Well, what a way to go into Christmas with the club pulling off a “Greenwash” against the Bears. After three wins against UNSW, this was exactly the follow up the club required to catapult Randy Petes up the Club Championship from 17th, two games ago, to 12th at present. What was so impressive on the weekend was the manner of the victories across the Grades. Whilst the Bears are struggling a bit at present, we have often struggled against teams down the bottom of the table, and to record five emphatic victories, some with a bonus point, was a good reward for some hard work over the past few weeks. With a 3-week break now before our games against Bankstown, it’s a good chance to freshen up, enjoy Christmas and the New Year, and come back and continue charging up that ladder as we head towards the finals.

Well, what a way to go into Christmas with the club pulling off a “Greenwash” against the Bears. After three wins against UNSW, this was exactly the follow up the club required to catapult Randy Petes up the Club Championship from 17th, two games ago, to 12th at present. What was so impressive on the weekend was the manner of the victories across the Grades. Whilst the Bears are struggling a bit at present, we have often struggled against teams down the bottom of the table, and to record five emphatic victories, some with a bonus point, was a good reward for some hard work over the past few weeks. With a 3-week break now before our games against Bankstown, it’s a good chance to freshen up, enjoy Christmas and the New Year, and come back and continue charging up that ladder as we head towards the finals.

beastwear250x2671st Grade – North Sydney (14th) v Randwick Petersham (7th) v North Sydney (14th) @ North Sydney Oval

Team – A.Sams (+), Kemp(c, Price, Scicluna, D.Sams, Psarakis, Critchley, Sangha, Semple, Neser, Warren

Result – Randwick Petersham 2/176 – 24.1 Overs (Kemp 104 n/o, Scicluna 40 n/o, Price 29) Defeated North Sydney 9/174 – 50 overs (Semple 3/50-10, Neser 2/26-9. Critchley 2/22-8, D.Sams 2/36-10)

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First Grade ventured to one of their homes away from home, North Sydney Oval, superbly looked after by former Club great, coach and selector Peter Devlin. “Devo” always does an outstanding job at North Sydney and made sure, in a week of rain, the ground was in top notch shape and ready to start on time. There was some drama during the warm-up with Soumil Chibber forced to withdraw and experienced 1st Grader Nick Warren coming in his place. Jason Sangha also returned from a successful Under 19s Carnival playing for the Cricket Australia XI.

Kempie’s men put together a complete performance in the first 50-over match since Round 2, destroying the Bears by 8 wickets and claiming a valuable bonus point in the process. By chasing the runs inside 25 overs, we moved up to 31 points, outside the all-important Top 6 by 3 points heading into the Christmas break.

After winning the toss and sending the Bears in, all our bowlers did an outstanding job to limit them to 9/174 from their 50 overs. Adam Semple (3/50-10) continued his fine form, now having 16 wickets for the season. Matt Critchley (2/22-8) has really added a different dimension to the side with his controlled and aggressive leg spin, and he was on point again here. The ever reliable Francois Neser (2/26-9) did the bulk of the donkey work, while Daniel Sams (2/36-10) crept up to 4th in the leading wicket takers with 22 scalps at 21.

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Despite an early setback, the chase was never really in doubt, as returning captain Alex Kemp (104n/o) played a blinder, flaying the Bears to all parts. He was well supported by Nathan Price (29) and Jake Scicluna (40n/o) and we finished the game by dispatching the Bears’ bowling to all parts. It looked like men against boys when Kemp was batting, as he raced to a century off just 69 balls, with 14 fours and 5 horns. The skipper now has 365 runs at the impressive average of 63.

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First Grade are pretty well placed heading into the Christmas break with a crunch clash against a strong Bankstown side straight off the bat in the New Year. Whilst last season we fell just short of the finals, this time the boys will be desperate to make amends and get into the Top 6 in the search for that elusive Belvedere Cup.

frankienswiss 250x1252nd Grade – Randwick Petersham (17th) v NorthSydney (20th) @ Petersham Oval

Team – Everett (+), Moran, Balbirnie, Eaton, Hassan, Holland (c), Ram, Sharma, Hart, Burton, Tyson

Result – North Sydney 10/190 – 42 Overs (Eaton 3/20-7) Defeated By Randwick Petersham 4/194 – 38 Overs (Balbirnie 90n/o, Everett 42, Hassan 23, Moran 21)

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Second Grade returned to Petersham Oval to take on the bottom of the table Bears in a must win game before the Christmas break. The team was looking particularly strong this week, with gun all-rounder Sean Eaton and batsman Suffan Hassan returning from 1st Grade duties. The team was looking for back-to-back victories for the first time this season, after a slow start to their campaign.

At the end of a long day, after a delayed start, Holland’s men were able to celebrate a really hard-fought 6-wicket victory with the game finishing after 7pm. The game was reduced to 42-overs per side and a 1pm start after significant rain on Thursday and Friday. The Green Options staff did a magnificent job to get the ground to standard after nearly 50 overs were played in rainy conditions on Thursday in AWGS. Their tireless work does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated by Second Grade and the club overall.

With the ball we managed to reduce the Bears to a moderate 190, bowling them out with two overs still to play. We were a little sloppy with our extras, racking up 14 wides and 6 no balls, however we managed to take wickets at regular intervals. The pick of the bowlers was clearly Sean Eaton (3/20-7) who continued his fine form with the ball in Second Grade. Sean bowled with discipline and control and was unlucky not to pick up a few more wickets.

With the wicket starting to flatten out, Matt Everett (42) and Max Moran (21) got the team off to a great start, putting on 42 for the first wicket. It’s been a great first half of the season for Everett in 2nd Grade with 352 runs at an average of 44, placing him 5th overall in the competition for runs scored. However, the star of the show was once again Andrew Balbirnie (90 n/o) who backed up his century last week with another innings of pure class. Balbirnie is a few classes above 2nd Grade and he displayed great professionalism and skill during his time at the Club as he toyed with the Bears’ bowlers here to help get us over the line with a couple of overs to spare. Balbirnie was well supported by Suffan Hassan (23) on our way to victory.

Despite sitting in 16th spot, it’s great to see this side starting to put it together and display some consistent performances. We are only 12 points out of the top 6 and capable of going on a big run after Christmas. He will have to do it without Andre Balbirnie though, who finishes his time at the Club. We thank him greatly for his services and wish him all the best with his County Cricket and playing for the Irish National team.

prsl 250x1253rd Grade – North Sydney (11th) v Randwick Petersham (14th) @ Bon Andrews Oval

Team – Ahmed (+), Stares, James, McLoughlin, Calder, Lyle, Graham, Stafford (c), Nawaz , Loth, Tsalikidis

Result – North Sydney 10/138 – 44.4 overs (Tsalikidis 4/38-10, Loth 3/20-7.4, Nawaz 2/16-7) Defeated by Randwick Petersham 3/141 (James 57, McLoughlin 39n/o) – 33.3 Overs

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Third Grade headed to the picturesque North Sydney Number 2 Oval, now known as Bon Andrews Oval. It was a crucial game for Stafford’s men, sitting just 3 points below the Bears on the competition ladder, and capable of leap frogging a few teams with a victory. The side welcomed back Ben Stares at the top of the order and looked close to the strongest 3rd Grade side we had fielded on paper all year.

Just like 2nd Grade this was a tremendous day for 3’s as they too secured back-to-back victories for the first time this season, achieved comfortably by 7 wickets. After a number of really close and frustrating losses or ties this season, it was only a matter of time before the boys hit their straps and they have set themselves up for an assault on the finals after Christmas now with this big win.

After winning the toss and inserting the Bears into bat, we made an amazing start to the day courtesy of big fast bowler Doug Loth (3/20-7.4). Loth clean bowled two of the Bears in the very first over of the match, to set the tone for the rest of the day. Loth was ably supported by fellow opening bowler Rehaan Nawaz (2/16-7) who did an outstanding job himself, picking up two wickets in his first two overs, as we had the Bears reeling at 4/16 after 4 overs. From there they consolidated well before in form leg spinner Kiri Tsaliskidis (4/38-10) ripped through the lower order to continue his outstanding form. Nawaz also pulled out a ridiculously good run out from cover. We put together a great team performance as the Bears were dismissed for 138.

After a solid start from openers Ahmed and Stares, we lost two quick wickets in the run chase to bring youngster Jack James (57) and veteran John McLoughlin (39n/o) together. The pair looked in cruise control throughout and put on a wonderful 83-run partnership to all but seal victory. James has now backed up his century with a half century and his higher Grade talent is becoming more and more obvious by the week. “J Mac” and Matt Calder (11n/o) saw us over the line to complete a dominant win.

Stafford’s men are now up to 10th, just 10 points out of the finals’ spots.  Let’s remember this team put together a 5-match winning streak after Christmas last season, and with back-to-back victories already on the board, the scene is well and truly set for a finals charge in the New Year.

sct left4th Grade – Randwick Petersham (14th) v North Sydney (10th) @ Coogee Oval

Team – Powell, Schubert (+), Murdita, Mitchell, King, Bourke (c), Wallis, Standing, Budwee, Jenkins, Sprowls

Result – Randwick Petersham 10/217 – 45.3 Overs (Mitchell 64, Schubert 45, Wallis 34, Standing 29) Defeated North Sydney 10/103 – 34.5 Overs (Wallis 3/20-7.5, Jenkins 3/20/7, Standing 2/15-6, Sprowls 2/15-5)

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Fourth Grade headed to our seaside home of Coogee Oval, always confident of getting a game despite heavy rain on the Thursday and Friday. Coogee is the best draining ground in Sydney and Green Options do a magnificent job there of making sure we always get on when other games are abandoned or rain shortened.  

Bourke’s men were looking for a second win on the bounce after their outstanding come from behind victory over UNSW the week before. The side welcomed back experienced batsman David Mitchell, veteran wicketkeeper batsman Karl Schubert and fast bowling all-rounder Matt Wallis. The three inclusions would strengthen any side let alone a 4th Grade side, and captain Bourke must have been curling the mo to have those three in the line-up.

Just like every other Grade this week, 4th Grade put together a complete performance, dominating the Bears with bat and ball to claim a 114-run victory. The win tasted even more sweet given the fact we picked up a bonus point which could be crucial at the end of the year.

After being sent in on a wicket offering plenty of early assistance for the bowlers, our top order did a great job of getting us through a tricky period. Karl Schubert (45) and David Mitchell (64) used their years of skill and experience down at Coogee to put on 60 runs with the ball nipping around. Schubert played more patiently than usual and was unlucky to fall just short of a half century. “Mitch” once again showed his class with an elegant half century and is really starting to hit his straps heading into the New Year.  No team in the competition would be able to call upon the brutal power of Matt Wallis (34) and Jack Standing (29) down the order. It’s a real luxury for “Bourkey” as both these guys can change a game in an instant with their power hitting.

After racking up a more than competitive 216, we finished the job with the ball, rolling the Bears for just 103. Matt Wallis (3/20-7) completed an excellent all-round game while gun young spinner Mac Jenkins (3/20-7.5) spun a web through the Bears lower order. With Sprowls and Standing both chipping in with a couple of wickets, it was a great team performance with the ball.

“Bourkey” wanted to send a special shout out to Gab Budwee’s girlfriend, brother and cousin for coming down and supporting the boys all day, getting in the sheds for the victory song and taking some photos and videos of the game – the support was much appreciated. Amazingly 4th Grade are now in equal 6th position on 25 points, having looked down and out just two rounds ago.

244x121 adina5th Grade – Randwick Petersham (5th) v North Sydney (18th) @ Tunks Park

Team – Gracias Flor, Hart, Rushton, Saini, Hilder, De Silva, Montedoro, Singh (c), Jones, Boyns, O’Laughlin

Result – North Sydney 10/136 – 47 Overs (O’Laughlin 5/25-9, Montedoro 2/9-4) Defeated By Randwick Petersham 3/137 – 34 Overs (Saini 56n/o, Hilder 40n/o, Hart 20)

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Fifth Grade have been flying high this year and they were looking to consolidate their spot in the Top 6 heading into Christmas as they travelled to Tunks Park to take on the Bears. It was a danger game for 5th Grade, with the Bears in lowly 18th spot, and a win would be like gold with 7 other 5th Grade games abandoned due to the weather.

The side looked very strong on paper this week with fast bowler Sam Boyns back into the line-up, along with hard hitting opening batsman Savio Gracias Flor. Vishwas Saini was also rewarded for his outstanding innings of 80 not out in Metropolitan Cup with a recall to 5th Grade for our final game before the New Year.

We completed the “Greenwash” in fine style here, with a commanding 7-wicket victory achieved with over 15 overs to spare. Chasing the Bears moderate 136, the result never really looked in doubt, as despite an early stumble, Saini (56n/o) and Hilder (40n/o) put on an unbroken 101-run partnership to steer us out of trouble at 3/36. Saini is a talented young batsman and while he would’ve been disappointed to be dropped to Metropolitan Cup, he responded in fine style backing up his 80n/o last week with another unbeaten half century. Veteran Matt Hilder has been in excellent form in the past few rounds and he is really holding that middle order together.

Earlier in the day, the bowlers once again did a great job as they have all year in 5th Grade. However the star of the show was AWGS fast bowler Mitchell O’Laughlin (5/25-9) who claimed a magnificent 5-wicket haul. O’Laughlin is a fast bowler who pounds away on a great length and he found a few soft spots in the pitch early, claiming 3 wickets in his opening 3 overs. He came back to claim a much deserved 5-wicket haul and more displays like this and he will be shooting up the Grades in no time.

Singhy’s men are flying the flag for the club at Christmas time, sitting pretty in 2nd spot on the table. The lure of Semi-final cricket on our home grounds is a strong one, and one we are capable of achieving with more great cricket after the Christmas break. Have a Merry Christmas everyone and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

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