Cricket’s back baby.
After two years of COVID interruptions and late starts to the year, NSW Premier Cricket is back in its usual start time of late-September and we’ve got seven huge games to get things underway.
The club have undertaken a lengthy pre-season program, including some gruelling fitness sessions ran by Anthony Sams and plenty of net sessions run by Michael Haire and Eddie Otto, ensuring the lads were ready to rock and roll come the opening round.
Grade 1-5 will all face off against North Sydney – the same club we played against a week ago in trial games – while our Metro Cup sides will take on Georges River and Mosman.
Lefand Group 1st Grade @ Coogee Oval
Daya Singh (c), Manish Malhotra, Camden Hawkins, Riley Ayre, Anthony Sams, Adam Docos, Ben Mitchell, Ashley Burton, Basit Ali, Ryan Ninan, Jason Ralston
There will be one notable absence when 1st Grade head out onto the field this Saturday, with the side losing the legendary Adam Semple at the end of last season. They are huge shoes to fill with both bat and ball, but there’s no reason the Randy Petes can’t rise above it and take down the Bears.
Daya Singh will lead the troops once again this year alongside Jason Sangha after another successful campaign in 2021/22, with the likes of Anthony Sams and Riley Ayre the other experienced figures in the group.
Manish Malhotra will officially become cap No.147 in the Randy Petes 1st Grade side, after joining the club last year and featuring in the T20 competition and 2nd Grade.
Ash Burton, Adam Docos and Basit Ali all began their 1st Grade journeys for the club last season and are now cemented fixtures in the outfit, while all-rounder Ben Mitchell will be ready to find runs and poles after spending his off-season…playing more cricket in Ireland.
For the Bears, Justin Avendano will be the one to watch out for. If the skipper or Jason Ralston can knock him over early, that will go a long way to securing the six points.
Suttons City 2nd Grade @ Bon Andrews Oval
James Mahony-Brack (c), Zac Keogh, Tim Tector, Ben Montedoro, Dave Dubey, James Widerstrom, Ross Elliot, Akther Hussain, Shivansh Pathak, Connor O’Riordan, Kashif Naseem
After a year that saw them have a plethora of captains, James Mahony-Brack will take the reins in 2022/23 and hopefully perform as well on the field as he does off it. JMB will be supported by his partner in crime Ben Montedoro, who will be returning from an 18-month injury layoff and could be the most excited player in Sydney this weekend for cricket to be back.
Overseas player Tim Tector will continue the club’s connection with both Ireland and his family, becoming the third Tector to represent the Randy Petes. After arriving in Australia on Tuesday, the young gun put in a stint at the nets on Thursday arvo and will come in to replace the injured Max Robinson.
2nd Grade will be missing two big quicks in Mitch O’Loughlin and Jackson Gwynne for this clash, but their absences will be off-set by the club debut of Kashif Naseem, who has impressed during pre-season and is ready to rip in. Zac Keogh will also make his debut for the Randy Petes in this game – welcome to those two lads and hopefully they get to sing the song first-up!
But the biggest surprise in the outfit this weekend is wicket-keeper Ross ‘Steve Bradbury’ Elliot, who will admit himself that keeping in 2nd Grade was long-odds just a few weeks ago. The big fella will be hoping to score a few, catch some more and cheer on his beloved Swans to a grand final victory if the Randy Petes can get the job done.
RPC will benefit from spin duo Akther Hussain and Shivansh Pathak, who should compliment big quick Connor O’Riordan with plenty of poles. And speaking of big – don’t park your car near the ground if James Widerstrom gets his eye in this year.
Petersham RSL 3rd Grade @ Petersham Oval
Tom Holland (c), Blake Weymouth, Josh Mellick, Mahsen Narval, Ben Chaplin, Ben Tracey, Jaya Murdita, Ryan Lynch, Guru Chandar, Sadeep Deepak, Dane Coombs
3rd Grade will start the season at their beloved ‘Home of Cricket’ on Saturday morning, and there are a few new faces in the side.
Teenage wicket-keeper Ryan Lynch joins the club from Sydney – some tactical recruiting by Pubes – while Mahsen Narval (Blacktown) and Ben Tracey (Penrith) also come into the side and will be hoping for a fresh start and a big season in the green and gold.
Fan favourite Jaya ‘Mal’ Murdita managed to score more runs than he consumed salt tablets in the trial against Norths last weekend, and the longer he stays at the crease, the more damage he is likely to cause.
Tom Holland and Ben Chaplin will make up an experienced leadership group along with Mal, while the likes of Dane Coombs and Sadeep Deepak will be looking to continue on from their form with the ball in 2021/22.
Mellick Wealth 4th Grade at Tunks Park
Nigel Singh (c), Sayem Sultan, Luca Lopes, Damian Sidney, Rhythm Singh, Jackson Dodd, Jordan Segal, Harry Schultz, Alan Mathews, James Apostolakis, Liam O’Loughlin
After a year of co-captaincy between Randwick’s version of Junior Paulo and Clint Gutherson, the veteran Nigel Singh will assume full responsibility of the side this season and will be hoping to add to his lengthy list of victims.
RPC will welcome one new player to the side in 4th Grade, with higher-order bat Rhythm Singh joining the club, but there will also be two familiar faces returning from a loan stint at the Blacktown Mounties in Sayem Sultan and James Apostolakis.
Luca Lopes has decided to spend his off-season travelling the world as opposed to in Crunch Mortdale this time around and told us he “can’t wait to demolish bowlers in my new spot of No.4” this year.
Speaking of demolition jobs – Harry Schultz has somehow managed to grow another foot and is going to send a few left-arm thunderbolts down and terrorise opposing batsmen. RPC will boast a strong bowling attack for this clash and taking all 10 wickets is a must if they are to claim six points.
Clovelly Community Bank 5th Grade @ Kensington Oval
Fabian Heaton (c), Freddy Whalebone, Jake Myers, Chaik Hathurusinghe, Jacob McCormick, James Stirton, Jack Gibbens-Johnson, Daman Brar, Atharv Ramakanth, Samarpreet Singh, Tom Gibson
The great Fabian Heaton will again lead 5th Grade this season, with plenty of young guns working underneath him to hopefully build further on their solid 2021/22 campaign.
James Stirton comes across to the club after a few years away from the game at St George, while Thomas Gibson forces his way into the side after catching the eye of selectors during pre-season.
Jacob McCormick will add a bit of experience to the side after spending last year in 3s and 4s, while Freddy Whalebone can be expected to stand up as he continues to become a permanent fixture in this side.
Chaik Hathurusinghe, Jake Myers and Samarpreet Singh are all players who will be better for the run last year and there should be plenty of runs and wickets in store for these rising stars within the Randy Petes.
Mr Taxman RPC Gold vs Georges River @ Petersham Oval
Jeremy Jastrzab (c), Nimesh Desai, Asif Rasheed, Oscar Murray, Sam Connolly, Andrew Newton, John Stewart, Cotter Litchfield, E-Young Khoo, Qasim Ali, Mark Tape, Ben Thomas
The reliable combo of Jeremy Jastrzab and John Stewart will lead the Gold side once again in 2022/23, and they will have a mix of youth and experience at their disposal.
Nimesh ‘Fifty’ Desai has emerged as a cult hero within the Metro ranks, while Ben Thomas returns from an eight-month injury layoff.
RPC Gold will boast four club debutants in the opening round – Mark Tape, Andrew Newton, Oscar Murray and Qasim Ali – and those lads will no doubt be hoping to hit the ground running.
Cartwright Insurances RPC Green vs Mosman @ Snape Park
Jay Patel (c), Armaan Sidhu, Azaan Syed, Angus Beaumont, Rory Steinberg, Nate Tucker, Alvin Rajesh, Ryan DiBlasio, Archie Robinson, Charith De Silva, Zack Narayan, Julian Rutkis, Akash Padavala (13th)
Jay Patel – the man who may love cricket as much as Ben Montedoro – will again lead the Metro Green outfit this year, with high hopes for the season ahead.
Young guns Rory Steinberg and Archie Robinson will be integral to the side’s potential success, while Nate Tucker will be looking to impress in his RPC debut.
The legendary Charith De Silva will be back on deck for another year, and we all look forward to hearing about every single wicket he takes – whether it be in the games or at training.
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