Christmas is past and the holidays are over. It’s now back to business. And we have to mean business as we’ve a bit of leeway to make up. The good thing is that our worst game is behind us.

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Christmas is past and the holidays are over. It’s now back to business. And we have to mean business as we’ve a bit of leeway to make up. The good thing is that our worst game is behind us. That was the round before Christmas when Penrith gave us a real whitewashing. But this round is against Hawkesbury and we have an outstanding record against them. Since 2001-02 we have played them in 62 Grade games and won 42, losing 18 with 2 drawn. We need to expand that win record this Saturday in the round of limited overs matches starting at 10 am in all grades. The big issue is the rain they have had at Richmond this week.

Christmas Summary
Going into the Christmas break, the position of teams in each grade was as follows (last season’s details are in brackets):

  WINS DRAWS LOSSES POINTS POSITION
1st Grade 4 (4) 1 (2) 3 (1) 24 (24) 7th (4th)
Limited Overs 1 (0)   2 (1) 12 (0) 12th (18th)
Twenty20 7 (5)   0 (1) 24 (24) 1st (3rd)
2nd Grade 3 (3) 1 (1) 4 (3) 18 (18) 15th (10th)
3rd Grade 2 (1 win/1 tie) 1 (2) 5 (3) 12 (9) 19th (14th)
4th Grade 2 (2) 3 (1) 3 (4) 12 (12) 16th (17th)
5th Grade 3 (3) 2 (1) 3 (3) 18 (18) 13th (12th)

Club
Championship

      448 (440) 13th (10th)

 

1st GRADE is at Owen Earle Oval, Richmond: A bit of a tragedy going down by 2 runs to Penrith in the last game before Christmas but a great chance to redeem ourselves here. We have 10 wins to 4 over the Hawks who are 19th with just one win this season. We are in 12th place in the Limited Overs comp with just this round to go. But 5 of the top 8 teams are just one win ahead and if we have a big game (? and grab a bonus point) we could well find ourselves in the top 8 and in the Qualifying Finals. Our champion wicket-keeper/ batsman Anthony Sams is unavailable this round and he will be replaced by Max Moran who turned 19 last Saturday. Max has 8 catches behind the sticks in 2s with 215 runs and a best score of 94. He will be capped player no. 104.

2nd GRADE is at Coogee: We have lost our 3 home games this year including one at Coogee. Time to turn that hoo-doo around! The Hawks have beaten us 3 times out of 12 over the years so we must be favourites. Between 2004-05 and 2009-10 we strung together 6 wins in a row. One of their 3 wins came last season when they hit 277 to our 116 at Owen Earle. They are 12th on 19 points this year to our 15th on 18. The punters should get on board!

3rd GRADE plays at Bensons Lane 2: This is a battle between the bottom two teams. We are 19th and they are 20th. They have the better win record over the years winning 7 to our 4. However, should we re-produce the form we showed against Sutherland the round before last it will be no contest. C’mon the good guys!!

4th GRADE is at Petersham: Both teams are on 12 points with 2 wins. Historically we have a massive 10 to 2 win record over the Hawks. We’re just a bit over 2 wins out of the top 6 and with a good run-home…you never know. I well remember a Randwick 4th or 5th Grade side many years ago being last at Christmas but won the premiership! Shows it can be done.

5th GRADE plays at Bensons Lane 3: The Hawks are doing OK in this grade running 7th on 25 points. We are not far behind in 13th spot on 18. We have a brilliant record in this grade and against Hawkesbury we have a 9 to 2 win advantage. Great to see Matt Wallis back on the park last game and performing well first-up! Now’s the time to fire.


POIDEVIN GRAY: This is the BIG GAME of the season for us being 5th on the ladder with one to play. We are searching for a top 8 spot and hopefully a top 4 for a home game. We play SYDNEY UNIVERSITY @ COOGEE THIS SUNDAY at 10 am. The students are in 16th place on the ladder with 2 wins. We have 3 wins and a bonus point so it’s a tight comp. A loss and we might struggle to make the 8. A win and we could be in the top 3 or 4. We have only ever played Sydney Uni. twice in this comp for 2 wins—in 2002-03 and 2005-06. James Psarakis still 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. Best of luck to the boys!

Metropolitan Cup from Jeremy Jastrzab: Fresh off mauling the RP grades before Christmas, undefeated and reigning Metro premiers Penrith face their first serious challenge of the season – a flourishing RP Gold team, at home in Kensington, seriously challenging for a finals berth. In the absence of big skip John Stewart, the team will be led by a simmering Irish duo back in their favoured one day format and hungry to take on the most vaunted pace attack in the competition. Sam Boyns has been chomping at the bit to send more players to the emergency ward, while a number of Green Shielders will relish the strong challenge before resuming their campaign. Penrith’s strong performances this season have led the some ascensions to the higher grades and just might be ripe for the taking this round. RP Green have a friendlier draw to look forward to after a castigating season so far, as they take on the 9th placed Sydney at marvellous Marrickville, who are also fighting to stay above water in their first season back in Metro. The Green team is much stronger than their ladder position would suggest, with a battery of reliable batsmen hungry to impress and push for higher honours. Adam Lee needs only 3 wickets to complete a century of Metro wickets, while the match also sees the reuniting of Alexis Coovre and Max Brandy after the much anticipated derby clash failed to materialise…

Lyall Gardner

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