What a great round against Sutherland last weekend with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades on day 1 each hitting their highest score of the season -387, 377 and 277 respectively–a total of 1,041. With 4th and 5th grades’ contribution on day 2 we ended up scoring 1,507 runs in the round!

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What a great round against Sutherland last weekend with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades on day 1 each hitting their highest score of the season -387, 377 and 277 respectively–a total of 1,041. With 4th and 5th grades’ contribution on day 2 we ended up scoring 1,507 runs in the round! The four wins were also our best performance against Sutherland (EVER!) while the 102 Club Championship points we earned was just on a third of the points we had accumulated all season. And with the win by the Poidevin Gray and Green Shield boys we have risen from 15th to 10th, 176 points behind the new leader Sydney. However, we are only 41 behind 7th placed Penrith who we take on in all-day limited overs matches in all five grades this weekend in the last round before Santa comes.

Round 8 record: For those who are a bit superstitious, round 8 has been good to us over the years. It’s generally the match before Christmas as it is this year and of the 70 matches we have played over the past 14 seasons we have won 41 and lost 21 with 8 drawn. 1sts have the best record with 11 wins and only 3 losses while our worst (but still pretty good) is 3rd Grade with 6 wins and 6 losses. 2s have won 8; 4s 7 and 5s 9. Last season in the last game before Christmas we were whitewashed 5 nil by Easts in our worst ever performance. But that was round 7. This is 8 so no need for deja vu!

1st GRADE is at Howell Oval, Penrith: With wins in our last two matches-one by 196 runs and the other by 195– we are now on fire and in 5th spot on 24 points. In the Limited Overs comp. we are 8th but a win this weekend and in the next and final round after Christmas against Hawkesbury should give us a chance at a final 8 spot and another shot at the Limited Overs Cup. The Panthers are going well this season and have the same points as us (24) in 1sts. They are 7th. Last week they chased down Gordon’s 320 to win by 4 wickets with their no. 6 Jonathon Sammut getting a ton. Of the 15 times we have played Penrith we have won 9 times to their 4. And congratulations to our “Ireland Connection” fast bowler Barry McCarthy who makes his 1st Grade debut. He will be capped player no. 103. He replaces the injured Sam Doggett.

Our left-arm opening bowler Daniel Sams is the leading bowler in the Belvidere Cup competition with 21 wickets at 15.33. He has most wickets and the best average. In the batting, Nathan Price is up there in 9th spot in the competition with 391 runs—200 behind the leader Philip Wells from Bankstown.

2nd GRADE is at Petersham: Great win last week but we’ll have to do it again to stay in touch. And it will be a tough one this weekend as Penrith are way out in front on 38 points while we are 12th on 18. They have a slight advantage historically with 7 wins to our 5 but we won last year by 8 wickets (4-282 declared in 46 overs to 117). And it’s a big welcome to 16 years old Jason Sangha who has joined us from Wallsend, Newcastle. Jason is a member of the under 19 Australian World Cup team and Greg Chappell has recommended he get some Sydney cricket under his belt before the tournament. He played 1st Grade in Newcastle at age 14. At 16 years and 102 days Jason makes his Sydney Grade and RPC debut this round.

3rd GRADE plays at Bill Ball Oval: Back in the winner’s circle last weekend was just the tonic for the side. And while we are only 17th with 2 wins, the Panthers are last with one. Last year on this ground we played an historic tie when both sides scored 265. Both sides have been pretty well equal over the year with us with our nose in front 6 wins to 5 plus the tie. A real chance to move up the ladder here.

4th GRADE is at Coogee: 4th Grade have always had the wood on Penrith winning 8 to 3 including the last 3. The last time they beat us was in 2007-08. Last year we won 233 to 190 at Petersham. Tom Evans took 5-60 and Nikethan Radhakrishnan scored 78. This season they are 10th on 17 points and we are 15th on 12 but just 6 points out of the top 6. Plenty to play for here.

5th GRADE plays at Rance: Not a game to remember last year on this ground losing 9-52 to go down 99 to 134. But we have won 8 times to their 6 over the years with 3 drawn so have the advantage. We are ahead in the comp this year running 10th on 18 points while they are 12th on 14. A long way to go but will feel much shorter if we can bring home the points! Welcome back to Matt Wallis who re-appears after a number of years in the “wilderness”.

POIDEVIN GRAY: This is the BIG GAME of the season so far as the two top teams in the competition play off at Petersham Oval from 10am. Sutherland (20 points) lead us by one point going into this match. And after this there is just one game to go (v Sydney Uni at Coogee on 10 January). The top 8 play off in the finals series and one win in these last two matches will give us a very good chance of making it although bonus points are available in this competition so we are no “good things”. We need to win. The two sides have clashed 5 times over the years and we have one just one with another drawn.

James Psarakis needs just 18 more runs to become the highest scoring batsman in the PG competition for the club. Nick Stapleton currently holds the record with 304 runs made in 2011-12. And is a big welcome to 16 years old Jason Sangha who makes his PG debut in this game. Best of luck to the boys!

Metropolitan Cup from Jeremy Jastrzab: It’s that time of the year when the Metros rule the roost – the annual Metropolitan Cup Derby at Coogee Oval. Green v Gold. Mate v Mate. Old v Young. Muppet v Muppet. This is the fourth year that the derby has been played out at Coogee, and going on form from previous years, the Green team has compiled an impressive record in derby matches so far… they’ve won all 3 at Coogee and a fourth as recently as February at Kenso last season. While history stands against them, Gold have form this season and talent recruitment. Dale McDonagh and Paul Lawson are becoming one of the most feared opening combinations in Metro, while fast bowler Sam Boyns has sent players back to the pavilion and in some cases, the emergency ward (these may or may not be his own players). But there is young talent on hand as well, with Hayden Fox getting in the wickets last round and Liam O’Loughlin starred in the field during the last derby. Captain John Stewart is ominously due for a score as well… Green are coming into the match having won their first match of the season and the side is as settled as it could be in Metro. The opening combination of Sean Rushton and Rohan Batra is just as productive, with Sean providing the fire and Rohan providing a consistent ballast. The bowlers, led by Mad Max Brandy, sent shudders through Georges River last round and will be looking to repeat the dose on Gold. With three Green captains having already played grade this year, the position is unstable and vacant for now… In all, a cracking match and a lovely day are to be expected, with drinks and BBQ to be held at the conclusion of play.

Merry Christmas one and all!! Lyall Gardner

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