Round 5 Preview v Blacktown

With wet weather around, last round was not one to lose all 5 tosses which we did. In fact it was 6 as Metro Green also lost the flip of the coin leaving Metro Gold skipper John Stewart as the only one you’d let go to the Casino with your money. And it showed that the toss was important with 2s, 4s and 5s going down having to bat on day 2 which favoured the bowlers. But 3s got up with evergreen Nigil Singh passing the 475 wickets milestone for the club while taking his 3rd Grade tally to 247. And while the draw in 1st Grade was a real dampener in more ways than one, young Jason Sangha showed that if the opposition bowlers don’t get him early they don’t get him at all. In 4 digs he has scores of 0, 162*, 0 and 100* for a cool average of 130! He plays for Cricket Australia against the Poms over the next two weeks and we wish him good cricket.

Despite the poor points-scoring round and the fact we lost both PG matches last Sunday, we haven’t done all that much damage in the Club Championship being 8th and just 112 points from the leader Sydney University. Our opponent this round in a series of two-day matches, the Blacktown Warriors, is last (20th) on 80 points. Blacktown have won just the 4 games—one in 2s and 3 in 5s. Over the years the two clubs have clashed 58 times with us running out victors on 42 occasions. We have lost 13 with 3 drawn. And while we have beaten them in all 5 grades (Greenwash) 4 times they almost repaid the debt last year winning 4 of the 5 with only 1st Grade flying the flag for us.

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1st GRADE is at Coogee: We are in 8th place in the competition on 13 points just one win (6 points) from 2nd spot. Blacktown are 20th on 0 points and have lost to Sydney, Sydney University, St George and Parramatta this season yet have scored more runs than us—1,112 to 1,084. They also have lost more wickets—45 to our 28. The pressure is always greater when you are expected to win so there is no room for complacency this round. Of the 5 grades, Blacktown’s record against us is best in 1st Grade where they have won 5 matches. We have won 8 but over the past 5 years it is 2 all.  Alex Kemp has stood down from the captaincy and Anthony Sams has been appointed to take over with Adam Semple his deputy. Anthony also needs just 80 runs for 4,000 in 1st Grade. Alex Kemp, Soumil Chhibber and Riley Ayre all return from injury. Dan Sams comes into the side on day 2 after a successful stint with Canterbury in the first-class cricket NZ Plunket Shield competition.

New skipper Anthony Sams will have the honour of leading the Randy Petes – Congrats Samsy!

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2nd GRADE is at Joe McAleer: Our historical record is 8 wins to 2 against the Warriors although they won at Coogee last season 253 to 215 after being 5-47. It was a “battle of the tail” with their last wicket yielding 72 runs. Our last two, Joe Hart and James Tyson then all but matched them with 66 for the 10th wicket. Despite last weekend’s loss we are still doing OK in 11th place just one win out of the top 6. Blacktown defeated St George in round 3, chasing down 249 to be 4-258 at the finish after an opening partnership of 190 at Hurstville Oval. They are 13th on 6 points. Irish import Jack Tector and Mitchell Edwards who both made their 1st Grade debut with the club last week come into the side which is one of the strongest fielded for some time.  Mac Jenkins, who is just 16 and 2 months bowled an impressive 33 overs in taking 3-73 with his left-arm spinners in his 2nd Grade debut match last round. Rav DeSilva passed 750 runs for the club (768) with a well-compiled 52 last game. He averages 65.5 this season.

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3rd GRADE plays at Petersham: The old warhorse Nigil Singh got 3s back on track with a “6 fa” last round. Three more wickets will give him 250 in 3rd Grade. That gave us 4 wins in a row over UNSW. The side is 10th on 12 points just 2 out of the top 6.  Blacktown have lost all 4 games this season and are 20th on 0. Last season was the first time Blacktown had beaten us. They won 7-201 to 129 after we lost 6-33. Prior to that we had won the previous 9 only interrupted by a draw in 2007-08. Chris King and Joe Hart will strengthen the side with their presence.

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4th GRADE is at Jim Hanshaw: Skipper David Bourke is not showing the form with the toss he did 2 years ago when he won 12 on the trot. So far this season he has lost all 4. Bookies have him odds-on for a correct call this round. Our record in this grade is second-to-none. We had won 10 out of 10 prior to last season’s loss 215 to 7-328 declared. Corey Graham made 96 that game. This season we are 5th on 18 points just one win from the lead. We would have been in front had we defeated UNSW last Saturday. Blacktown have lost 4 from 4 and languish in last place.

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5th Grade plays at Kensington: While we had a commanding 7 to 4 win record over Blacktown historically, they are well ahead of us this season. They won the first 3 games to share the competition lead. And while they lost to Parramatta last week they are in 6th place on 18 points. We are struggling in 18th with just one point. Last year we lost 126 to 220 at Whalan but went on to win the comp. Can we do it again?? And congratulations to long-serving Metro Cup player Damian Sidney who scored his first NSW Premier Cricket half-century (55) last Saturday in just his fourth game in 8 seasons with the club.  Fast bowling pair Mitchell O’Loughlin and Mackenzie Waugh make a welcome return and will give opposing bats plenty to think about.

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Metropolitan Cup from Jeremy Jastrzab: While both Metropolitan Cup teams had to settle for rain-soaked draws, there were encouraging signs in both games. Green were well on track for a win before they ran out of overs and light, while Gold fought back from a potentially massive score. And both teams kept up the chat throughout the day. The captains head back to their original guises, with the Gold team taking on UNSW Black at Alexandria Park. After a few abandonments, we’re hoping that the ground will be ready upon arrival. Green head to St Pauls to take on Sydney University and play a warm-up game of cricket kit Tetris to fit everyone into the ‘cosy’ dressing rooms. With both teams taking on the students, it’s hoped that we’ll be the ones dealing out the lessons. 

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POIDEVIN GRAY SHIELD: We play St George in a double-header at Coogee THIS SUNDAY with the matches at 10 am and 2.30 pm. St George have beaten us 6 times with our one and only win coming 15 years ago in 2001-02. Time to make some in-roads into that record. Please get down and cheer on our boys—even if only for an hour or so. Go the Randy Petes!!

Lyall Gardner

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