A stunning Spring day at Memorial Oval saw the Bankstown Sports sponsored Bankstown side take on Parramatta in Round 5 of the SCA Premier 1st Grade competition. Parramatta skipper Nick Bertus won the toss and elected to bat on a hard wicket with even grass cover. Play commenced at 10.30am and the visitors got away to a steady start. As the match was being played on 11th November, to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918, both teams and match officials stood as one at 11am as a video of The Ode and Last Post was played on the digital scoreboard.
The visitors lost their first wicket with the score on 37 when Tim Ward was caught by Ben Taylor off the bowling of Mitch Brown. A 76 run second wicket partnership between Will Affleck and Nic Bertus was ended when Thunder Academy paceman Nathan McAndrew had Affleck caught by Ethan Leten for 58. This is kind of where the joy ended for the Bulldogs as Parramatta’s multi-skilled skipper-wicket-keeper-batsman Bertus took control of the game in compiling a magnificent 206 not out from 225 balls – including 22 fours and 3 sixes for the visitors' 4 declared for 430. Bertus received good support from Brenton Cherry (104) in a monster 253-run third wicket partnership. While the visitors were classy the young Bulldogs outfit was heartily urged on by skipper Michael Stretton throughout the long day and the side never stopped searching for a breakthrough. Pace duo Nathan McAndrew (1/49) and Rhys Williams (1/83) toiled through 35 overs while the irrepressible all-rounder Mitch Brown was at his probing best, snaring 2/84 from 18 overs. Young quick Wallace Marshal and spinners Ben Le Bas and Ben Taylor found it difficult to get much life or turn from the rock-hard surface but they will no doubt learn heaps from playing against such experienced campaigners as the Parramatta outfit. Not wanting to give the home side any relief Bertus declared leaving the Bulldogs to face seven overs before stumps. Openers Daniel Solway and Ethan Leten look comfortable until the very last over when Leten was caught in two minds by a short ball outside off stump and was caught for 16 with the stumps score 1/20. The resilient Bulldogs side will be back at 10.30 next Saturday at Memorial knowing they face an uphill task but never for one second doubting their ability to chase down the Parramatta total.
A cracking start to the Bulldog’s innings from young openers Matt Simpson and Zeeshaan Ahmed saw the Joel Brockley-led Premier Second Grade side post a competitive 266 at Old Kings Oval. Simpson reproduced the form that saw him lead the second grade batting performance list in 2016/17 as he hit nine 4s, compiling 73 from 150 balls. Ahmed was equally impressive with a quality 57 off 125 balls as he and Simpson added 124 for the first wicket. Skipper Brockley joined Simpson and the pair took the score to 2/148 but the middle order, filled with quality players Chris Ridley (6) Tommie Sowden (5) Cam Middleton (10) and Daniel Slane (1) all failed to get a start and the Bulldogs slumped to 6/195. Some late order resistance from Matt Smith (19), Luke Docherty (16) and Tush Garg (17) helped nudge the side to a respectable total of 266 before the Parramatta openers added 18 runs without loss when stumps were drawn.
The Iain Ridley-led Bulldogs are locked in tight tussle with Parramatta at Jensen Oval. The visitors elected to bat and despite Alex Schipp striking early to dismiss Ameesh Kaul for 8, very solid innings from Thushyanthan, Shivaangar (107) and Liam O’Farrell (72) saw Parramatta reach 9/277 at stumps off 80 overs. Ridley’s bowlers tried hard all day with promising youngster Nivethan Radhakrishnan snaring 4/52 off 20 overs. Radhahrishnan received good support from Dane Heward (2/55) Mo Hossain (2/71) and Alex Schipp (1/32).
This match at Merrylands Oval is evenly poised with the Bulldogs 2/24 at stumps in reply to Parramatta’s 186 off 72 overs. Koby Layton led the charge with the excellent figures of 3/31 from 18.3 overs and he was supported by Captain Mat Kelly with 2/22 off 10 overs, and last week’s hero Chris Stefanish was his usual accurate self with 2/42 off 18 overs. Spinner David Lozinski got the important wicket of Parramatta opener Andrew Calvert who looked threatening with 32 at the top of the order. The Bulldogs lost two wickets for 24 runs before stumps and need 163 with 8 wickets in hand to secure the first innings points.
The Alex Kouvetaris-led Fifth Grade faces a real challenge to take the points after a strong batting effort from Parramatta at Grahame Thomas Oval. All the bowlers toiled honestly on the small field but Blake Pearson and Sohan Kumar stood out snaring three quality wickets each as the visitors posted 328. The Bulldogs would have delighted the late, great commentator Richie Benaud as they were 2/22 at the close of play.
Poidevin Gray Shield
The PG Shield lost both its T20 matches against Penrith at Memorial Oval on Sunday. In game one Penrith scored 6/159 with Ben Le Bas and Dane Heward snaring two wickets each. Bulldog’s skipper Brendan Smith got the home side away to a flyer with a quick-fire 54 but a series of misjudged shots and poor judgement in running between the wickets meant the chase fell well short at 9/126 after the allotted 20 overs.
The Bulldogs batted first in game two of the double header with Zeeshaan Ahmed (20) Ben Le Bas (29 not out) and Luke Docherty (33 not out) the chief contributors to the Bulldogs' 6/130. A great spell of bowling from Daniel Slane, dismissing Penrith’s number 2, 3, 4, and 5 batsmen cheaply meant the Bulldogs were on top early but a middle order revival saw the visitors claw back the momentum to scramble home at 7/131 off 19.2 overs.