The first round back after Christmas was a prosperous one for the Randy Petes, with the top three grades winning their clashes against Northern District.
This weekend, we take on Mosman and it is a crucial round for a lot of sides – win and keep yourself in the hunt for finals, lose and the chances drop dramatically.
Last season we didn’t play the Whales, but in 2017/18 we won three out of the five grades and hopefully this weekend we can improve on that.
1st Grade is at Allan Border Oval:
Things are looking exceptionally bright for First Grade at the moment, sitting in 2nd spot on the ladder and just two points behind leaders Sydney Uni. Fresh of a massive ton in 2s, Dylan Hunter returns to the XI in the absence of skipper Jason Sangha; Daya Singh takes over the armband.
The Randy Petes have had Mosman’s number in overall history with nine wins, four draws and six losses. Recent history is in our favour, after a win in 2017/18 and a T20 victory earlier this season.
Will Affleck brought up his first century for the club last weekend against the Rangers in a brilliant knock after consistently performing all season long. Averaging just under 50 this season, Affleck is a rock at the top of the order and will be a key factor in the clash on Saturday.
2nd Grade is at Coogee Oval:
Two on the trot for Second Grade and things are starting to turn around. The win over NDs takes us up to 14th but there is only 10 points separating us and sixth spot. Ash Burton and Caelan Maladay return to the side this round.
In the 16 encounters between the two sides in this grade over the years, the Randy Petes have emerged victorious in 11 of them – including a stunning streak from 2006/07 to 2012/13. We beat them last year and we are a big chance of doing it again at Coogee on Saturday.
Rav De Silva is starting to find form, with a half-century before Christmas and 30-odd last week. His lack of attendance on the circuit is apparently down to ‘studying’ – many are starting to believe he is spending his spare time doing sprint training. The phrase “quickest man over 30 metres” has been thrown around plenty lately, and that sort energy in the field is unmatched.
3rd Grade is at Rawson Oval:
Wins have been hard to come by for Ben Stares and his men this season, but a gallant effort at Kenso last week had plenty of emotion behind it. Jamie Hemphrey comes into the side here and will be a huge boost with ball in hand. Ben Montedoro was scheduled for a recall, but drilled a hole in his hand at work and will be replaced by ‘Spiderman’ Tom Holland.
It has been reasonably even over the years against Mosman in 3s, having won and lost seven games apiece. There was also a rare tied match in the results back in 2006/07. We have lost the last two clashes with the Whales, so its time to get back in the W column.
Luca Lopes isn’t just a pretty face with big quads and a near-perfect ATAR – he can score runs too! The quiet achiever produced a classy 60-odd last week that helped set up the win for the Randy Petes, and he will be relied upon heavily again with the bat this weekend.
4th Grade is at Kensington Oval:
An extremely disappointing result last weekend for Fourth Grade, collapsing against NDs and bottling what looked to be a certain victory. They are boosted with the inclusion of Hayden Fox who returns from injury this weekend.
In 15 matches with Mosman, 4s have come away with a not-so-impressive six wins. However, we have beaten them the past two times in this grade and there’s no reason that can’t be three in a row come Saturday at home.
Reid McNamara scored a nice 50 in his 4s debut two games ago, and was BBQ’d last weekend against NDs. He will get another chance to score a few runs here, and if he reaches triple-figures we might even get to see his super-aggressive salad.
5th Grade is at Balmoral Oval:
Tough loss last round for Fabian Heaton’s crop, but they will be boosted by a couple of big inclusions here. Alex Deller has taken plenty of poles in higher grades but returns from injury through 5s, while the confident Lachie Bird got some big scores in Green Shield and adds plenty of chat. Dane Coombs also gets his first start of the season.
A loss last time we played them aside, the overall record for 5s against the Whales is very strong. It includes a six-game win streak from 2010/11 through to 2016/17.
Mitch Winslade has a 4s five-wicket haul to his name this season and there is no doubting his class as a bowler when he gets it right. He’ll need to be fired up on Saturday and he’s definitely one to watch.
Metropolitan Cup Preview by Jeremy Jastrzab:
The Metropolitan Cup this week was supposed to be the local derby, returning after a 3 year hiatus to Coogee Oval, but numerous circumstances have led to the postponement of the match until January 27th. And with the – much needed – rain likely to give our poor dry fields a welcome watering, it could be just as well. The competition will resume again in earnest next week, with regular round games on the Saturday, before a near festival-like atmosphere will take place on the public holiday Monday when the battle for ‘The Grouch’ resumes.