Over the years we have dished out a number of hidings to other clubs having won all five grades on 15 occasions. Last season however, we received our greatest belting when Eastern Suburbs towelled us up in all five grades winning a bonus point in three of them.

Preview Round 12 v Eastern Suburbs
“The Rivalry Round”

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Over the years we have dished out a number of hidings to other clubs having won all five grades on 15 occasions. Last season however, we received our greatest belting when Eastern Suburbs towelled us up in all five grades winning a bonus point in three of them. Our chance to resurrect some pride from that experience comes this weekend in the form of round 12 when we again line up against our neighbour and good friends Eastern Suburbs. Labelled “The Rivalry Round” by the SCA this round of two-day matches sees all clubs taking on their closest neighbour or rival. An interesting concept which should provide some competitive play. And our next match against Western Suburbs at Pratten Park has already been in the news lately as Michael Clarke has announced a comeback in that game. Likely to be a media scrum that day! Maybe the Channel 9 commentating group may cover the game???? Some interesting times coming up.

Club Championship: Another reason we need to repay the favour to Easts is that they are ahead of us in the Club Championship. We are 8th and they are 7th with just 14 points separating us. Had 1st Grade not won last Sunday we would have been 11th. It’s a tight school this season. A win here and there can make all the difference. We are on 764 points and the leader Sutherland is on 931. Not a long way in front but we would have to do everything right and they would need a few hiccups for us to make up the leeway. But it can be done.

1st GRADE is at Petersham Oval: After our great win over the Sea Eagles last Sunday we are now 4th just 12 points from the leaders Bankstown and Sydney. Easts are now 9th after being one of 10 clubs who had drawn games last weekend which was a bit of a bonus for us. However, Easts are just one point behind us! Shows how close the comp is this year. No-one can afford a loss. We lost to Easts last year but had won the previous five matches which included three T20s where we really excel. Before that they had won seven of eight games with the other a draw. Despite what seems a poor record against the Dolphins the numbers slightly fall our way–nine wins to eight. And what a performance by Nathan Price last week! He is on fire and now has 947 runs!! And four tons and a 99! The club record for a season belongs to Usman Khawaja having hit 1,134 in 2007-08. Nathan, along with Sam Doggett, is also in the NSW team to play in the National Indigenous Cricket Championships in Alice Springs Feb 8-15 and will miss day 2. He will be replaced that day by Jason Sanga who, along with Daniel Sams, will play in the NSW Futures League side to play in Canberra next Monday. Jason is the youngest player to represent NSW in a senior team since Archie Jackson in 1925. Congrats Nathan, Sam, Daniel and Jason! Good cricket to you all.

2nd GRADE is at Waverley: We are now on 30 points just two wins away from 4th spot on the points ladder although we are in 11th position. Easts are 9th just 6 points ahead of us. They have the wood on us over the years although only slightly wining 6 to our 4. If we can string a few wins together with 4 matches to go we could well be in the thick of things come finals time. Sam Doggett will be replaced by Kushaal Ram day 2 while Ben Stares replaces Jason Sanga.

3rd GRADE plays at Coogee: Unlucky to go down on run-rate last week. We are just 11 points out of the top 6 and stranger things have happened. Like 2s, a few wins could put us in the firing line. There’s also a thing called ‘luck of the game’ of which we have had very little lately. About time that changed in our favour. This could be the weekend. We are 13th but Easts are leading the comp. Then again—the bigger they are the harder they fall. Historically the honours are all with us 7 wins to 2. An 8 to 2 win margin after this round would be nice. Mohammed Emram returns after a break of two months.

4th GRADE is at Trumper: Easts are 10th on 28 points and we are 16th on 18. It’s gonna be hard yakka to make the final 6 but you never give up hope in this game as it can all turn around so quickly. We won 7 out of the first 8 games we played Easts but they have won 3 of the past 4.

5th GRADE plays at Kensington Oval: They are 2nd on 50 and we are 4th on 36. This is a big one and we can’t afford any slip-ups if we are to keep our sensational record in 5th Grade intact. A bit like 4s, we won the first 7 out of 8 clashes but they have won the past 3. But we knocked over Manly who were 3rd last week so it would be good to earn a reputation as the ‘giant-killers’.

Metropolitan Cup from Jeremy Jastrzab: After spending the last 7 rounds at home (with the round before that being at David Phillips), the Gold juggernaut rolls onto their longest road-trip of the season, the cheerful trek to one of remotest places to play cricket in Sydney – Bensons Lane. The team is looking forward to spending the next two weeks at the foot of the Blue Mountains taking on 11th placed Hawkesbury. A win away from home could very well take the Golds to second place, and with young players such as the O’Loughlin brothers, Hayden Fox and Kel Mullins firing alongside the English and Irish, the dream of a home semi is in reach. Green can finally enjoy some comforts closer to home, with a trip down to Snape Park for the next two weeks. They take on Jay’s merry band of travelling cricketers, the 9th placed Mosman. They gave leaders Penrith an almighty scare before rain ruined a fascinating contest. Green will be looking to break their run of defeats against a team that has run hot and cold all season.

Lyall Gardner

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