.
Liam Scott should be fine in First Grade
For a few seasons now, Sydney coach Mick Haire has been guiding a bunch of talented young players through the grades, and Liam Scott, the latest graduate from the Tigers’ 2016-17 Green Shield premiership team, reached First Grade in Round Four. 17 year old Scott (who’s in this year’s NSW Metropolitan Under 19 squad) has been part of the Blues’ junior set-up for some years now, although his role has changed from time to time. In the NSW Metro Under-17s last year, he batted in the middle order and bowled handy seamers - Sydney has always seen him as a top three stick who can bowl some useful overs. So he made his First Grade debut against Northern District as an opening batsman, and immediately looked at home, surviving a tricky period before stumps on the first day and then resuming confidently to build a partnership of 132 with Matt Rodgers. Scott, tall and lean, cut a four to bring up his half-century and he moved into the nineties comfortably. On 99, though, with Sydney’s win secure, he chipped off-spinner Tom Felton straight to Daniel Anderson. No-one else in the history of the First Grade competition has been dismissed for 99 on debut. Obscure trivia sideline: Scott attended Trinity Grammar School where, for a season or so, he played alongside Austin Waugh. He’s the second Trinity graduate to be out for 99 in First Grade, after John Hurley, who made 99 for his second club (Sydney University) against his first (Wests) in 1983. That remained Hurley’s highest score in Firsts - it’s unlikely the same will be true for Scott.
The tide must have been in at Balmoral
There’s a legend that clings to seaside grounds, that the condition of the pitch is somehow affected by the tide. That is, at any rate, an excuse that Many’s Fifths might want to try after being comprehensively rissoled for 21 by Mosman. It could have been worse. Manly was 8 for 9 and then 9 for 11 before an heroic partnership between Josh Park (top score with 6) and Jack Hobson very nearly doubled the score. Om Prakash bowled unchanged to claim 5 for 7, well-supported by Anup Oli (4 for 7), while Sadeep Deepak, who sent down six balls without dismissing anyone, needs to have a good, hard look at himself. Manly made a determined effort to keep Prakash out in the second innings, blocking so furiously that he bowled 22 maidens in his 37 overs while taking 7-25. There should be one relatively straightforward decision at Mosman selections this week.