Run machine Daniel Solway extinguished the Dragons fire in magnificent summer weather last Saturday at Memorial Oval. The rampaging Bankstown Sports Bulldogs ran Saints ragged in compiling 4-379 from 96 fruitful overs. Solway was absolutely stunning and plundered 177 masterly runs with 26 punishing boundaries and a dynamic six. The irrepressible opener was recently appointed to a full-time role as a junior development officer for Cricket NSW working in the South West Sydney region and he is in commanding form with the best start to a season in Bulldogs' living history. Most batsmen would consider 579 a good effort for the season, but the dashing Solway has achieved that with a month to go before Christmas!! He has scored three sizzling centuries and delights in batting at the picturesque Bankstown Oval.
Solway hammered the Dragons' attack to all parts of the ground and kept the Dion Bourne scoreboard ticking over with audacious singles. He received great support from Brendan Smith with a forceful 43 and all-rounder Mitch Brown with a useful 28. However, the partnership that had officials scouring through the record books was that between Solway and Jake Cormack. The pair added 196 in a magnificent stand which helped the Saints go marching out.
In the most supreme of ironies they just fell short of the 205 which is the record fourth wicket stand held by Phil Wells and... Jake Cormack! The latter was in great touch and raced to 111 not out with 13 fours and an imposing six. He pounced on anything loose and pierced the field repeatedly with savage cuts and hard hit drives. It is a sizeable total for the Dragons to chase but the arch rivals are sure to be competitive on the magnificent Memorial Oval wicket.
A glorious 106 from Cameron Middleton has enabled the Bulldogs to gain a stranglehold on the second-grade game at Hurstville. Bankstown could only cobble together 220 with Middleton virtually the Saints' only stumbling block. However, it should prove to be more than enough as Saints are struggling at 8-146. He held the brittle Bulldogs batting together in his valiant knock. Middleton’s determination was admirable as he defended stoically when Bankstown was in all sorts of strife. As his innings blossomed he pierced the field repeatedly and hammered no less than 19 boundaries and a huge six. He piloted his side to the reasonable total of 220. No other Bulldog had similar success and the next highest score was Tushaar Garg’s fighting 28. Lively Dayne Heward ripped the heart out of the Saints' batting in a purple bowling patch. The talented wicket taker bundled out numbers 4, 5 and 6 in what could well be a match-winning spell. St George never really recovered especially when talented leg spinner Tommie Sowden made a welcome return from injury to claim 2-36. This added to the Dragons’ woes and they were in danger of being devoured by the dangerous Dogs when stumps were drawn.
Saints scored 8-317 at Jensen with Mansuhk Singh the pick of the Bulldog bowlers. He claimed 3-31 and polished off the tail quick smart. Alex Schipp swung the ball around to take two wickets and the very lively Chris Stefanish claimed two as well.
In an amazing game at Harold Fraser the Bulldogs were bundled out for a paltry 101. Ryan Malcom scored 24 as did Connor Wilkinson whilst skipper Mat Kelly notched 22 but in a very dismal effort the rest of the batsmen scored just 24 between them. Saints are struggling at 5-63 with spearhead Mat Kelly claiming 2-22.
Bankstown amassed 5-326 thanks to Harry Brett’s magnificent 110 and 85 not out from Alex Kouventaris. Brett was in superb form and hammered the Saints attack relentlessly. He plundered 20 boundaries and stroked the ball with the aplomb of a veteran. Kouventaris was all class and successfully extinguished the Dragons' fire. Sanjiv Weerasingham chimed in with a dashing 46 whilst Liam Sutton added a sparkling 41 to complete the run spree.