Premier Grade Cricket – Round 15, 9th March 2019
The Bankstown Sports Bulldogs 1st Grade team bowed out of Premiership contention after a disappointing loss to North Sydney last Saturday left the side two competition points outside the top six.
However, on the bright side, Tony Clark's Second Grade and Iain Ridley's Third Grade will play in the Qualifying Finals next weekend. Both finished fourth, and so Seconds will play Sydney while Thirds take on Manly in do-or-die elimination games.
In First grade the Bears crushed the Bulldogs at North Sydney. Bankstown could only deliver a modest total of 156 which was chased down by the home side who had a few flutters on their way to 6-157. Mitch Brown played very much a lone hand with a superb 72 as wickets tumbled all around him. The versatile all-rounder plundered seven boundaries and an awesome six in his stirring knock. Only Ben Taylor with a fighting 20 and paceman Rhys Williams with 18 troubled the scorers. Tushaar Garg has relished his first-grade efforts of late and continues to impress with the ball taking 2-18. Taylor was his usual accurate self and claimed 2-39 from his 9 overs of well controlled spin. Brown also gave away precious little with 1-27 in his run saving 10 overs.
The Seconds will play in the qualifying final but alas they certainly need to improve after a loss to the Bears last Saturday. Bankstown batted first and capitulated for a paltry 116 in perfect conditions at Memorial. Cameron Middleton was a class above the other batsmen and delighted the crowd with 5 sparkling boundaries and a sensational six in his 37. A typical captain’s knock from Tony Clark held up the Bears but he ran out of partners to finish with 25 not out. Swing bowler Alex Schipp was again right on target taking 2-28.
A masterly 120 from the rampaging Cameron Cotter secured victory for the Bulldogs at Bon Andrews. He crushed the Bears who headed for the woods as a result of his savage onslaught. His flashing blade enabled the Bulldogs to score an impressive 289 which was too big a target for Norths. The home side slumped to 5-34 eventually cobbling together 143 which enabled Bankstown to claim a valuable bonus point. Daniel Hayes rattled the pickets five times in his 36 with Iain Ridley leading by example with a responsible 32 and Matthew Dedes at his attacking best with a quick fire 30 in 20 minutes. Tear away speedster Rhys Ward took the bowling honours with 4-34 which devastated the crushed Bears in a fiery spell receiving great support from hostile Wallace Marshall who beat the bat repeatedly in taking 3-25 and enabling Bankstown to clinch the points.
Bankstown could only manage 163 at Jensen with North Sydney getting over the line with 7/164. The mainstay of the Bankstown innings was classy stroke maker Connor Wilkinson who hammered 8 sparkling boundaries in his 59. It was a great innings and helped get the Bulldogs barking. Alex Kouventaris was at his defiant best with a useful 30. Reliable Jehan Bilimoria showed his versatility with a fighting 22 not out and it was a shame the skipper ran out of partners. Nathan Hebeston certainly made the Bears fight for every run with 3-10 which kept the Bulldogs in the hunt. Ever reliable Koby Layton was the epitome of accuracy with 2-24 from 10 super accurate overs.
The fifths finished the season on a high with a first innings win over the beleaguered Bears at Tunks last Saturday. Tom Ramage top scored for the Doggies with a determined 30 in fine style. Brady Polkinghorne chimed in with a very useful 29 whilst Mahsen Narvel held on tenaciously with 22 handy runs. Bankstown scored 146 in a disappointing effort but it was enough. Umair Khan struck for the Bulldogs and had the Bears back-pedalling with 3-20. He applied pressure to Norths which made them fight hard but with little success. Bryan Handunneththi removed the Bears top scorer and his 2-16 proved crucial. Prashanthan Sivapragasam dismissed numbers 2 and 3 to give the Bulldogs a wonderful start. Polkinghorne clean bowled the other opener and conceded just 13 runs from 5 overs. The Bears were rolled for 127 and Bankstown won with ease.