Mitch Brown, ‘Bankstown Sports Club Player of the Year’ last season, produced a classy bowling performance capturing 4/44 off 15 overs as the Bulldogs secured a hard-fought victory over North Sydney at Memorial Oval on Saturday.
Resuming at 0-7 the visitors began solidly before paceman Nathan McAndrew bowled Anjam Oberai for 20. A quick-fire 65 run second wicket partnership between opener Ben Bryant and Norths skipper Justin Avendano gave the visitors the ascendency until Avendano miss-hit a delivery from Wallace Marshall, with Kyle Brockley taking a well-judged outfield catch. Bryant was in great form and with all-rounder Rob Aiken took the Bear’s score to 4/200 before Brown had the opener caught behind by Matt Simpson. With the match evenly poised, young Bulldogs spinner Ben Le Bas, in just his second Premier First Grade match, showed what an exciting prospect he is, dismissing Niranjin Naguleswaran (6) and James Newton (70) in quick succession to have the visitors 5/226 and swing the momentum back in the Bulldogs' favour. However, the Bears were not about to lie down without a fight and a gutsy 55 not out from Olly Knight ensured the Bulldogs had to pull out all stops, as the visitors fought their way to 368 off 96.4 overs.
The loss of two of Sydney Premier Cricket’s most decorated players in Jarrad Burke and Philip Wells was always going to be leave a huge experience gap, but this group of Bulldog Pups will take a lot of heart from this win. Young spinners Ben Taylor (1/69 off 19 overs) and Ben Le Bas (2/60 off 22 overs) are both exciting prospects and pace duo Wallace Marshall and Kyle Brockley are learning quickly from mentors Nathan McAndrew and Aaron Bird. With rookie keeper Andrew Deitz breaking a finger in Round one the Club was able to call on keeper-batsman Matt Simpson who delivered a confident effort behind the stumps.
Mitch Brown has done a fantastic job leading this side for the first two rounds and he will hand the reins next round to Michael Stretton, who is returning from a successful stint playing as a professional in Holland. The Bulldogs play the strong Penrith outfit in a two day match at Howell Oval.
Despite scoring a massive 9/411 the Bulldogs were run down by North Sydney at Bon Andrews Oval. Norths resumed at 1-47 and a dominant innings of 127 not out from Glenn Aitken was the difference between the sides as Norths scored 8/415. The Joel Brockley led Bulldogs will rue their fielding lapses – the old adage ‘catches win matches’ proved very relevant for this ‘Dogs team last Saturday. Pacemen Jason Hayward (3/138) and Tushaar Garg (2/56) gave their best in a losing team.
The Iain Ridley led Bulldogs finished with a heart-stopping result chasing Norths total of 290 at Jensen Oval after the visitor’s chose to continue their innings on week two, taking their total from 7/279 to 10/290 off 83 overs. Zeeshan Ahmed showed why he was recently selected to represent at the recent National Under 17 Championships, compiling a classy 90 from 138 balls. Skipper Ridley used all his experience to craft a neat 63 off 76 balls and youngsters Cameron Cotter 37 and Nikethan Radhakrishnan added a solid 36 off 50 balls. In a disappointing finish, the Bulldogs fell two runs short of victory at 8/289 off 75 overs and the match was a drawn result.
North Sydney resumed at 1/78 and had no trouble passing the Bulldog’s 136 first innings total, declaring at 6/227. Best of the Bulldogs bowlers was Skipper Mat Kelly with 2/49 off 16 overs and versatile Connor Wilkinson with 2/38 off 11 overs. The Bankstown batsmen again failed to fire in the second innings, finishing with 5/74. Connor Wilkinson was the only batsman to shine, showing his all-round ability with a dogged 34 not out.
The Alex Kouventaris led Bulldogs scored a dramatic outright win in the match at Grahame Thomas Oval. Resuming at 2/57, chasing North Sydney’s 200, the Bulldog Pups could not build healthy partnerships and were dismissed for 164. 15-year-old Johann Perera was the best of the Bulldog batsmen with a gritty 55 off 103 balls, while skipper Kouventaris (22) and Nathan Setter (25 not out) provided good support.
Despite the disappointment of his side’s first innings, Kouventaris was determined to continue the match and insisted that North Sydney complete their second innings. His decision was vindicated when a remarkable collapse saw the visitors dismissed for 52 off 32 overs. Seasoned paceman Chris Stefanish led the Bulldog bowling attack, returning the impressive figures of 3/20 off 11 overs. Kouventaris and Isaac Schipp chipped in with two wickets each to complete the rout.
Needing 89 for victory Bulldog’s opener Ali Bilal was in dynamic form, pounding 43 off 33 balls to get the Bulldogs barking. Kouventaris (18) and Stefanish (11) finished off the work as the Bulldogs grabbed a remarkable victory with 3/89.
Poidevin Grade Shield T20 Double-Header
The Bulldogs suffered inglorious defeats in both T20 matches against Northern District at Memorial Oval on Sunday. In Match One, the Bulldogs stumbled to 107 off 18 overs and this was easily passed by ND’s with 2/110.
In Match Two, the Bulldogs fared a little better at the crease with 7/121, thanks to a hard hitting 59 from former Australian Under 16 captain Bailey Dickinson. Dickenson is contracted to St George Rugby League these days and is considered a promising NRL level footballer, but everyone was reminded of his immense cricketing ability on Sunday. The visitors again had little difficulty with the target, losing just one wicket cruising to 125.
With the PG competition split between Limited Overs and T20 formats this season, the locals are going to need to re-think their strategy and on-field application if they are to be a serious threat in this coveted competition.